11 March 2018 (gig)
12 March 2018
Toto hit Milan halfway through their ’40 Trips Around The Sun Tour’, a celebration of 40 years of music for the masses whilst standing up for quality musicianship. It’s a big and affectionate crowd that eagerly awaits the band, now consisting of Steve Lukather on guitar, David Paich on keyboards and vocals, Steve Porcaro keyboards and Joseph Williams vocals plus touring members Lenny Castro percussion, Warren Ham saxophone, Shem Von Schroeck bass and Shannon Forrest drums.
The onus is on the music with no big screens present, no backdrop or scenic changes of any note, just a good old light show and the band. Unfortunately for purists, like yours truly, the sound system is poor as often happens at the forum and for a band that’s loud and has sound quality as a major priority it’s a real bummer. It takes half a dozen songs for the mixing desk crew to create a decent enough ambience, just in time for the instrumental ‘Jake To The Bone’ which is a smorgasbord of musical styles with the band hot and vibrant offering a superb ensemble performance topped by excellent solos by Paich and Lukather.
The first part of the show ends with a crowd pleasing ‘Rosanna’ immediately followed by an acoustic storytellers set whereby David and Steve describe the germination of certain songs dear to the band which then proceeds to perform them. This does allow for some heartfelt applause when talking about the wonderful drummer that was Jeff Porcaro, who started the band with Paich and is responsible for those many skilful and oft subtle drum and percussion parts that are the foundation of Toto songs.
The late Walter Becker is also mentioned for inspiring ‘Georgy Porgy’ as well as later on in the show, George Harrison, a personal friend of Lukather (the band indeed play ‘Whilst My Guitar Gently Weeps’). After 40 years, some nostalgia is inevitable.
The storytellers set, highlights amazing songs written by the band like ‘Miss Sun’ or ’Human Nature’ but by playing excerpts of the songs, one is only partly satisfied truth be told.
Then it’s back to the rock show highlighted by great versions of ‘Stranger in Town’ and ‘Make Believe’, the sound system now much improved. Finally, it’s time for “that song” as Williams says. I think ‘Africa’ is one of the pop’s most universally known songs and it’s rhythm and style renders it totally unique and timeless. It’s a perfect ending with the band making it a crowd participation event and yet a sonorous experience.
An encore ‘The Road Goes On’ follows and closes a 2hr 20min show which can be surmised as old style with the onus on the music and little left to showmanship and scenery. It’s a good trip down memory lane and makes for a serene, comfortable and good fun evening which in today’s hectic and frenetic world, makes it no bad thing at all.
Hold the Line
Lovers in the Night
I Will Remember
Jake to the Bone
Stop Loving You
Dune (Desert Theme)
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Stranger in Town
The Road Goes On