TOTO - Official Website - Concert Reviews

I had the opportunity to see Toto in 3 different cities this weekend (Tunica and Biloxi, Mississippi and New Orleans, Louisiana). As always, the guys were on top of their game.
I didn't think I could enjoy myself or the shows more than I had in Atlantic City, New Jersey and Las Vegas, Nevada, but I did. Thanks in great part to my reunion with Len Ventura and David Stair (and all the new friends I made), the weekend was the best I have ever had.
On with the shows. Each night the song list grew by a couple of songs which made the shows longer and even more enjoyable. The song list, with references to added on songs, in order, is as follows:
1). Caught In The Balance-I could listen to the intro to this song over and over again. Awesome!!!
2). Rosanna-Love the way Luke sings and goes into his dynamic guitar solos afterwards.
3). I Will Remember-Strong song live with a powerful vocal from Luke.
4). A Million Miles Away-Bobby sings this better now than he did 18 years ago.
5). Jake To The Bone-I'm no expert, but this is a complicated piece. The playing is tight here folks. Every night!
6). Drum Solo-Different every night and equally as wonderful. No drummer changes tempo and excites behind the kit like Simon! Concludes with the end to "Dave's Gone Skiing".
Acoustic Set:
7). Out Of Love: God I wish Luke had done the original singing for this great song!
8). Mama-Feel like I'm back in '79 again. Bobby nails it!
9). 99-Just beautiful with Luke's sweet acoustic playing and singing.
10). You Are The Flower-One of my favorite songs off the first album and a treat live!
11). The Road Goes On-Great way to end up the acoustic set and handles beautifully by Steve.
12). I'll Be Over You-Luke gets help from the crowd with this one.
13). Georgy Porgy-Intro to this has changed since Atlantic City in July and I love it. More drawn out.
14). Better World (2nd and 3rd nights)-One of the best songs live and a killer live vocal.
15). Cruel (2nd and 3rd nights)-An exciting song that everyone, familiar with the song or not, gets into.
16). Africa-A chance to hear the maestro, David Paich, sing. he launches into a wonderful, tasty keyboard solo with elements of "Hydra" within and numerous musical styles.
17). White Sister-Bobby and the boys shake the walls with this classic! Love the power in Simon's drums on this one!
18). High Price of Hate (3rd night)-A real treat to hear live and, as Luke said, not a normal part of their live show. Done due to their being in the House of Blues. Great change of pace playing by the best in the business, Steve Lukather.
19). Girl Goodbye-Like "White Sister", a wall-shaker and awesome live!
20). Hold The Line-A perfect ender to three great nights of Toto at their best.
I challenge everyone to get out and see these shows if they can. No show was less than an hour and forty minutes (the final was nearly 2 1/2 hours long). The House of Blues was really the only packed, enthused venue they played in this weekend. These guys are the best at what they do and should be playing in packed houses every time with no exceptions. Fortunately, they kick ass regardless of the setting and this is a further tribute to their pride in performance and professionalism.
Thanks, guys, for 3 great nights and I'll see you at the Desert Inn in Las Vegas in February! God bless you all!!!

Well, I finally made it to a Toto show. Having flown down from Canada just for the weekend to catch my favorite band, I was hoping I would not be disappointed. And I was not. Everything about this show was intimate: when Steve Lukather arrived by cab and strolled past the line-up, a cheer went up. And to see such a legendary band in a club venue was about as good as it can get: standing room only and the furthest point from the stage was about 50 feet. The boys were in fine form and from the opening notes of "Caught in the Balance" to the closing of "Hold the Line", the full-house crowd was obviously wowed. The sound was crisp and clean (and nice and loud) and the variety of selections from nearly all their records was a real treat. The show lasted for 2 1/2 hours (long by any standards) but I had the impression they would have played on given the chance. Actual selection list was Caught in the Balance, Tale of a Man, I Will Remember, Rosanna, Steve's fantastic guitar solo, A Million Miles Away, Jake to the Bone, Simon's unbelievable drum solo which he obviously enjoyed, short version of Dave's gone skiing, Out of Love, Mama, 99, You are the Flower, I'll be over you, Georgy Porgy, Better World, Cruel, Africa, a great piano and keyboard solo by Dave, White Sister, High Price of Hate, Girl Goodbye and finally Hold the Line as a second encore. The most remarkable thing was to hear Bobby's voice, which is better than 20 years ago (and it was great then). He was also having a great time being back in his home town. All in all, excellent. Keep touring boys, and come to Canada soon !!

