Ringo Starr talks of the rock show he would host on the Strip.
He has the title at the ready. He already lives in the neighborhood.
He just needs a little help from his friends.
“I love the concept of ‘The Golden Drums,’ ” Starr says with a chuckle, reciting a title inspired by Elton John’s “Red Piano” shows at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace.
“But it would be very difficult with no band,” he adds. “Celine has her orchestra. You have to have your band set to play a run in Vegas, and that is the challenge with the band I have, with all the planning it would take.”
Starr brings his All-Starr Band to Reynolds Hall at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts on Sunday. The All-Starrs feature rock dignitaries such as Todd Rundgren, Gregg Rolie of Santana and Journey, Steve Lukather of Toto, Richard Page of Mister Mister, Warren Ham of Olivia Newton-John’s band and Gregg Bissonette of Santana.
Starr performs the classic Beatles songs on which he provided the vocals (“With a Little Help From My Friends,” “Yellow Submarine,” “Octopus’s Garden,” “I Wanna Be Your Man”) with solo highlights (“Photograph,” “You’re Sixteen,” “I’m the Greatest”) tucked into the set list. The All-Starrs take the spotlight for hits from their own careers, such as “Bang the Drum All Day” (Rundgren), “Africa” (Lukather) and “Evil Ways” (Rolie).
“I come on and do my songs, then go off and play drums and let someone else do the singing,” Starr says. “After all this time, I still love playing the drums.”
The star-laden lineup and rollout of hits in Starr’s shows certainly would be a fascinating option for an extended engagement in Las Vegas. John Fogerty and Billy Idol have most recently rocked The Venetian Theater and the House of Blues at Mandalay Bay, respectively. Carlos Santana has had a recurring residency at the House of Blues for four years, and over the past seven years The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel has trotted out Santana (in his original Las Vegas extended engagement), Journey, Motley Crue, Def Leppard, Kiss and Guns N’ Roses, among other classic rock acts.
Why not such a series for Ringo and his All-Starrs? Logistics, primarily. Uniting such an all-star collection for, say, 15 shows over six weeks in Las Vegas requires intricate scheduling. Starr is always at the front, but since 1989 his band has had a rotating cast of stars. This particular lineup has held together for five years, longer than any of his other bands.
“I’d be bringing in all these different players, probably a couple All-Starrs from different years, some holdouts from this band,” Starr says, thinking aloud. “But to do a limited schedule, asking the All-Starrs, ‘Wanna do something in February?’ That’s the way to do it, and I live in L.A., so I could practically walk back and forth.”
He pauses, then adds. “I feel I should look into it. Serious look into the possibilities, find someone to write a small synopsis of it.”
Certainly less-obvious concepts have been brought to the Las Vegas stage. Just this year, two shows featuring puppeteers have opened and closed in major Las Vegas resorts. Starr has a long history in Vegas dating to his original All-Starr Band, which first played the since-closed Circus Maximus at Caesars Palace. Over the years the All-Starrs have played the Rio, the original Joint, The Pearl at the Palms and Mandalay Bay Beach. This is his first show at Reynolds Hall, fulfilling a promise Smith Center president Myron Martin made years ago to bring a Beatle to Reynolds Hall.
“I have always liked playing Vegas,” Starr says. “It is definitely an entertainment mecca. It is a place to be.”
For a decade, Starr has been connected to a Strip production show — the Cirque-Beatles collaboration “Love” at The Mirage — which this year was relaunched with a few new songs, video projections on the stage, additional images and footage of the Beatles and a more robust sound system.
“I love the new mix on the music. The drums are so loud,” he says. “I like it, but we could have more moments of strangeness. That’s what Cirque is all about: strange. The show is so fast and just incredible overall. I love Cirque.”
Another Beatles-centric project — Ron Howard’s documentary “Eight Days a Week,” a chronicle of the Beatles’ touring years from 1962 to 1966, which was released this summer — took Starr down one of those long and winding roads of his career.
“I was emotionally drained after it. It was far-out. I loved it,” Starr said. “When you see the footage and the atmosphere we were in — this is what a really big band looks like, with all the screaming and screaming. Every second was screaming. It kind of felt like a dream, looking at it again.”
The legendary drummer remembered mostly the need to get back to playing music in a meaningful way.
“We had to get back to the studio. When it ended, we were playing something too similar, night after night,” Starr says, slapping his hand rhythmically. “It was just that, keeping the beat, I couldn’t come off that and play any fills or kicks or we’d be lost. The idea of that wore us out.”
Today, the 76-year-old member of rock royalty holds one message above all.
“To me, it’s still about peace and love,” he says, as you can feel his smile through the phone. “If you’ve got that, you’ve got me.”
John Katsilometes’ column runs Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday in the A section and Friday in Neon. He also hosts “Kats! On The Radio” at 8 p.m. Wednesdays on KUNV-FM, 91.5, and appears at 11 a.m. Wednesday with Dayna Roselli on KTNV-TV, Channel 13. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter and @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.