TOTO - Official Website - Concert Reviews

Sydney, Australia — 2 December 1992
SELINAS -Coogee Bay Hotel, SYDNEY, 1992
The faithful fanbase turned out in force and crowded into one of SYdneys most tangible venuest owatch the legends themselves strut their stuff in Australia for the first time in.... I think, EVER!! The packed room witnessed what was the end of a 3 month tour which saw TOTO head down under after jaunts in Europe and Japan. The crowd were restless and anxious, after all, this was a band that at this point in time wa barely recognisable to its fans sproting only two(2) of its original members... could they pull it off?!? The crowd rallied into a frenzy as the lights dimmed and TOTO took to the stage with all the power and arrogance of their decade and a half as " The worlds most accomplished musicians"(as the poster promo read!). Lukather strutted last onto centre mike to a raucous cheer from an adoring cross-aged legion of Aussie rockers all of whom started playing "air-guitar" upon seeing their "SENSAI" so last!! Lukather heaped prause on his fellow musicians, and allayed any fears and apprehensiveness anyone in the crowd may have felt when he declared that tonight, TOTO would "tear the fuck out of this place!" They did.... much to the delight of the TOTO army. They brought no less than (3) singers with them to share the lead. One little blonde lass whose name for the life of me I can't recall probably because she blew me so far off the planet with her voice that her name seemed secondary in importance. It would have been magical to have heard Bobby Kimball at the helm true, but her renditions of "You Supply The Night" and "Rosanna" with Lukather were sheer power singing at its irreverent, uncontrollable best. David Paich tonight looked like a John Belsuhi look-alike in his dark glasses astride the keyboard, but that did not deter the huge crescendo of cheers when he did "Africa". Mike Porcaro was the epitomy of cool on the bass, oozing sexual prowess and displaying the steadfastness of an anchor, adding an assureness to the music. Simon Phillips is a relative new comer to the band but his place seems set as he effortlessly slams into the skins with the force of a radar, controlled megatonne bomb...complete with the same preciseness. There seems little to detract from such a magical night save Lukathers constant name-dropping and the bands seemingly self-indulgent foray into lenghty instrumentals which amount to nothing more to the ear than a singled-out effort from a bunch of world-class musos to out-do each other. That aside, the crowd were treated to a night of mostly familiar tunes from yesteryear and indeed Lukathers promise was a 2 and a bit hour performance...and that did not include the three(3) encores they came back and played. they were in the mood for lovin... and their Australian contingent loved them right back...and more. Thanks guys...come back again REAL soon. Dont forget where we are....and God Bless Jeff Porcaro whose presence was definetely felt courtesy of that larrikin master of the stratocaster... the one, the only Steve Lukather!!!

I too was lucky enough to see Toto at Selinas in the Coogee Bay Hotel, Bondi, Sydney in 1992. The band were supported by an american solo acoustic guitarist/singer whose name escapes me, but the poor bloke got booed off the stage because everyone was soooo keyed up for Toto. My husband and I were at the front of the balcony right opposite the stage and when they came out and played Childs Anthem, I had to get hubby to pinch me because I thought I was dreaming!!! It was a dream come true for me to see Toto in the flesh and they didn't dissapoint. They played for 3 hours and I can still see and hear Steve's mind blowing guitar riff from Home of the Brave. It seemed like it went forever. What a legend he is!!!

They played new stuff from Kingdom of Desire and also heaps of the old faves like Georgy Porgy, I'll be over You and lots more. Now I wish they would come back down under cause I'm having withdrawals.

I too got my love of Toto through Boz Scaggs and maybe I might be one of the earliest fans in Australia. I went to see Boz Scaggs at the Sydney Showground in 1976 or 77 (not quite sure as I was only 11 or 12yo!). Don't remember a great deal about the concert but I can still picture the band on stage and probably half of them would have been future Toto members. I still like Boz but as soon as Toto released their first album, I never looked back. I have all their albums and am patiently waiting for the live DVD.

Anyway, I thought you might find this interesting and I'll keep on worshipping Toto from a distance!

I was fortunate enough to see Toto in their one and only Australian tour (can't even recall the year) for Kingdom of Desire in Sydney.

To be honest I'd lost touch with Toto and went to the show mainly cause I grew up listening to them as a teen...but what a treat I was in for!

Toto hit the stage like a hurricane! opening with the high volume "Gypsy Train" (Toto were going through their "maybe we could be a metal band" phase!) The audience LOVED it!

I was luck enough to get a position right up the front and could see and hear everything perfectly. Luke was in great form and he was such a great showman, blistering solos and excellent vocal work.

The show was a good mix of tunes from Kindom of Desire such as "Jake to the Bone" "Gypsie Train" and the title track, and of course the mainly "Luke on vocals" Toto classics. The higher vocal range songs such as "Hold the Line" and "Home of the Brave" being handled by the slinky female backing vocalists.