I missed the French tour 99 because of my exams. But I can't complain because in Europe we can't catch such a great time in such a small place ! It was just magical. I was standing in front of the stage, and I could almost touch the microphones ! Steve is a great showman and I will remember the winks he threw to us while playing his fantastic guitar choruses. I'll keep the guitar pick he used on ' Rosanna ' as a divine thing. I'll always remember the last song of the show, when Bob allowed me to catch the microphone for a few seconds just to pronounce the three words "hold the line". For a few seconds, I sang with the most fantastic musicians I have ever seen.

J'ai rate la tournee francaise a cause des examens. En stage a New Orleans, j'ai saisi une occasion unique et simplement magique de voir les gars donner un show surhumain. Tout contre la scene, dans cette petite salle de 1000 places, j'ai devore ces instants ou Steve me lachait quelques clins d'oeil et quelques poignees de mains en plein milieu de ses solos majestueux. C'est un grand showman, tres drole. Je garderai le mediator avec lequel il a joue Rosanna comme un objet de culte. Je me souviendrai toujours de la derniere chanson quand Bob m'a laisse attraper le micro pour prononcer "Hold the Line". Pendant quelques secondes, j'ai chante avec les musiciens les plus fantastiques que j'ai pu voir.

The band arrived at House of Blues in a cab and walked through the front door, joking with all the fans out front. This ended up being a sign of things to come, because Toto is not just a great band playing for a crowd. They INVOLVE the audience and you become a part of the show, not just watching it. Lukather really makes you feel a part of it. The 3 backup guys really filled in the sound. I saw Toto in '93(?) on the Kingdom of Desire tour. Although great, it was missing the extra keyboards and vocals. This time, songs like Africa, Goodbye Girl and Rosanna had full vocals. Sounded great. Bobby Kimball grew up 20 miles from New Orleans, so many of his friends were there (I stood in line with his cousin, apparently distant cousin or he wouldn't have been standing in line).....
During "Africa", I noticed Steve Vai in the crowd (he played there the following night) and he was enjoying the show. Luke noticed him too, and after his lead on "High Price of Hate" pointed to Vai and smiled.
Apparently, the American crowds have been small......I think I'll move to Europe...Here's hoping for a 2000 American tour.................

Steve Lukather, Bobby Kimball

I finally got to see my heros play live in the states. This was a real treat because I didn't ever expect them to come anywhere close to where I live. It took a four and a half hour drive to Biloxi, MS...but man was it worth it. My friend Matt and I were constantly floored by what we heard. I'm not going to rant and rave about how good of musicians they are--because we all know that. What I would like to point out is the supremely fat arrangements that they threw on their old songs. "A Million Miles Away," for example, was started in a triplet groove and switched to straight eighths for the chorus--nothing wrong with that. Also worth noting is how incredibly tight with each other they were in their playing. It was like one mind simultaneously controlling several different musicians. And props to Simon Phillips for being a true professiol during his drum solo--when a mike fell over on his tom he played it off and kept on going like it was just a part of the show. When Luke introduced Bobby Kimball (who is from a crappy little town called Vinton--not even ten minutes from where I live) Matt and I waited for the applause to die down and then yelled "Vinton rocks!!!" (it doesn't, but he does). He turned around and pointed to us with a big grin on his face. Then Luke, the maestro himself, looked at us and said "uh...don't know what to say about that." I can proudly say that out of all the die-hard Toto fans, Matt and I were the hardest core. Nobody we talked to there knew as much about the band as we did (which is sad, because we're only 20 and most fans claim us "young folks" today don't know anything about them). They were freaking unreal, and Mike Porcaro--God have mercy...if the man were any more solid he'd be a rock. I was happy to see the band was still giving love to Jeff too. Bobby, if you're reading this, how about getting the guys to Lake Charles man? Don't make this a once in a lifetime event for me, huh? And Luke--great Sammy Davis Jr.

