Toto Celebrates 40, Treats Fans to Their Best
Ask most anyone about long-established rock band Toto and they will likely hum back a few bars of “Rosanna” or “Africa” – but there’s so much more! First, be sure to catch up on any of the recorded studio material with Toto’s definitive 13-CD “All In” box set, released nationwide earlier this year. Next, you must dig a little deeper to discover the wealth of chart-topping music Toto players current and past have collaborated on with other well-known industry giants. One excellent resource to explore the scope of their productivity is “The Gospel According to Luke”, a 2018 memoir by guitarist Steve Lukather.
Their current release “40 Tours Around the Sun” is an audio / video collection of greatest hits captured live during the European leg of the bands extensive on-going trek to celebrate 40 years together. Twin Cities fans finally had their chance to experience a “40 Trips Around the Sun” show at the State Theatre in Minneapolis on October 1st. Founding members Steve Lukather, Steve Porcaro (keys) and returning singer Joseph Williams are featured for the American tour leg with David Paich sitting out for health reasons.
With 2+ hours of material planned and no need for an opener, the previously unreleased 1981 track “Devils Tower” was a good launching point for “Hold the Line”, which brought everyone to their feet ready to rock. William’s led the charge with excellent tone and pitch, working the stage effectively with a partial mic stand ala Freddie Mercury. He handled all of the material well, but “Stop Loving You” and “Home of the Brave” were especially strong considering they were from “The Seventh One” album he sang lead vocals on.
Every guitar player in town should have been on hand to witness Steve Lukather’s seemingly limitless ability. There wasn’t a song that didn’t benefit greatly from his incredible touch and signature tone. The ground he covered in this show alone makes up for all the guitar solo’s missing from what prime time radio’s currently not providing. Some of his best fretwork occurred on “I Will Remember”, the extended jam in “Rosanna”, “Girl Goodbye” and his cover of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” (George Harrison) – a definite highlight. Lukather also does contribute quite a bit vocally, most notably on “I’ll Be Over You”, which he dedicated to the all the beautiful Minneapolis ladies in attendance.
Of course the Porcaro name is such an important part of Toto and it was nice to see a spotlight on Steve’s talent. His playing was particularly evident on “English Eyes” and “Human Nature” (Michael Jackson), which he originally wrote.
The show was loosely broken into three parts starting out mostly upbeat and included crowd favorite “Rosanna”. The band lined up near the front of the stage for an Acoustic Storytelling section that started out with “Georgy Porgy” from their 1978 debut album. They closed the show out strong with “Africa” and “Home of the Brave”. There were also two notable Prince references: Lukather dedicated “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” to George Harrison and Prince. Also, Dominque Xavier Taplin (sitting in for Paich) included a section from “Diamonds and Pearls” in his piano solo following the acoustic set.
Hold the Line
Lovers in the Night
I Will Remember
Jake to the Bone
Human Nature (Michael Jackson)
I’ll Be Over You
Stop Loving You
Dune (Desert Theme)
While My Guitar Gently Weeps (George Harrison)
Home of the Brave