The Van Wezel Performing Arts Center celebrated the 45th Anniversary of the venue on Tuesday, February 24 with a dinner, auction and a Beatle! Ringo and the All-Star Band rolled into Sarasota to join the party! All-Starr Todd Rundgren said “The circus has come to Sarasota” and the humor was not lost on the SRQ sold out crowd!
Rundgren along with Gregg Rolie (Journey, Santana), Steve Lukather (Toto), Richard Page (Mr. Mister), Drummer Gregg Bissonette and saxman percussionsist Warren Ham, took the audience through a time warp of music from Carl Perkins to John &Yoko. Each All-Starr performed several hits from their personal setlists including such hits as Toto’s “Rosanna”, “Black Magic Woman” by Rolie, Rundgren’s “Bang the Drum”, and the Mr. Mister 1985 monster hit “Broken Wings”. Of course Ringo jammed on both his solo & Beatles songs.
Peace and Love was the theme of the evening. From Ringo’s t-shirt with a giant peace symbol to the sign being held by two young girls in the audience, “Bringing Peace and Love from Alaska”. Peace signs lighting splashed across the stage as the band sang “Anthem” a song written by Ringo about love and peace. It brought back a nostalgic feeling for the 60’s.
Steve Lukather’s guitar skills are masterful. Todd Rundgren long known as a musical genius brings that as well as his humor to the stage. Both Ringo and Bissonette on drums keep the beat movin’. Warren Ham’s sax brings a beautiful sound on many of the tunes. Ringo came down to front stage to sing on several favorites including “Photograph”, “Yellow Submarine” and “It Don’t Come Easy” Ringo was an icon to everyone from the fans to the musicians on the stage with Steve Lukather saying, “Ringo is the reason I am playing music”! The yells of the fans “I Love You Ringo” and him answering back “I love you too”!
The finale was poignant with the audience sing along on with “A Little Help From My Friends” and Ringo’s friend John Lennon’s “Give Peace A Chance”.
Happy 45th Anniversary to the Van Wezel or the “Purple Cow” as it has lovingly been called by the locals! Peace and Love to all!
Photos property of Vicky Sullivan / Rock The Lens Photography