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Toto Held The Line With A Solid Show On Sunday In Saint Louis

Toto performing at Stifel Theatre Sunday. Photo by Laura Tucker/Laura Tucker Photography.

–by Laura Tucker

 

It’s hard to believe that the band Toto has been together for 46 years. But the number in attendance at the beautiful Stifel Theater on Sunday night in downtown Saint Louis proves that they are still fresh on the minds of their fans. And there were some serious fans in attendance.

Toto performing at Stifel Theatre Sunday. Photo by Laura Tucker/Laura Tucker Photography.

Currently on tour with Journey, The “Dogs of Oz” tour has made a few sidebar solo stops and luckily, St. Louis was one of them. There was no opening band; just an evening with Toto. They took the stage at 7:30 and began the show with “Afraid of Love” before the familiar notes of the keyboard revved up the crowd with “Hold the Line”. The audience was filled with mostly Gen-Xers but sitting behind me was a teen wearing a Nirvana t-shirt, a beanie and at the end of the show, a huge smile on his face. I love to see the next generation carrying the torch.

Toto performing at Stifel Theatre Sunday. Photo by Laura Tucker/Laura Tucker Photography.

Lead guitarist/singer, Steve Lukather, is the only founding member left in the band. But it’s his constant presence and drive throughout the years has kept the music going, even after the deaths of the Porcaro brothers, Mike and Jeff. And although they have gone through a myriad of changes, that are as hard to follow as a season of the Young and the Restless, one thing that stood out is how perfect they harmonize to create that Toto sound with new members. But these guys are true professionals. Each of them are successful studio artists who have played for major names throughout their careers. And their professionalism was ever-present on Sunday night. Their delivery was tight the entire time. And Steve Lukather can rip on a guitar with the best of ‘em.

Toto performing at Stifel Theatre Sunday. Photo by Laura Tucker/Laura Tucker Photography.

While introducing band mates, Steve told a few stories about how some of them were childhood friends and have remained that way all these years. The current lineup is as follows: Lead vocals-Joseph Williams, John Pierce (of Huey Lewis and the news) on bass, on keys and vocals-Steve Maggiora, also on the keyboard-Dominique “Xavier” Taplin, playing bongos, saxophone, flute and probably anything else he wants is Warren Ham. Steve joked that he was glad the multi-instrumentalists didn’t play guitar. And rounding out the seven-piece ensemble is Robert “Sput” Searight on drums.

Toto performing at Stifel Theatre Sunday. Photo by Laura Tucker/Laura Tucker Photography.

 

The song “I’ll Be Over You” was dedicated to the Porcora brothers and was followed by Lukather’s guitar solo, which had to be one of the longest guitar solos I’ve ever heard. And like I said before, he is an incredible guitarist. There were plenty of moments to let each member enjoy the spotlight with vocals and solos. When “Sput” got his turn, he got the audience to participate by yelling “make it funky”. He impeccably performed a very jazz fusion styled and yes, funky solo.

Toto performing at Stifel Theatre Sunday. Photo by Laura Tucker/Laura Tucker Photography.

They played a deep cut from the 80’s called “Pamela” and while I wasn’t familiar with it, many were and they made it known. There was one super-fan in the front row who was having the time of his life.

Toto performing at Stifel Theatre Sunday. Photo by Laura Tucker/Laura Tucker Photography.

Saving the obvious for last, with “Rosanna” and “Africa.” Both songs transported us to 1980-something and watching the videos on MTV and Night Tracks. That’s how we enjoyed music back then. Staying up all night on a Friday or Saturday to not only hear but also see our favorite artists. And Toto, was right there in the mix.

Toto performing at Stifel Theatre Sunday. Photo by Laura Tucker/Laura Tucker Photography.

The night ended with an encore of The Beatles classic “With a Little Help From My Friends.” I can’t help but think that this is the mantra that keeps the band going after all these years.

 

Toto Set List:

Afraid of Love

Hold the Line

Falling in Between

I’ll Be Over You

White Sister

Georgy Porgy

Pamela

Kingdom of Desire

Flower

Waiting for Your Love

Home of the Brave

Rosanna

Africa

Encore;

With a Little Help From My Friends

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