Toto wrapped up their Summer ‘An Evening With’ tour at the beautiful Vina Robles Amphitheatre this past Sunday and it was an evening of stellar musicianship, all the Toto hits, tracks from their latest studio album ‘XIV,’ and even a cover featuring some fantastic guitar work by one of the best, Steve Lukather.
The core Toto members, Steve Lukather, David Paich, Steve Porcaro and Joseph Williams were joined by Lenny Castro (percussion), Shannon Forest (drums), the legendary Leland Sklar (bass), and back-up vocalists Mabvuto and Jenny Douglas for a show that spanned the decades of great material from the band, and showed off the amazing talents of everyone on that stage. As individuals, the members can be heard on an amazing 5000 albums that together amass a sales history of a half a billion albums and more than 200 Grammy nominations.
Approaching 40 years of making music, Toto well represented their first self-titled LP (released 38 years ago), kicking off their set with the first track on that album, the instrumental ‘Child’s Anthem’ right into ‘I’ll Supply the Love.’ ‘Georgy Porgy’ and the top 5 hit ‘Hold the Line’ were featured later in the show.
The band has certainly known their share of ups and downs over the years personally and professionally, with the loss of great band member brothers Mike and Jeff Pocarro to Lou Gehrig’s disease and heart attack, and nearly getting dropped from their label after their initial success. They certainly did rebound and persevere to make their amazing ‘Toto IV’ album, which yielded three top 10 hits and was awarded 7 Grammys, including record and album of the year. The classic tracks ‘I Won’t Hold Back,’ ‘Afraid of Love,’ and the massive hits ‘Rosanna’ and ‘Africa’ represented that special era for the band in the set, with ‘Africa’ wrapping up the show encore.
Five fresh songs from the band’s latest album ‘TOTO XIV,’ released last March made the setlist, and fit right in with the melodic progressive direction that was felt on this Fall evening in Central California wine country. Check out Toto’s first new studio album in ten years and everything about the band at totoofficial.com.
A highlight for me was seeing the great Steve Lukather perform a cover of Robin Trower’s ‘Bridge of Sighs,’ showcasing the talent of one of the great guitarists of his era. One of the leaders of Toto since its inception in 1976, Steve has also been one of the most sought-after session guitarists in Los Angeles music history, playing with a wide range of artists and performing on over 1,500 records spanning over 36 years. He is known as one of the top 10 session guitarists of all time and has been a part of so many legendary hits and recordings.
Toto are true survivors and thrivers of the music business, having earned their place as a truly great American rock band. Hopefully one day, they will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as it is more than deserving.
The one song I would have liked to see the band perform was ’99,’ but that didn’t put a damper on what was a beautiful night of music at a beautiful venue for Toto to wrap up their 2016 Summer tour.
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1. Child’s Anthem
2. I’ll Supply the Love
3. Stranger in Town
4. Holy War
5. I Won’t Hold You Back
6. Georgy Porgy
8. Afraid of Love
11. David Paich Piano Solo
12. Great Expectations
13. Without Your Love
14. Bridge of Sighs (Robin Trower cover)
15. Hold the Line
16. The Road Goes On
19. On the Run
Special Thanks to Vanessa Kromer and Jennifer Anderson of Nederlander. For all upcoming shows at Vina Robles Amphitheatre, go to: vinaroblesamphitheatre.com/concerts