With A Little Help From My Friends

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During the same timeframe in separate places of the world, two groups of young men embarked on different musical journeys that essentially brought them to the same place: the top of the charts. One of them produced multi-harmony surfer rock while the other led the British Invasion to the United States pop market. Their paths have crossed many times over the years, and for two nights at Ravinia Festival, The Beach Boys and Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band were together once again.

Ravinia Festival, known as North America’s oldest music festival, is a 36-acre park that has been holding events since the early 1900s. It’s a blend between a night under the clear sky – complete with lawn-style seating or pavilion chairs – and the crisp sound of music that can make the largest stadium sound quiet. Both bands are no stranger to the festival and once again sold out both performances.

The Beach Boys took the stage first, performing over 40 of their greatest hits, covers, and tracks off of frontman Mike Love’s 12 Sides of Summer. Joining them on stage was special guest John Stamos, who has been touring with the band for almost 35 years. The 10-piece band included Bruce Johnston, Christian Love, Randy Leago, Tim Bonhomme, John Cowsill, Keith Hubacher, Brian Eichenberger and Scott Totten.

The stars of the show, however, were the children. If it wasn’t Stamos bringing out his son to play drums with him, it was Love’s daughter performing “The Warmth of the Sun” or the younger kids using the sides of the stage for choreographed dance moves and singing alongside their family.

Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band couldn’t be a more fitting name. Steve Lukather (Toto), Gregg Rolie (Santana, Journey), Gregg Bissonette (David Lee Roth), Hamish Stewart (Average White Band), Colin Hay (Men at Work) and Warren Ham (Kansas, Toto) perform beside the Beatle with songs from Starr’s solo works, The Beatles covers and covers from their previous bands.

Their backdrop was a magical array of bright colors and stars and the theme of the night was Starr’s mantra of peace and love. The crowd was loud and clear for songs like “Pick Up The Pieces” and “Yellow Submarine” and were stood in awe during the various harmonica, clarinet and saxophone solos. For many of them, seeing Starr behind his drum kit was a taste of nostalgia for both fans that experienced Beatlemania as it happened or learned of their legacy through those that did.

Seeing The Beach Boys and Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band share a stage is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for music lovers of all forms. They’ve still got the same love for their songs that their fans do, and watching them come together to sing along as one is an indescribable moment.