Few ensembles in the history of recorded music have individually or collectively had a larger imprint on pop culture than the members of Toto. As individuals, the band members can be heard on an astonishing 5000 albums that together amass a sales history of a half a billion albums. Amongst these recordings, NARAS applauded the performances with more than 200 Grammy nominations and were inducted in to the Musicians Hall Of Fame in 2009.
With close to 40 years together and literally thousands of credits, including the biggest selling album of all time: Michael Jackson’s Thriller, and accolades to their names, Toto remains one of the top selling touring and recording acts in the world. They are the benchmark by which many artists base their sound and production, and they continue to transcend the standards set by the entire music community, being simply synonymous with musical credibility. The band recently kicked off its latest string of live dates entitled “An Evening With Toto” and the show made a stop in Durham, North Carolina on June 6 to the beautiful Carolina Theatre of Durham.
There was no opening act as Toto took the stage at 8:00 for what ended up being two hours of non-stop hits and fan favorites. The show kicked off with “Only the Children” from The Seventh One, an album that was well represented throughout the night. “Hold The Line” was next with the crowd erupting in approval while rising to their feet. This created a bit of a predicament that we will address later in this review as we had the sitters versus the standers debate arise yet again. Guitarist Steve Lukather had room throughout the night to unleash on his axe thus displaying to all in attendance (not that we needed verification) why he is one of the best and most respected in the industry.
It was surprising how well the newer material that was represented in the show in such songs as “Great Expectations” and “Orphan” from the band’s latest studio album XIV really flowed with the classic hits and Toto sound. The stage on this particular night was full of some of the most talented and well respected musicians in the industry. From beginning to end, the band was incredibly tight, engaging and the fun that they were having on-stage was very infectious for all of us in the audience. “Rosanna” turned into a huge karaoke, fun for all, sing-a-long that had the entire venue joining in on the funfest. You couldn’t sit still and you couldn’t help but stand up and move or at least tap your feet and clap if you chose to sit.
The show was a great two hour escape from reality and all of the negativity in the world. Music has always proven to be a great escape and even therapeutic and this show was a prime example of that. A big shout out to everyone who was up on that stage playing their asses off for all of us: Steve Lukather (guitar/vocals), David Paich (keys/vocals), Steve Porcaro (keys/vocals), Joe Williams (vocals), Warren Hamm (sax/backing vocals), Lenny Castro (percussion), Shannon Forrest (drums) and Shem von Schroeck (bass/backing vocals). I’m afraid that in today’s ever changing music industry that we will probably never see another band come along with the staying power that Toto has proven to have. Who knows how much longer these guys will continue doing this, although this show gave us the sense that the guys are far from slowing down. If you get a chance to see these guys, don’t let it pass you by. You’ll be kicking yourself the morning after if you don’t as you hear all of your friends talking about how amazing it was.
On a quick closing note, the debate came up again at the show when you have people who want to remain seated during the whole show versus those who like to stand up and have a good time. Well, from time to time, the standers may be blocking the view of those who have chosen to sit. Is it fair for an usher or security guard to ask you to sit down because someone behind you can’t see? I can see both sides of the argument and both have valid points. I will admit that I am a stander and I love to get into the show and have a great time. How does a venue find a happy medium to keep the sitters happy as well as the standers? It certainly isn’t by telling the standers to sit down or they will have to leave, but when ticket holders are about to start throwing fists, what do you do?
- Only The Children
- Hold the Line
- Afraid of Love
- Lovers in the Night
- I’ll Be Over You
- Great Expectations
- Red House (Jimi Hendrix cover)
- Stop Loving You
- The Muse
- Home of the Brave
- I’ll Supply the Love
- Africa (encore)
Check out our pix from Toto’s show at The Carolina Theatre of Durham in Durham, North Carolina on June 6, 2017. Click on each image for a larger view!