Toto; Grand Opera House Wilmington, DE 8/16/13

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Toto; Grand Opera House Wilmington, DE 8/16/13

Postby jimmy19029 » Sun Aug 18, 2013 6:13 am

After seven long years, another Toto show. FINALLY! Sadly, despite their popularity in the US in the 80s, Toto was just NEVER a cool band and after the 80s ended, seemed to be delegated to "Cheesy 80s Pop Band Uncool Limbo."

But in Europe and Japan it's always been a different story. In those two places people know how to appreciate good music, Toto in particular. So each year, Toto might do a few warm up dates in the US before shooting off overseas for the real touring. So it works out to about every seven years, on average, that they'll hit my area.

I was very lucky that this time they were playing practically down the road from me at The Grand Opera House in Wilmington.

Joseph Williams, son of the infamous composer John Williams, who first fronted Toto back in 1986-1988, is back singing for the group again! And better yet, there are no auto-tunes or rumors of "canned vocals" that have dogged the band in recent years. LOVED having Joe back singing songs he originated with the band, like "Pamela", "Stop Loving You" and "Home of the Brave", which was dedicated, as always, to our brave fighting forces. He also did a fine job singing Bobby Kimball's parts on songs like "Rosanna", "White Sister", "Africa", "St. George and the Dragon" and 2006's "Falling in Between". And current backup singer Amy Keys came down to do a cool call & answer vamp on "Hold the Line".

Before the show began, I heard various people shout out what sounded like "BOOOOO"! Then it sounded like "BRUUUUCCE"! But Springsteen wasn't here, what were they...OH! Then I realized they were saying.."LUUUKKE"! And Luke (Steve Lukather) was showing off his usual fine guitar pyrotechnics. Unfortunately, his lead vocals on songs like "I Won't Hold You Back", "99" and "Better World" were a bit rough around the edges. I was a little disappointed as he used to be one of the band's best and usually featured singers. But his guitar playing and Joe's spot on performances...not to mention having Steve Porcaro back in the group wailing away on the synth parts, as only he can do, more than made up for any shortcomings. That was a pretty large hole he left when he quit the group back in 1988. WELCOME BACK, STEVE! AND WELCOME BACK, DAVE PAICH!

"Hydra" was one of their more prog type of pieces that first made me a rabid fan back when. And Dave Paich, complete with top hat, was back in his proper place behind the piano to play and sing it for us. Then Luke, always the jokester, made fun of the hat and told us that the next song, "99", was really about a cool, unique sexual position Dave has discovered. "Abuse", muttered Dave, "All I get is abuse.."

Luke dedicated their 1983 hit "I Won't Hold You Back" to his late mother (It was her favorite of all Toto's songs) and "Wings of Time" (from 1992's Kingdom of Desire) was dedicated to their late drummer Jeff Porcaro and Jeff's brother Mike, who is now suffering from ALS.

The current lineup is rounded out by two of the best musicians on the planet: drummer Simon Phillips and bassist Nathan East. And backup singers Amy Keys and Mabvuto Carpenter provide the extra powerful harmonies that are the icing on top.

I'm hearing now that Toto are hearing from US promoters who are wanting them to do more dates. So hopefully it won't be another seven years for me next time.

On the Run (with a snippet of Child's Anthem)/
Goodbye Elenore
St. George and the Dragon
I Won't Hold You Back
Falling in Between
Wings of Time
White Sister
Better World
Stop Loving You
/Simon's drum solo
Hold the Line

Home of the Brave
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