17 November 2018 (gig)
20 November 2018
While Toto has recorded several timeless staples in the classic rock and pop genres, it was still quite impressive to see the strong resurgence of their 1982 smash, "Africa," this year. While the song has never been far away from most radio stations rotations for decades now - Weezers successful cover of "Africa" this year (which saw Rivers Cuomo and company garner their first hit in years, and even topped Billboard's Rock Airplay chart) certainly exposed a new generation to the song - and to Toto as well. Toto performed at the Lynn Auditorium in Lynn, Massachusetts on November 17, 2018.
Touring behind a greatest hits album released earlier this year, "40 Trips Around The Sun" (also the name of the current tour), 2018 is also the 40th anniversary of the bands self-titled debut record. After opening with a new track "Alone" (which was recorded for the "40 Trips Around The Sun" compilation), the band wasted no time in bringing the crowd to its feet with their first hit ever, "Hold The Line." Founding member and guitarist Steve Lukather is a technical wiz on the fret board and the riff he created for "Hold The Line" is still as infectious now, as it was in 1978. In addition to Toto and being a member of Ringo Starrs All Star Band (since 2012), Lukather has also done a slew of session work over the years and even played the iconic guitar riff on Michael Jacksons "Beat It" (except the guitar solo, which was famously done by Eddie Van Halen).
An assortment of remarkable deep cuts as "I Will Remember" (from the bands 1995 record "Tambu"), "English Eyes" (from 1981's "Turn Back" release) and "Lea" (lifted from 1986's ""Fahrenheit" LP), mixed in seamlessly with "Spanish Sea," another new Toto track.
The band did a brilliant version of "Rosanna," which features Lukather on main vocals on the verses and current lead singer, Joseph Williams, manning the chorus. Williams, who was the lead vocalist in Toto from 1986 to 1988, is currently back in the band (as original singer Bobby Kimball left Toto for a second time in 2008). "Rosanna" ended the first "electric" part of the show and an "Acoustic Storytellers” set followed. Toto performed unplugged (and partial) versions of "Georgy Porgy," "Holyanna," "No Love," Stop Loving You," and a fantastic cover of "Human Nature" (keyboardist Steve Porcaro reminisced about how a playground incident with his young daughter and another boy - who was being mean to her - inspired what would become one of the mega-hits off Michael Jacksons, "Thriller.")
After strapping their electric instruments back on, the 8 man band tore into "Girl Goodbye," "Lion," and dug up the prog-rock instrumental "Dune (Desert Theme)," from the 1984 cult film "Dune." Lukather then spoke of his first guitar hero, George Harrison, and played a magnificent cover of The Beatles', "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," which climaxed with an epic wailing solo from Lukather. "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," was a well chosen cover, in the wake of the recent 50th anniversary reissue of the Beatles record the song came from, "The White Album."
An underrated gem from "Toto IV," "Make Believe," was followed by the most iconic cut from that same disc, "Africa." While founding member and vocalist on the majority of "Africa," David Paich, is not on this tour, (his place on piano is being filled in by 26 year old virtuoso, Dominique “Xavier” Talpin, who had played with Prince) Williams did an amazing job recreating the vocals, while percussionist Lenny Castro shined during an extended and captivating solo during the song.
As a way to repay Weezer, Toto returned for a one song encore and performed a cool cover of Weezers, "Hash Pipe," which was the end - not to just the concert, but to the "40 Trips Around The Sun" outing as well, as this was the final night of the tour.
Totos history will look back on 2018 as a kind of new beginning for the band. A year which more than proved that Toto are as promising now as they were four decades ago.