Toto Brings 40 Trips Around the Sun Tour To Austin
For most people when you hear the band name Toto, you can’t help but reflect on the iconic song that they could never get away from, “Africa”. These Southern California rockers were also the masterminds behind the ballads “I Won’t Hold You Back” and “I’ll Be Over You”.
After doing a little digging around, I found that the guys have actually been in the studio with a multitude of people. People that the general public may have no idea about. We’re talking of greats like Michael Jackson, Steely Dan, Miles Davis, Pink Floyd, Joe Cocker and many more. So the next time you hear “Beat it” come on your stereo, don’t just think of Eddie Van Halen playing the guitar solo but also Toto‘s Steve Lukather playing the rhythm tracks. Steve Porcaro of Toto also plays on Jackson‘s “Human Nature”. The more I started looking into these guys, the more I appreciate their 40-year long career!
The nearly sold-out crowd at Stubbs were pumped to see the guys take the stage, even in Austins dreaded 36 days of triple-digit weather. It was certainly a hot, sticky mess. As the house music dropped off, everyone knew it was show time. Toto started the show with “Alone”, one of three new songs added to their newest greatest hits package. One of three songs that only a truly devoted fan would even know, but a powerful song nonetheless.
Giving expectations the middle finger, Toto proceeded through the surefire crowd pleasers “Hold the Line” and “Lovers in the Night” with yet another new track, “Spanish Sea”. People say that legacy groups playing new music is bad because it sends the audience to the bar and bathroom. It was apparent that Toto doesn’t give much thought to what most bands do.
Toto possibly holds the record for multiple recorded songs named after a woman.
Their catalog includes, “Carmen”, “Holyanna”, “Melanie”, “Anna”, “Mushanga”, “Pamela” and “Mrs. Johnson”. On this night, they delivered a delicate version of “Lea” and then contrasted it with a raucous rendition of “Rosanna”.
At age 57, lead singer Joseph Williams still sounds fantastic. He has a documented history of stable work with the band in the mid-80s as the lead singer on both “Fahrenheit” and “The Seventh One”. One can only give respect and props to the group taking the road less traveled in recognition of their 40 years of music. The band promptly countered the obscurity with a cover of George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”. Lukather declared that he was a friend of Harrison’s and he pulled it off beautifully.
The climax of excitement was saved for “that song”. When touring drummer Shannon Forest and long-time drummer Lenny Castro broke into the natural beat of “Africa”, it was the second the crowd had been anxiously anticipating. They weren’t disappointed as Castro performed an extended percussion solo. Then Williams got the entire crowd connected in a call and response that ended with everyone citing the song’s familiar refrain, “bum bum, bum, bu bum bum bum.”
It would have been harmless to save “Africa” for the encore. Yet Toto did something different in honor of Weezer bringing that song back to the airwaves with their chart-topping cover version in recent months. Toto returned the support and broke into a cover of Weezer’s “Hash Pipe” that was heavy, engaging and a solid active end of the evening to a show that went many musical directions.
Hold the Line
Lovers in the Night
I Will Remember
Jake to the Bone
Human Nature (Michael Jackson cover)
Stop Loving You
Dune (Desert Theme)
While My Guitar Gently Weeps (The Beatles cover)
Hash Pipe (Weezer cover)
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