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Ringo Starr's Israel debut rouses Beatles nostalgia

Ringo Starr (center) brings his "Give More Love" tour to Menorah Mivtahim Arena in Tel Aviv, June 24, 2018
Jessi Satin/i24NEWS

Legendary drummer and Beatle band member Ringo Starr played his first ever show in Israel Saturday night, bringing joyful fans to their feet, singing along at the top of their lungs.

Accompanied by his All-Starr band, Ringo made his Israel debut at the at the Menorah Mivtahim Arena in Tel Aviv in front of thousands of fans of all ages, the first of a two-night gig in the Holy Land.

The current line up of Ringo’s All-Starr band, which has changed over the years, included Steve Lukather, guitarist of “Toto”, “Santana” singer and keyboardist Gregg Rolie, guitarist Colin Hay of “Men at Work”, “10CC” bass guitarist and vocalist Graham Gouldman, saxophonist and flautist Warren Ham and drummer Gregg Bissonette.

The nearly two –hour long set was a flashback of some of the greatest hits produced by the band’s members. Hay led a resounding rendition of “Men at Work’s” hit “Down Under”, which he dedicated to anyone in the audience who is getting married.

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Rolie got the crowd swaying to “Black Magic Woman” there wasn’t a person in the building who wasn’t singing along to Toto’s “On the Line.”

“Now we’re gonna do a number from another band I was in,” Ringo quipped to cheers, as the crowd waited eagerly to hear one the classics that propelled him, along with Paul McCartney, John Lennon, and George Harrison to fame in the 1960s.

Starr launched into the song “Boys”, his first recorded lead vocal as a member of Beatles, at times swaying, and flashing the same boyish grin that lit up his face under a mop of hair at the height of Beatlemania.

More of Ringo’s classics from his Beatles days were peppered into the show throughout the night, each time instantly springing the audience from their seats.

Israeli fans have been waiting a long time to see Ringo perform. The Beatles we scheduled to perform in Israel in 1965, but the performance was cancelled after the state deemed that the band’s music would corrupt Israeli youth.

Paul McCartney became the first of the Fab Four, as the Beatles have also been called, to perform in Israel in 2008.

Paul and Ringo will be the only two members of the Beatles to perform in Israel. John Lennon was killed in 1980 and George Harrison passed in 2001 following a battle with cancer.

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Starr was originally slated to play only one night in Tel Aviv, but a second date was added Sunday, June 24th after the first sold out.

“This is a once in a lifetime kind of thing,” says Liri, who as drummer, knew he couldn’t miss the chance to see Ringo perform.

“My middle name is John, named after John Lennon,” he adds, explaining that his father is a big Beatles fan. “It felt like the right thing to do.”

Yoni, a life-long Beatles fan who remembers when the band was at the height of popularity during his youth, reflects on how their music still resonates so strongly today.

“It’s simple and it’s touching,” Yoni muses. “The lyrics are wonderful and the words are very simple. They talk about day to day problems that people relate to.”

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When he landed Thursday in Tel Aviv, Starr sent a video message of “peace and love” to his fans, inviting them to come out for the shows. The stop in Tel Aviv is part of his global “Give More Love” tour.

Some fans expressed disappointment that they didn’t hear more Beatles songs, but still enjoyed to the show.

During the show Starr and his All-Starr band hailed the crowd’s energy and expressed their love for Tel Aviv, but made no comment directly relating to politics or the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Following Starr’s mantra of peace and love, and perhaps planting the seed of an idea, the band closed the evening with a rendition of John Lennon’s “Give Peace a Chance,” before saying goodnight to the crowd.

Jessi Satin is an i24NEWS Senior Producer

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