It was not exactly the Toto I grew up with I must say...but brilliant none the less, the guys all played so well. The harmonies were faultless and although it was a large club show (about 2000 - 3000 people) the sound quality was fantastic.

The Sydney show was the last on the Kingdom of Desire tour and of course the first tour without Jeff

The things that I remember most:

Simon breaking his bass drum skin grinding the show to a halt...the sound check for the new bass drum became the drum solo! Luke almost crying as he dedicated the show (as always) to Jeff Mike and Luke hugging when Luke gave Mike the credit for holding the band together through the loss of Jeff The first harmonic into Luke's "Gypsy Train" solo

I remember that people raved about that show for months after in Sydney.

The next day I bought Kingdom of Desire and soon after I bought EVERY Toto album and video that I didn't already have as well as all of Luke's solo albums

I even travelled to Germany last month to see Luke play with Edgar Winter.

Oslo Spectrum, Norway — 14 October 1992
This was the first Toto-concert I went to, and WOW, what an experience. The band gave an outstanding performance for 2 hours and 50 minutes, with a small break so the drum-tech could change Simon`s right bassdrum. This was just right after Jeff had passed away, God bless his soul, and I didn't know who would be behind the drums, but I was not disappointed. If anyone could play like Jeff, it had to be Simon, and at the same time leave his "trademark" - his own way of playing, his own sound.
I loved it, and what a drum solo he would lay out after the song "jake to the bone". An 8 minute solo in the 7/8 figure !!!
Of course the rest of the band were unbelieveble. Mike"the groovemeister", David and Steve, Chris Trujillo on percussion, John James vocals, Donna McDaniels vocals, Jenny Douglas McRae, vocals.

This were the songs:

Gypsy train
Never enough
Childs anthem
I`ll supply the love
St.George and the dragon
I`ll be over you
How many times
Home of the brave
Acoustic medley: Georgy porgy/99/If its the last night/Angela/I dint eanna hold you back now/dont stop me now
Africa + Chris perc.solo
Kingdom of desire
Jake to the bone (7 minutes version )
Simon solo
Angel dont cry
Dont chain my heart
Stop loving you

Hold the line ( 12 minutes version )
band presentation / memory speach for Jeff
With a little help from my friends

I will remember this show until the end of time ( or my time at least )
Thank You Guys, Love Ya´ !!!!!

Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, USA — June 11,1980
I first got into Toto by way of Boz Scaggs' "Silk Degrees." That backup section of Porcaro, Paich and Hungate was tight, particularly the drummer! I decided to follow these guys' musical endeavors.

A couple years later, I read in the paper that these guys and some other Grant High School alumni and a singer would form a band. I thought it would be more in the vein of Fourplay (Bob James, Lee Ritenour, Nathan East, Harvey Mason.) To a degree they are, but also more rock and roll, for which I appreciate the diversity. I scooped up the album (Toto, 1978) soon as I saw it, and loved it. To this day it is still one of the albums I love to listen to from beginning to end.

I was curious about the critical reviews and the first one I saw was in the "Los Angeles Times," and it may have been by Robert Hilburn (archivists can help here), veteran and respected rock music critic. The review was pretty negative, accusing the group of being basically blue-eyed-soul-less studio hacks, too studio-slick, etc. Save for Paich's "unique and engaging lyrics" (paraphrase), the criticism began early and never let up. Also, punk had recently arisen, and in many critics' eyes, there simply was no room for an act like Toto. By now, I wanted to see them, because I still liked their music. They debuted in Los Angeles at the Whisky A Go-Go on the Sunset Strip and I missed them. But I saw pictures in "Circus" or one of the rock magazines: Hmmmm...slacks, vests, no costumes-this was an anomaly in the '70's! They looked more like a country & western group.

Well, time passed and Hydra came out the next year. Hydra was a bit more ambitious-hard-rocking, yet still varied. Well, come April 1980, I believe, the show at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium was announced. I went out and bought 4 tickets immediately, not having yet established who would be attending the show with me. I think the tickets were US$8 or $10 apiece. (Boy, times have changed.) As I was freshly unemployed and between jobs, that $40 was hard to come by.

Calling around just days before the show, I, through a friend, convinced 2 of our other friends to go, but the 4th ticket went unused till about an hour before showtime in front of the Civic. I sold it, but no one ever showed up to sit by us-a free seat, more elbow room!
Showtime. Lights down, dry ice and "Hydra" sounds filled the stage as the band was led onstage in darkness. There were nice green washes as David Paich played the opening piano chords. Shafts of orange, red and magenta gave a nice "subterranean" lighting feel. As the band came in, the lights came up in intensity. This time, there were no 3-piece vest-suits.
Steve L. (Luke): bumblebee horizontally red/black striped shirt, red knee pads, white tights;
Steve P.: GQ slacks and red shirt, big red-rimmed glasses, long curly afro, human dynamo;
David: thigh-length kimono;
Jeff: white jumpsuit;
David Hungate: blazer with slacks or jeans;
Bobby: dark blazer and slacks, white ruffle shirt, ˝ cast on one leg.
(Note: the band wore the same stage attire pictured on the poster from the Turn Back album. It is very likely that the photos were taken at this very concert.)
"Hydra" featured Bobby playing Wurlitzer electric piano. The cast covered one calf and foot. For the second song, "St. George and the Dragon," Bobby took center stage as lead singer/MC, cast and all.

