Grand Prairie, TX- Toto rolled through the Verizon Theater in Grand Prairie Tuesday in support of their 40 Trips Around The Sun Tour.
Look up the definition of “misunderstood,” and a picture of Toto is probably beside it. The band has played to packed arenas overseas for years but became largely ignored at home. The perception of Toto being a “Lite Rock” ballad band didn’t help. They did have some hit ballads but were always much more than that. A new greatest hits album came out in February titled 40 Trips Around the Sun featuring three new songs and a North American tour.
Tuesdays show kicked off with “Alone,” a solid new song on 40 Trips Around the Sun. They immediately dove into “Hold the Line,” clearly setting an unpredictable pace. Nevertheless, there was a sense of hesitation between band and audience; each seemed to be waiting for the other to let loose. During their classic “I Will Remember” Guitarist /singer Steve Lukather had to dig deep for the high notes, then delivered an emotive solo. The song seemed to resonate with the audience when someone behind me said, “Wow.”
“I Will Remember” moved the crowd, however “English Eyes” and “Jake to the Bone” yanked them to their feet. With a massive riff, chorus and a ripping solo from Lukather, “English Eyes” was bigger and better than the record. “Jake to the Bone,” a fusion styled instrumental from “Kingdom of Desire” was a 7 minute rollercoaster of tempo changes including a beautiful solo by keyboardist Xavier Taplin. Midway through the show, the band set up for a storyteller medley of songs like “Holyanna,” “Stop Loving You” and “No Love.” The storyteller feature was an enjoyable twist and added an extra element of intimacy.
Toto could have played it safe and stuck to the hits. Thankfully, they went deeper than that with songs like “Lovers in the Night,” “No Love” and “Lea.” The heavy galloping groove of “Girl Goodbye” brought another standing ovation and showcased the powerful singer Joseph Williams. A surprising highlight was “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” from Through the Looking Glass album. Toto put a twist on the song with electronic beats and rhythm. Hearing it live with Lenny Castro’s percussion and two great solos from Lukather, the song was stunning and brought a third standing ovation.
Steve Lukather jokingly asked the crowd if they were ready for “that” song before jumping into “Africa.” The song became a 10-minute event with Joseph Williams and Lenny Castro leading the crowd in repeat choruses. With Weezer recently covering “Africa,” Toto returned the favor with a killer version of “Hash Pipe,” which closed the show. The irony of the unexpected success of both songs wasn’t lost on anyone. Good songs still matter, and Toto’s resurgence was here and long overdue.
Story and photo’s by: Terry Walsh
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