I started from Orlando Florida at 9:00 am. Being new to the area, I figured what the heck, I can be there in 5 hours. 571 miles and 7 hours later I made it to Biloxi (Thank god for the last two Toto C.D.'s or I would have ran out of music!) I didn't realize it but we had two tickets in the front row. My friend who flew in from atlanta (Smart move) and I were fired up! Before the show we met other people around us from all over. One couple even flew to las vegas to see you in the spring. Man what loyal fans. From the moment they hit the stage, it was like the first time I saw them back in Grand Rapids Michigan 19 years ago. Bobby, you still got it man, how you can still sing like that is somthing else. And Sammy, I mean Luke you make it look way too easy. (Nice Sammy Davis) Your one swingin cat babe! It was nice to hear A million miles away, mama, the road goes on, and of course white sister and goodbye girl. A pair of lace panties even made it on stage! From bobby's head to luke's guitar, to finally ending up around david's mike it turned out to be a well traveled pair indeed! Guys, you have my respect for putting on a great show even though it wasn't a full house and you could have just went through the motions. I have been a loyal fan for over twenty years now and it still gave me goosebumps!!!!! P.S. please if you could, find a place just a little closer to orlando next time,my wife is beginning to think strange things of me.

My brother and I caught the Biloxi show Saturday night Dec. 4. Let me tell you, we were pumped up and ready from all of the reviews of the European tour and thus far the U.S., and the band did not let us down. This has to be one of the most fantastic shows today. Anyone who is a total fan or even somewhat of a fan, MUST see this show! The band is extremely tight and the crystal clear sound and light show are beyond description. Bobby Kimball's return has brought me back after "Kingdom" and "Tambu". If you don't have "Mindfields", get it! Everything you have read about the showmanship of Luke, Paich, Mike, & Simon are absolutely true, and Bobby's voice is stronger than ever. Don't "think" about seeing this tour if it comes your way . . . DO IT ! If I had the chance to see them again, I'd be there with friends. And to the band, we are sure glad to have you back . . . Jeff would be proud !

Last night I saw one of the most awesome musical experiences I have ever known! The Toto 99 Tour came to little ole Biloxi Mississippi at the Grand Casino Theatre! On word sums it up-INCREDIBLE! Steve Luthaker and the boys haven't lost a thing. This is my second time to see TOTO. I first saw them in New Orleans in 86-87 time frame and that show was unreal. The one last night was even better. Steve Luthaker was the ever present showman. He stole the show with blazing and precise guitar riffs all night. Bobby Kimball had family there, so he took it to an even higher level than usual. That man can sing! Mike Pocaro is still one of my favorite bass players. He is so smooth. David Paich did it all from his great vocal on Africa to the incredible solo he played. The crowd was a little slow warming up, but they came to life after Simon Phillips and Luthaker kicked it up a notch (an Emiral Lagasse saying)! The backup guys were awesome, but stayed in the background most of the night.
Having seen TOTO two times now, I feel incredibly lucky to have experienced the best band ever assembled on one stage.

Steve Lukather, Mike Porcaro

I've got two words for last night's show. . . un-real!! I finally got to see Toto in concert and it was everything I thought it would be and more. Although there wasn't a packed house, they played like they were in front of ten thousand people. Everyone of the guys were at the top of their game (as usual) and rocked the house. They kicked off with "Caught in the Balance" and didn't stop until they ended two hours later with "Hold the Line." The band was super tight, Bobby was on fire, and the hits rocked all night. One of the best parts was the acoustic section. They gave everyone a taste of some old classics with a new twist. Speaking of new twists, they did a new, groovy arrangement of "Georgy Porgy" that was. . . tasty! I would travel the world to see every show if I could. This was truly on of the best nights of my life

I drove over from Little Rock to Memphis last night and what a night it was! Being a professional musician myself it was a dream come true for me to see the guy's perform. It was one of the most awesome displays of musicianship I have ever witnessed! The vocals were pristine, sound was crystal clear. To me they sounded better live than on recordings. Jake to the bone was a religious experience !!! The only drawback was there was only about 300 people, if that. The guy's came out and played like there were 10,000 people, what class! The younger generation has no idea what their missing, It's ashame such talent as this has to be missed by anyone, sad to say one day it will be gone forever, but it's something I will never forget!

