Toto Brings Their 40 Trips Around The Sun Tour To Rocksino

August 26th, 2018

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Legacy act Toto brought their 40 Trips Around The Sun tour to Northfield's Hard Rock Rocksino last night to celebrate their forty years as an outfit.  Led by founding members Steve Lukather and Steve Porcaro, frontman Joe Williams and the rest of this nimble band entertained the audience for well over two hours. 

Williams, an on and off member of the band since the mid 1980s (and son of maestro John Williams, the Oscar-winning composer of such scores as Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark and E.T., The Extraterrestrial), traded vocal duties with journeyman guitarist Lukather.  Lukather mentioned early on that keyboardist and original member David Paich was ill,  joking that he was recovering from "penis reduction" surgery, and was unable to join the seven-strong outift.  His replacement for this leg of the tour was Dominique "Xavier" Taplin, a member of Prince's early '90s  power funk outfit New Power Generation.  Joined by Lenny Castro on various percussion instruments, Warren Ham on sax, flute and a kick-ass harmonica, drummer Shannon Forrest, and Shem von Schroek on bass, the band was tight and jammed effortlessly for an outfit that sports so many recent additions to its lineup.

Offering a tune or two from each part of Toto's forty-plus year career (the band was actually founded in 1976), they offered some deeper cuts and omitted a tune or two that the audience was, perhaps, expecting to hear.  Serving up "Hold the Line" early in the set, that tune and its delivery was received by a crowd that spent a good portion of it on their collective feet.  "Spanish Sea" and "I Will Remember" were two mid-set offerings, followed up with "Rosanna," a crowd pleaser.

Interestingly, and a refreshing change of pace, Lukather, Williams, and Porcaro pulled up a few stools and gave a storyteller performance midway through the show, explaining to the audience the genesis of several of the band's tunes.  Truncated versions of "Georgy Porgy," "Human Nature," "Holyanna," "Mushanga" and "Stop Loving You" were played.  Many of these songs were from the band's later years, and a few came from The Seventh One, a 1988 release.  Sadly, "Pamela," one of that album's best singles, wasn't found anywhere in the set.

One of the more head-scratching tunes of the evening was a long instrumental cut from the 1984 film Dune.  For whatever reason, perhaps following in Queen's footsteps for cutting several tunes for the 1980 kitsch classic Flash Gordon, Toto was hired to write the score for that David Lynch-directed sci-fi flick. Interestingly, noted film composer James Newton Howard did a small stint with Toto in the '80s, prior to launching his film score career. 

Offering up a cover of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," the seven-piece ensemble was at the top of their forty-year game.  Closing with an overly-long, somewhat self-indulgent version of "Africa" and a great rendition of "Hashpipe," the evening came to a close.

This was the last stop on this leg of the tour.  They seemed to really let loose throughout the gig, offering long solos and smiling a lot at the crowd, who were clearly having a great time.   This is one group of talented musicians; Lukather pointed out each member and praised both their work ethic and their musicianship.

Look for both Lukather and Ham on September 21st, when they join Ringo Starr and his all-star band at the Rocksino. They'll be joined by Colin Hay of Men At Work and Gregg Rolie, among others.


Photos and Review by Brian M. Lumley

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