Former Beatles drummer Ringo Starr landed in Israel Thursday afternoon ahead of two planned concerts on June 23 and 24 at the Menora Mivtachim Arena in Tel Aviv.
Starr arrived in the country and sent his fans a message of "Peace and Love," inviting them to attend the Saturday and Sunday shows.
He will become the second – and final – former Beatle to perform in Israel, after Paul McCartney took the honors with a monumental show at Yarkon Park in 2008. Ex-bandmates John Lennon and George Harrison died, in 1980 and 2001, respectively, without having made it to the Promised Land.
Starr’s 13th iteration of his AllStarr Band, which debuted in 1989, will feature Men at Work’s guitarist/singer Colin Hay, keyboardist Graham Gouldman of 10cc, Toto’s guitarist Steve Lukather and Journey’s bassist Gregg Rolie, along with percussionists Warren Ham and Gregg Bissonette.
The show continues the established pattern of Starr and a band of musicians who had been successful in their own right (including past luminaries such as Todd Rundgren, Joe Walsh, the late Levon Helm and Nils Lofgren) switching off between Starr-sung Beatles songs (from “I Wanna Be Your Man” to “Don’t Pass Me By”) and later solo material (“Photograph,” “It Don’t Come Easy”), with performances of each of the other artists’ well-known material.
Starr gets behind his legendary drum kit for a number of songs throughout the 24-song set, including Hay’s “Land Down Under” and Lukather’s “Rosanna” and “Africa,” which has recently experienced a resurgence due to a cover version by Weezer.
But it’s the Beatles songs that get the fans to their feet and bring on a muted version of Beatlemania.
“There’s nothing like hearing Beatles songs sung by a Beatle. The instrumentation is pretty much identical to the record, so it’s kind of like seeing The Beatles,” said Howie Kahn, an American-born Israeli educator, therapist and musician who owns arguably the largest collection of Beatles and solo Beatles memorabilia in Jerusalem.
“For Ringo, that means ‘Yellow Submarine,’ ‘With a Little Help From My Friends,’ and I even liked ‘Act Naturally,’ added Kahn, who saw Starr and the All-Stars three years ago.
Today, Starr is mostly known for carrying the message of unity The Beatles helped forge for a few short years and for flashing the peace sign on demand. His shows have attracted multigenerational fans who beam with every song.