Last week, we shared Rick Livingstone’s memories of his time singing lead in the 1990 supergroup the Best alongside John Entwistle, Joe Walsh, Keith Emerson, and Jeff “Skunk” Baxter. Their set mixed songs by the Who, the Eagles, Steely Dan, the Doobie Brothers, and Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, though the group dissolved after just four gigs in Japan and one in Hawaii. But thanks to a professionally filmed show at the Yokohama Arena and the magic of YouTube, they’ve had a long afterlife.
Reunions by the Eagles, ELP, and the Who ultimately doomed the Best, but it wasn’t the last time that Entwistle went out with a supergroup. He joined up with Ringo Starr’s All Starr Band in the summer of 1995 for a memorable run alongside Randy Bachman, Mark Farner, Billy Preston, and Felix Cavaliere. The Who kept him pretty busy between 1996 and 2000, but they took a year off in 2001 and he filled out the time by joining forces with Todd Rundgren, Alan Parsons, Ambrosia’s David Pack, and Heart’s Ann Wilson for a Beatles tribute show they called A Walk Down Abbey Road.
The show opened with a set of their own hits like Heart’s “Crazy on You,” the Who’s “My Generation,” Rundgren’s “Hello It’s Me,” and Alan Parsons’ “Eye in the Sky” before coming back for a long set of Beatles classics like “Here Comes the Sun,” “Revolution,” “Day Tripper,” and “Blackbird.” They were in direct competition with Ringo’s All Starr Band, which featured Supertramp’s Rodger Hodgson, Howard Jones, Greg Lake, and Sheila E that summer, but Ringo is a forgiving guy and he let Rundgren back into the band in 2012.
A Walk Down Abbey Road was far more successful than the Best, but video evidence of it on YouTube is pretty scant aside from a couple of Ann Wilson songs at the Taste of Minnesota festival that someone shot through a fence and low-quality video of Rundgren singing “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” at another gig. But someone did manage to capture audio of “Let It Be” from one of the nights. They paired it with random Heart photos that have nothing to do with this performance, but you can still check it out right here.
One more edition of the tour launched in 2002, when Rundgren and Parsons were joined by Jack Bruce, Mark Farner, and Christopher Cross. John Entwistle didn’t sign up because the Who were touring that summer, but he died after just five warm-up shows in England. That means that his last real tour was A Walk Down Abbey Road. And while that may seem like a somewhat undignified end to some fans, Entwistle lived to play music for live audiences. He didn’t care if that meant gigging with the Who, his solo band, the Best, the All Starr Band, or even as part of a glorified Beatles tribute band.