Steve Lukather, David Hungate

Hey if this one doesn't make it for fan appreciation..what will? I arranged two different business appointments in two different cities all booked around the Ryman date in Nashville to hear my all-time favorite group Toto! And, even with a last minute appointment switch to a different date and three airline reservation changes, I still made it from San Diego, California - the lost city of popular music!
Okay enough about me..on to the boys! What a show! What a disappointment for Nashville to not sell out a medium sized venue for one of the most polished and accomplished rock bands ever! Half the place was empty which was fine by me as I was 20 feet from the stage. For not having played for a month, they were just awesome! Luke and Simon were especially on and what a showman Luke has turned into. He really made the whole group seem down to earth and dare I say approachable (very rare in the days of pop star egos and idiot flash in the pan pop successes).
Make no mistake, everyone on that stage just played their butts off. I won't spend time on the set list as others before me have, but I will spend time on the musicianship. I have seen Luke and Eddie Van Halen play guitar. Eddie is amazing on guitar and certainly influencial (maybe even to Luke). But Luke is the all-around master guitar player. He can burn solos or jam rhythm, electric, acoustic - whatever. And he can sing amazingly well while doing all of the above. Even EVH can't do that! And I know Eddie is very humble and adores Luke - so no knock on Eddie.
Mike is so smooth on the bass you wouldn't know he is playing except for the pained look and grimace he has while on stage. Bobby is the most lively almost 50 year old lead singer you'll ever see. Paich needs to lose the glasses, but not his licks which were awesome. And finally, "Mr. Canons" - Simon "F'n" Phillips as Luke introduced him. The reason I made the trip. Once again, I loved Jeff Porcaro and everything he played. Unfortunetly he left us (way early), but Simon carries the torch - and how!
This guy is also in his forties now (I believe) and plays so beautifully and musically on the drums - it's unbelievable. His solo was awesome and watching two sides of his body play seperate patterns like he was two individuals in two seperate cities playing for two different groups was mine boggling. But once again, a very humble, not f'd up in the head, gift from God talent that cannot be duplicated or under appreciated. No doubt a member of this band and not just a sideman filling in for Jeffrey. They better include him on the roster when Toto achieves their completely deserved and overdue induction into the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame (coming soon I'm sure).
Anyway, that is my review. To the most talented musicians on one stage, in one band, I say thank you from a very humble fan from San Diego.

