TOTO - Official Website - Night of the Proms 2003

Sportpalai Antwerp In 2003 TOTO were asked to headline the Night of the Proms (NOTP) concert series for the second time. During their first perfomance at the NOTP in 1994, this remarkable event, where classic meets Pop and Rock, lasted 2 weeks with only 10 shows in total. 9 years later, it has developed to one of the biggest concert series events worldwide with 55 shows spanding more than 2 months in front of more than 600,000 visitors. The tour started in the Sportpalais in Antwerpen (Belgium), a fantastic venue seating 16.000 people. The Sportpalais was sold out for more than 20 consecutive performances in October/November 2003.

The Line-up

Sportpalais Antwerp The NOTP ( is a very special event, as it combines 2 worlds, classic music and modern pop and rock music on one stage. Participating are a 50 piece Orchestra Il Novecento & Robert Groslot with the 50 head Choir Fine Fleur. The orchestra and choir support the Pop and Rock Artists as well as the featured classic instrument, which varies each year. Between the performances of the pop-acts, the Orchestra plays classic songs from the most popular Composers like Bach, Mozart and many others.

Each year at the NOTP, John Miles, with his Electric Band, appears to play. John Miles has been with the Proms since its inception in the late 80īs. His worldwide hit single "Music" is a highlight of the Proms show.

In 2003, several other well known bands and artist joined TOTO on the stage of the Proms. The Australian Band INXS (on the german leg of the tour replaced by Huey Lewis), with the well-known hits "Mystify" and "Suicide Blonde," joined the stage with TOTO, where they became fast friends. Both bands had dealt hard times in the past to deal with; both lost one of their founding members in a tragic and unexpected way and thus shared common ground on which to relate.

Luke and INXS Luke and INXS

En Vogue In addition to TOTO and INXS, Another remarkable act in 2003 was the US female group En Vogue. En Vogue performed 3 of their hit singles and joined the other artists for the great finale, performing "Hey Jude" from the Beatles. At some shows you could see the En Vogue girls coming in front of the stage while TOTO was playing, singing and dancing with the crowd to Hold the Line and Rosanna. The girls of En Vogue also became friends of TOTO as well as of the other artists, and very often the artists spoke of being "one huge family, as the prolonged, consistent time with each other drew all the artists together. Steve Lukather described the "Never Ending Tour" a one of the best experiences they ever had.

Simon Phillips Headlining the Proms, was, of course, TOTO. Everyone in the band was very excited about this tour and they looked forward playing their big hits with an classic Orchestra. However, after just a few shows, Simon Phillips fell ill and couldnīt continue playing the concert series. While the band was very concerned about him, the band felt obligated to continue the Proms, as there were sold out shows and 2 months remaining on tour. Although the TOTO songs are far away from being easy to play, the band had to find someone who would be able to sit in for Simon. This was extremely difficult, as not only did they need someone immediately, they needed someone who could play two consecutive months. In the interim, the drummer from INXS offered to play the drums for TOTO's part of the show as well. They rehearsed for only one day, but the next show date had arrived, and the band were forced to take the stage. Ricky Lawson TOTO's first choice to replace Simon would have been Gregg Bissonette, but Greg was busy doing a booked drum clinic tour in Europe at that time. So Greg Phillinganes suggested the band ask Ricky Lawson (Phil Collins, Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie and many more) and Ricky immediately agreed to appear.

David Paich

Greg Phillinganes
After 4 weeks of the proms, TOTO had to replace another band member. David Paich was forced to leave the tour to return to L.A. due to a serious illness of a close family member. This time, it was much easier to find someone to play the keys. Greg Phillinganes, who has since become a full member of the band, jumped in for David and did the rest of the NOTP shows until December 21st 2003. While the TOTO lineup met with severe fluctuations, the band never lost their sense of humor and their positivity, and they continued to enjoy their time the other artists at the Night of the Proms.
In addition to the magical atmosphere created by the shows, the band found enjoyment during the hangs with the other artists after the show, whether it be at the Hotel Bar or the after show parties during which the TOTO and the other artists joined the house band on a regular basis to jam.

To check out some fantastic photos of this unforgettable tour, please click the link below.
=> NOTP Picture Gallery
Final Luke and Xufei Yang
Luke and Orchestra En Vogue

All photos by Luc De Wandel
Đ by Luc De Wandel - All rights reserved. The pictures on this page may not be copied in part or whole without written permission by the copyright holder!