Toto, Festival Hall
Melbourne brought a scorcher of a day, but that certainly didn’t stop floods of people from packing into Festival Hall. Whether a lifelong fan, or simply there to hear the classics, it was sure to be a show to be remembered.
Despite being 15 minutes late, the band did not disappoint, with a mix of classic songs and brilliant covers, clearly demonstrating the 40 years experience under their belts and the love of the music.
It was great to see that even after all these years, the band still enjoy what they do.
Two songs in and we are hit with “Hold The Line” and the whole room is singing along, loud enough to be heard down the street and then some. Definitely a crowd pleaser.
After throwing in another die-hard crowd favourite “Lovers in the Night” and a new track “Spanish Sea”, it was obvious that Toto was not afraid to play whatever they wanted, which speaks volumes to who the band is as whole.
Ripping into “Jake to the Bone” a long winded, but incredible instrumental, it seemed that the crowd was a little unsure what to make of it, but one would hope that the musicianship was appreciated, with each member getting to show off the immense amount of talent they hold.
Out of the entire catalogue of Toto’s extensive discography, there are few songs that instantly remind one of this bands existence and “Rosanna” is one of them. As soon as the drum beat starts, you know instantly what song is next and Melbournes crowd was no different in this recognition, instantly filling the venue with a chorus of voices.
It’s not hard to understand why guitarist Steve Lukather referred to “Rosanna” as party song whilst introducing it, as it had the crowd up off their feet in the seated area, dancing like those on the floor.
Simmering down now, the guys brought beautiful acoustic renditions of some of Toto’s older songs, such as “Georgy Porgy, Holyanna” and “Stop Loving You”
The highlight of this acoustic portion of the evening, an acoustic cover of Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature” as song as some may already know, was written by Toto’s keyboardist Steve Porcaro.
Slowing down the show and giving the audience a chance to really listen to how well kept the voices of Joseph Williams and Steve Lukather are, even today was a wonderful experience and gives an even greater sense of how strong a musicianship this band is.
Interesting to note that the dynamic of the band seems to be going strong, despite the time that has passed since Toto first formed, which is a wonderful thing to see, as bad chemistry or tension between band members can be the death of a good show. An audience can be quick to pick that one member may not like the other, or has an issue, this can ruin a show almost instantly.
Luckily for us, Toto have not gone down that path and an added magic was brought to the music.
Time to come back to reality a bit now, and hit after hit were smashed out, giving the die hards in the audience a chance to experience or maybe even re-experience the u of these songs live.
Including an interesting blast from the past with “Dune (Desert Theme)” from the film with the same title. The score of which was written by Toto themselves, along with the second cover of the night, this time around was George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, the artist that guitarist Lukather credits as his inspiration to start playing the guitar.
But the standout, of course and another song that so many people that night came to see was “Africa”, Toto’s most notable track and one that sets off a crowd like nothing else.
Finding it hard to hear Joseph William’s voice during the chorus really does show just how timeless and well loved “Africa” is.
Bringing the evening to a close, a cover of Weezer’s “Hash Pipe”, an add to the set list after Weezer’s cover of “Africa”
With a slew of festival shows and side shows throughout Australia and New Zealand, Toto didn’t fall short with an array of their hits and gave wonderful insight into how strong a dynamic between friends can be, even after 40 years of writing and playing music together and showing that some tracks will live forever, giving new generations the ability to breathe new life into these works of art.
Words by Haleigh Torrance