The first thing I noticed was that the crowd was disappointingly sparse. While the Ryman is a relatively small venue, probably less than half the seats were occupied. But those that were there were die-hard fans and quite vocal. The man sitting next to us drove down from northern Indiana, about a seven hour trip. A group of young men sitting front and center had cuecard-looking signs they held up frequently for the benefit of Luke and the band. A family with teenage girls (they screamed during he entire show) was two rows behind us holding up signs that read, "TOTO Rocks Into The New Millennium" and "TOTO, 1977 - 1999". Guitar great Larry Carlton and his wife (?) sat four seats down from us. The stage was still set for the Ryman's presentation of A Christmas Carol so I knew we wouldn't have the light & slide show that I'd read about on the TOTO99 web site.
As the house lights went down the band entered through one of the doors on the set. The crowd went wild and the prepubescent girls behind us started screaming. I didn't recognize the first two songs they played. Luke remarked that it had been seventeen years since their last gig in Nashville, the fans were always welcoming, and that Bobby broke his leg that time. I didn't live here then and can't substantiate that. He also noted that they hadn't played together in a while and this was the first concert of the North American tour. Rosanna was next, followed by a Luke solo and A Million Miles Away. Larry Carlton and his date left the auditorium after the guitar solo. Before the next song, Luke announced that there must be many musicians in the audience. There were. He joked that he was nervous playing in front of all of them but was thankful they all moved to Nashville from the west coast as that gave him more session work in Los Angeles. The discussion of musicians made a nice segue into his praise of the late Jeff Porcaro and the next song - an uptempo, sometimes odd meter number featuring Mike Porcaro's thumping bass and including an intense drum solo by Simon Phillips. Luke then thanked Larry Carlton for his inspiration and said he still needs lessons. "We're gonna slow it down and play some old ones," emcee Luke explained. This set included Play Me a Picture, Mama, 99, You Are the Flower, Different Eyes and I'll Be Over You. It took me a few bars to recognize Georgie Porgie. The arrangement was refreshingly different, well played and a crowd sing-along hit. An instrumental upbeat (from Minefields?) led into Make This a Better World, Cruel World (with the audience standing), and Africa. Everyone exited except for David Paich who stayed to solo on the keyboards. Starting off slow and spacey, he increased tempo and finally crescendoed into the opening of White Sister as the rest of the band filed back onto stage and finished the song and the show.
The crowd's noise brought them back out to perform Child's Anthem, which Luke urged the audience to "sing" along to (for those unfamiliar, it's an instrumental), and Girl Goodbye. He also played a solo to the teenage girls who had made their way to the stage during the break. The band left the stage again but the fans wanted more still.
Again they emerged through the door in the set. Only this time there was an extra member. Rumors of David Hungate joining them on stage proved true. Luke introduced the band: Buddy Hyatt (from Nashville and allegedly throws a great barbecue), background vocals; Tony Spinner (from Memphis and the band's "pretty boy" with his long blonde hair), rhythm guitar and background vocals; John Jessel, keyboards; Simon Phillips (who probably got the most applause), drums; Bobby Kimball, lead vocals; David Paich, keyboards; Mike Porcaro, bass. Paich reminisced about playing on a Glen Campbell album here in Nashville back in the late sixties or early seventies. He then introduced Luke who welcomed David Hungate. Hold The Line ended the show with Hungate playing bass and Mike Porcaro singing background vocals with Buddy and Tony.
Owing probably to the aforementioned lapse in touring, it took a few songs to get the sound fine tuned as evidenced by the band's hand signals to the crew off stage. And Paich's piano never came through well enough for me. Even so, it was a fantastic experience. I used to consider RUSH to be musically the best rock concert I'd attended. Last night changed that. TOTO was absolutely fantastic. Even the tunes I didn't recognize were enjoyable to listen to. (By the way, I guessed at some of the song titles above that I didn't know.) The arrangements, individual musicianship and tightness of the band were outstanding. The Ryman's acoustics added to the great sound. I regret not seeing the light show but am thankful for the special additions - the Christmas Carol set on stage and David Hungate joining them. If you are a TOTO fan or one who appreciates talented rock musicians, I recommend seeing them. I know I will again if they ever return to Nashville.

Hey everyone!
The Nashville show was nothing short of fantastic. I had a 12 hour, 750 mile hike in my car to get there, and I must say that it was well worth it, and I would make the drive a hundred times over to see the Totos again. Luke, as usual, stole the show with his outrageous comments and Sammy Davis impressions. His solo and playing, as always, astounding. Mike Porcaro.... He gets up on that stage, his eyes are closed, and he gets so into the music, that I can't believe it. He is a truly great musician. Simon... What can you say about one of the best drummers alive? Truly awesome. My mouth drops every time I listen or watch his drum solo. Bobby.... The man was ON FIRE. His voice was so damn smooth that I couldn't believe it! I think the Nashville audience was quite impressed with him. Finally Paich.... I respect this man so much that I can't even put it into words. He played like a champion and sang like a champion. "Africa" sounded great. Paich's solo....awesome. J.J. was great on his backing synths, Spinner was awesome on his guitar and vocals, and Buddy Hyatt, just as smooth as could be. I made the road trip with Scott, and he had the idea of signs.... "We Want Mike to Sing!" "Bubba Rules!" "Where's Byron?" (for Out of Love. I thought that would be a big hit, but Bobby was the only one who laughed.) There were a few times when the guys saw the signs and started laughing on stage. All in all, it was a fabulous time. The show was great, the audience had fun, and more importantly, so did the band. I'm already thinking L.A. in February. Awesome.... We actually got the full European Set List, so I got to hear I Will Remember, Tale of a Man, and Child's Anthem. (The people who are on the net understood what Luke met by "singing with him," but no one else did on that song.) The crown of the night was Hold the Line, when David Hungate appeared on stage, and Mike, perhaps one of the classiest guys alive, took off his bass and handed it to him. I thought it was probably the most classy thing I could see him do. And then he went over and just played some percussion. Hungate didn't miss a beat, and it has been since the Toto IV era that he has played that song. Wow. I was truly impressed with him. During Hold the Line, we saw Shawn come down from the balcony, and she came over and stood with our group because we "looked like were having the most fun." It was a great time. Toto did it again, without a doubt. These guys define the term "musicians." Awesome. Nashville is another one of those unforgettable concerts.

