Steve Lukather Holmfirth Picturedome - Saturday 19th March 2011
This was only my third ever gig at the Holmfirth Picturedome, the first being Joe Bonamassa a couple of years ago and the second A Foreigners Journey only last week. It is fast becoming one of my favourite venues as you always get a great atmosphere, brilliant view and good sound; another plus point is that is just down the road from where I live!
For this latest solo tour Steve Lukather had assembled a band of friends and collectively they were tighter than your boss when it comes to pay review. The band comprised of Eric “Mr. Chocolate” Valentine on drums, Steve Weingert on keyboards and backing vocals and his wife Renee Jones on bass and backing vocals.
Musicians in the audience (of which I am definitely not one) were in absolute hero-worship leaving the rest of us just to enjoy the stunning virtuoso performances by the whole band but Steve Lukather in particular. Luke must rate as one of the best guitarists on the Planet; add to that an excellent singing voice, a great sense of humour and arguably, in my opinion, his greatest asset, the ability to write brilliant songs this guy is seriously blessed!
A large proportion of tonight’s set was taken from his brilliant, latest, studio album “All’s Well That Ends Well”. Set opener was the also recent album opener being the moody “Darkness In My World” followed by a couple of oldies in the form of the superb “Always Be There For Me” from 1997’s “Luke” and the heavy “Extinction Blues” from 1992’s “Candyman”.
With such a huge back-catalogue of solo albums and Toto releases it was always going to be an impossibility to please the entire crowd. Being a solo tour any Toto tracks played, of which there were two, were always going to be an added bonus. I know that the wife would have preferred a string of Toto classics but that was never going to happen this evening.
The next track was dedicated to, “Two gentleman called Walter and Donald from New York” and was the highly Steely Dan influenced “Stab In The Back” from 2008’s “Ever Changing Times”. Unfortunately, this was to be the only track taken from this excellent album.
The instrumental “68” (referring to the owing your lady one!) was written for his friend Lee Ritenour and was one song that I was totally unfamiliar with, however, as you can imagine, it was another great vehicle for Luke to display his immense guitar talents.
My favourite track from the recent album, “Brodies followed which contains some brilliant tongue-in-cheek lyrics including, “Another right wing cat getting busted for blow,
He's cheating on his lady with Tiger Woods' ho,” and “A chick's walking by, she's had a nip and tuck, Got a tattoo on her ass and she says you wanna ...
I said yeah”.
The shred-fest that was the Hendrix cover of “Up From The Skies” as a very apt choice as a dedication to the recently and sadly departed Gary Moore.
“Song For Jeff” from Candyman is also a tribute, to former Toto drummer and close friend Jeff Porcaro and segued seamlessly into new song “Don’t Say It’s Over”.
The thunderous instrumental “Tumescent” allowed the rest of the band to have their solo spots.
I have seen Steve perform the magnificent “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” previously with Toto and this was yet another stunning rendition, this time featuring Renee Jones on lead vocals.
The first of the two Toto tracks was the ballad “Out Of Love” dedicated to his dear, departed mum of whom he said, “She always loved the ballads I wrote.”
The awesome “Tears Of My Own Shame” featuring another Hendrix cover “Little Wing” was followed by the main set closer “Can’t Look Back”, also taken from the new album.
Luke and the band left the stage to a tremendous ovation returning for the first encore with the furious “Flash In The Pan” also from the recent album.
Luke returned for one final time, minus the rest of the band, for a spectacular acoustic version of the lesser-known, but still classic, Toto anthem from “Tambu”, “The Road Goes On”.
One of his greatest strengths is his ability to put decent songs around his amazing soloing. I, however, like my wife, still prefer to see Steve Lukather as part of Toto, however, this was still a very enjoyable evening.