Search This Blog

Monday, September 9, 2013

Toto live at Chene Park, Detroit, Michigan

Toto live at Chene Park, Detroit, Michigan
Sunday August 25th, 2013


Seeing the band Toto live is such a rare treat, especially when you realise that the last time they played Detroit was in fact July 19th, 2007 … Yes, I remember it well as I reviewed that show for at the time.

That was a great night, although sadly that night the lineup was missing a major player, as David Paich was missing and in fact the time I saw Toto here before that was back in 2002 and there was a massive storm here.
It stormed so badly that night, that opening band The Tubes pulled out of doing the show, because they didn’t figure it would go ahead …, but it did.

Anyway, whatever ... The band are back in town again and this time, WITH David Paich!
Indeed the current lineup that has been touring features original players Steve Lukather and Steve Pocaro as well as David, also Joseph Williams who sung on the ‘Fahrenheit’ and ‘The Seventh One’ albums.
Also long time drummer – one of my favourites – Simon Phillips who stepped into the band after Jeff Pocaro passed away in 1992 and Nathan East on bass wraps up the main band and then there are two very good backing vocalists too, Amy Keys and Mabvuto Carpenter.
The stage was set, as the band is opening for Michael McDonald (ex-Doobie Brother) on a bunch of dates across the US, they’re playing on the edge of the Detroit river in an excellent amphitheater in Detroit’s Chene Park.

We were a little nervous about heading downtown, but this was Toto after all a completely world class act who for way too many years have been so wrongfully overlooked by their home country here in the USA.
With the talent they’ve always had and still have in mountains – Don’t come much bigger than mountains right?! – it was a show that I for one, was not going to miss.

They opened the set going straight for the throat with ‘On The Run’ and it just sounded so, so good and it’s just great to see that David Paich is there on piano and keys, as well as Steve Pocaro.

Very happy to have been witness to this wonderful event first hand.
‘Goodbye Elenore’ next just never sounded better!
This band is just so on their game, so tight, I mean the interplay between them all is just spot on!


Toto, live in Detroit!
Top - Steve Lukather, Joseph Williams and Nathan East, brilliant!
Bottom - Simon Phillips, drum maestro!
Photo's: Alun Williams

I was beginning to think I’d died and gone to heaven when they chose to play ‘Hydra’ next, Luke’s guitar work just stunning, he just rips out the licks and Simon’s drumming, phenomenal!
The sound they produce is just so lush, so rich even in an outdoor setting, these guys got it so right. What a night!
For the casual Toto fan, ‘Rosanna’ reached many of the crowd to get them up on their feet, it’s just so sad they are not headlining the venue on the night. Perhaps also the fact that the gig was not strongly advertised, certainly not well enough is why there was not a big, sold out crowd in attendance.
Perhaps also the location scared a lot of folks off coming to the show as well.
Had it been Pine Knob / DTE Energy Music Theatre, Freedom Hill or even Meadowbrook, I think this would’ve been a lot better attended show. Shame …

Luke and Joe’s shared vocals on ‘Rosanna’ were just class, it all sounded simply immense and the band just jammed it out at the end of the song, great!

Toto live on Detroit's riverfront - Photo: Alun Williams

Luke stepped up to the microphone and said to the crowd, ‘Hey Detroit, wassup?!
It feels like it’s been a thousand years since we last played in town.’
He dedicates the next song to his Mom, who he lost a few years back and shared how she always inspired him so much.
‘I Won’t Hold You Back’ was pure AOR heaven, just beautiful, it gave both Rhonda and I goose bumps.
From their last studio album, they provided us the title track ‘Falling In Between’ next which becomes a cool epic on its own.
 Simon’s sporadic drum fills, in sync with Luke’s guitar runs is just mint! Brilliant!



Top - David Paich and Simon Phillips
Bottom - Luke plays out in front of Simon Phillips
Photo's - Alun Williams

Luke dedicates the next song to ‘Our brother Jeff Pocaro … And our brother Mikey Pocaro back in LA … We thank you all, for your prayers and well wishes …’
‘Wings of Time’
from ‘Kingdom of Desire’ is a monster track, just so beautifully presented and as so much much of Toto’s work, so rich and very soulful.

Luke introduces, ‘Joseph Williams, the GREAT Joseph Williams, give it up for him!’

Joe steps up to the mic and says, ‘I’d like you all to join me in singing this next song that I wrote with David Paich, the GREAT David Paich! It’s called ‘Pamela!’Truly yet another strong song from the Toto jukebox and David Paich has an excellent solo piano spot in the middle that captures jazz and honky tonk moments and he’s just got the ‘it’ factor about him, no question! Magic!

Two masters of the keys, Steve Pocaro (Top) and David Paich (Bottom)!
Photo's - Alun Williams

Next up Luke grabbed an acoustic guitar and again talks it up well saying, ‘This is a song written by David Paich many moons ago and we’d just like the set the record straight on where David got his inspiration to write this and it’s actually about a new sexual position he invented, it’s called ’99!’Funny guy Luke!

They of course played it all so well, magic! Some excellent solo acoustic work from Luke and the band kind of eased off and then leave just David and Joe Williams, as David then starts jamming on his own and then the band all came back on stage and then wham! ‘White Sister’ kicked into play and they totally rock out brilliant, everyone, Luke, David, Steve, Simon and Nate, just jammed this out with David rocking on the piano and Simon plays powerhouse style! Loved it!


Then Luke said, ‘Are you guys ready to party?’ Cue ‘Africa’ and it was beautiful and once more, the sound was immense!
David stepped out from behind the piano and is gesturing that everyone should clap their hands as David was.
Another absolute winner!

David Paich - 'You need hands ... '
Photo - Alun Williams
As we realised it must be getting close to the end of the set … ‘Hold The Line’ just rocked the place and the set was done.
This was one great show, it really was and I for one really look forward to the new Toto live DVD coming out later this year.

Seriously, if you want to see a class act live, then look no further than Toto!They deliver the goods no question about it, thank you guys!

Rating: 5 out of 5