These guys had the chops. The slow-funk was in the house as they pulled off better than letter-perfect renditions of "99", "Mama", and "Georgy Porgy." Jeff's versatility guided all through the show-any good band has a great drummer. (He was also the first drummer I ever saw use a rackmount on a drumset.)

"Child's Anthem" featured animation on a rear projection screen of the Toto sword being thrust forward, encircled by the ring and the ribbon wrapping itself into place to form the logo of the first album. "Angela" was awesome. It began as it did on the album, but with David Hungate accompanying on acoustic guitar! He sat on a step in front of his bass stack. Steve L. (who had and still has a great voice) did the soft verses, and as the song wound into the chorus (the 'hard' part), David H. put down the acoustic guitar and picked up the black Fender P-bass. His versatility on this song (as well as his haircut) reminded me of John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin), c. 1975. Jeff pounded the 'hard' part. They repeated the verse/hard part, with Hungate switching off guitars again. But as the song was winding down/tagging out, Paich counted up a new tempo and the band did the chorus ('hard') part very quirkily-and fast. This was an obvious homage, or more likely, answer to the omniscience of Punk. The song ended punk, double-time on the hard part. The performance was a tour-de-force.

"Rockmaker" was played just as it was on the album, with maybe a guitar solo at the end, I can't recall. I always liked this song, kinda mid-tempo, kinda like a laid-back hard rock song. I always loved how they could mix songs like this and "Girl Goodbye" with stuff like "You Are the Flower." The only other ones that come immediately to mind who can swing freely from one style to another are Prince, Lenny Kravitz and P-Funk.

The solos were amazing displays of musicianship-a common description of Toto. At the time, Paich and Steve P. used Polyfusion synths. (Those things were stacked 3- and 4-high!) They also had banks of sequencers, which were much larger than the keyboard-sized or smaller ones manufactured and used today. Paich also played a concert grand piano as well as a Hammond A-100 organ. For the solos he played the piano and synths. Steve P. played synths with sequencers percolating in back. (This section was similar to the solo spots on the 1982 tour.)

Next up was Luke and his black Strat. As he wowed the audience with his Luke-and-Van Halen-isms, Paich had strapped on a black Moog Liberation, a remote keyboard shaped and worn like a guitar. Luke and Paich had a call-and-response duel. Luke's final word was a deep, sweeping bend on the whammy bar. (Floyd Rose tremolos had recently hit the market and were great for this kind of stuff.) Paich answered with his last word: a run, then a glissando sweep to the bass register of his Liberation, which shook the whole auditorium. Luke was outdone, but took it good-naturedly.

"Girl Goodbye" followed. The Hammond was very evident. Did I mention that Steve P. was a human dynamo? "Girl Goodbye" was the barn-burner that it is on the album. This, I think, is a great example of the uniqueness of Paich's lyrics. "Hold the Line" was next, which brought the house down. Luke climbed atop the grand piano via a stair placed at the end to do his solo. The main set ended with "White Sister," at the time my favorite Toto song. Is ecstasy a word that can be used to describe my state at this time? Many more Toto songs since have become favorites, but this one is still in the top area of the list. By this time, Jeff was dripping with sweat. Sadly, I wouldn't ever be able to see Jeff again. And to my knowledge, "White Sister" would not be performed again till 1999-2000, which was the next time I saw them. (But that's another review LA, 3-5-99, with Edgar Winter!)

Encores: after the intro of jet plane sounds, "All Us Boys" roared in. It is a hard-rocking song, even harder live. The last song had not been released, but it may have been "Runaway." (Would appreciate some assistance from those in-the-know) We were spent, yet satiated. My buddies, who knew nothing about Toto, still to this day talk about what a great concert it was.

For various personal/financial reasons I would never see Toto again till 1999. But I continued to buy all the albums. When some years had passed, I found I had just missed them when the played the Whisky around the time of the release of "Kingdom of Desire." It never ceased to amaze me how these guys got such minimal support in this country from 1984 on. So, I vowed to myself to catch them next time they came to L.A. I ordered the foreign "Absolutely Live" album (a godsend, though it would've been that much better with 2 or 3 more songs), bought the foreign concert video (I stress 'foreign' because this stuff is only available in the US as imports), I've heard some bootlegs now we're approaching '99, but again, that's another story.

Setlist, June 11, 1980

St. George and the Dragon
Child's Anthem
I'll Supply the Love
Georgy Porgy
Keyboard solos-D. Paich, S. Porcaro
Guitar solo/keyboard & guitar solos-
S. Lukather, D. Paich
Girl Goodbye
Hold the Line
White Sister
All Us Boys