I would just like to say what a absolute thrill it was for me to see these guys perform. My girl and i came down from Toledo, Oh. for the show and i was completely in a trance by the groove of these musicians. They made me want to sing every word with them, play every air guitar lick bang on every imaginary drum skin, they just made me feel like i was a part of their show. Thanks for the most memorable trip i have taken yet. Down Mindfields lane.

After not having seen the boys in concert in almost 15 years, I was amazed by their performance in Nashville last night. It was a tough crowd - a room full of the musicians on the local recording scene - but Luke and Simon won them over quickly with some of the amazing solos and fills. A couple of highlights for me was hearing Jake to The Bone live (and I gotta say that I think Simon is the greatest drummer I have ever heard, bar none), White Sister, Tale of A Man, Better World; and the new treatment of Georgy Porgy, I thought, was one of the coolest grooves of the evening - great drumming again by Simon. The acoustic section was a treat also with songs like You Are The Flower and 99.
We got most of the stuff you guys in Europe saw (including the Sammy, and Godfather impressions), but the highlight for the evening was seeing David Hungate get up with the boys again for Hold The Line. For those of you who don't know, David lives in Nashville now and does session work. I had asked Luke on a chat a few weeks ago if Hungate was going to get up with them, and he told me that they had not talked with David in several years, but it would be great to see him. Well, as fate would have it... it happened. Classy move by Mike (who swung mightily last night, I might add) who just got out of the way and let Dave share some of the spotlight with Luke and Bobby.
As far as the performances - Paich was his usual solid self; Mike's playing was hard to hear sometimes (you could FEEL those low notes though!) but he was great; Simon gave a jaw-dropping performance that won the admiration of everyone; and Luke - what can you say about the greatest guitar player in the world? He was better than I've ever seen or heard him. I was totally blown away by the solo, and his sound. I'm sure he was jazzed because of all the friends and fellow musicians in the crowd (It was rumored that Larry Carlton was in the audience, although I never saw him). Oh, and Bobby - I'm amazed that this cat still has the chops after all of these years. He still has all the range and soul that was there in the early days. The sound guys had a little trouble during the first three songs, but the sound was great the rest of the night. Overall - A fantastic performance!

Toto was welcomed back to Nashville by an enthusiastic crowd at the Ryman Auditorium - the original Grand Ole Opry. It's been 17 long years and they have been missed. These guys are absolute wonders. Playing together is obviously a joy for them and the audience picked up on that immediately. Bobby Kimball wowed the audience with his beautiful voice which is the 'Toto' vocal sound. Selections included 'I Will Remember' from the Tambu CD, Cruel World, Africa, Rosanna, Georgy Porgy, White Sister, and Hold the Line. They also played an instrumental dedicated to Jeff Porcaro. The guys also played a medley of some of their older work. The members of Toto seemed excited because the audience included many of their friends from L.A., who have moved to Nashville to work in the music industry here. Lukather teasingly suggested that they were nervous about playing in front of so many other musicians, but these guys don't need to worry about the competition. They're in a class by themselves. David Hungate, who moved to Nashville years ago to raise his family, joined them on stage during their second encore. David Paich mesmerized us with a solo that blew everyone away. He is so incredibly talented and so incredibly nice. They all are great musicians. Simon's solo was fun to watch. The person next to me kept asking how many arms he had because it seemed impossible to believe that he had only two to create the sound he presented. Mike Porcaro was incredible, as well. Steve Lukather is a show man and thrilled the audience with his sense of humor. It was exciting to watch him play and to see him have so much fun with the audience. When saying their goodbyes, David Paich mentioned that he always felt welcome in Nashville. There's a reason, David. It's because you ARE very much welcome - anytime. Please come back and play for us again. It's great to have Toto back in the United States. We've been waiting a long time. Thanks for the great memory.