An Evening with Toto – Dublin, Ireland
- Concert Review 23-05-2015.

Toto is a band which currently has (and has had in its past) within its ranks some of the top musicians ever to play together in a musical formation.   Formed in 1977 by the best session musicians in Los Angeles at the time, the band has had a long and successful career with several top 40 hits such as “Hold the Line”, “Rosanna” and “Africa”, whilst also holding six Grammies to their name.

With this in mind we set off to Dublin’s fair city to see them play live on the second date of their 2015 European Tour. Surprisingly for Toto, their promoter (as the band themselves said at the sound check) booked them into quite a small venue (1500 capacity), which the band then sold out in under a week. Perhaps a bigger venue would have been better, but then again it was a close up and personal experience for the lucky fans in attendance.

Soundcheck / Meet and Greet.

We arrived at the Vicar Street venue at around 4.30pm, on arrival we were given out our VIP passes. We then moved on into the venue and had exclusive queue free access to merchandise store whilst we waited for the band to get ready and the staff told us how the event would work. There weren’t as many people as I expected to be honest around 30 or so, then again more time for the VIP ticket holders. Everyone in the queue seemed to have something for the band to sign, records, CDs, and even larger items such as guitars.

Once inside the venue the band came out onto stage very casually and started chatting with the audience. It was very informal and relaxed and we were able to ask questions and even ask for song requests. The first of these by popular vote was “Chinatown” from their new album, as it is not currently included in the tour set list.

The band was very approachable and made many jokes, my favourite was when Joseph said he was imagining how his father (Star Wars composer John Williams) would score “Child’s Anthem” after they finished playing it.

After the sound check the band moved to a set of tables where they met each audience member. They personally signed a poster and we also received a pre-signed snare drum head. I also took my Toto XIV vinyl album which the band signed and the back plate from my Music Man Luke 3 guitar was signed by Steve Lukather.

The experience then ended with a band photo and we were allowed to stay at the venue for early entry to the concert prior the official opening of the doors to the general ticket holders.

The Concert.

Those of us at the VIP experience already had a good dose of Toto, and we could already hear the rest of the audience outside waiting. At 7.30pm the doors promptly opened and everyone flooded into the room filling every available space. At a few minutes past 8.30pm the music started and the band ripped into “Running Out of Time”, the lead single from their new album “Toto XIV” to a thunderous applause from the appreciative crowd. More tracks followed including classics such as “I’ll Supply the Love”, “Pamela” and the Africa-esque “Bottom of Your Soul”.

The hits aforementioned of course had to be played with “Hold the Line” and “Rosanna” making an early appearance. “Africa” was left to the last encore to leave the audience on a high note. The band played straight through for nearly two hours with another 20-25 minutes for the encores making for “Totol” time (pun intended!) of two and a half hours.

My personal favourite was the “On the Run/Child's Anthem/Goodbye Elenore Medley which rocked the venue, and also I must say that even though I had listened quite a few times to “Great Expectations” on the new album, hearing such an intricate and complex piece live took it to another level. The piece goes through quite a few tempo and style changes and the instrumental 5/4 section is top level musicianship at its best.

Equipment

Steve was using a Music Man Luke 3 Ball Family Reserve (BFR) as his main guitar in a “blueberry burst” finish with a flamed pattern. On some songs he also used and another black Luke 3 with Sammy Davis Junior graphics. Note both the guitars had DiMarzio humbucking pickups unlike the EMG pickups he has favoured in the past. Amplifier wise he had two Bogner half stacks (one spare I presume), together with his pedalboard, which housed amongst others, dual Digitech delays,  a wah, volume pedal and his new Tone Concepts signature model  preamp booster.  Bassist David Hungate was playing a Lakland Five string bass through an SVT half stack with a minimalist pedal board.

Drummer Shannon Forrest sported a red sparkle Brady kit with a layout very reminiscent of the late Jeff Porcaro’s kit. Moving onto keyboards Steve Porcaro used two Yamaha synthesisers to control Apple Mainstage software, whilst David Paich uses a Yamaha CP40 Piano for his main sounds and a Motif for supplemental patches. These are housed in his now trademark upright piano frame with the white Toto logo similar to that from the “Turn Back” album

Tour Line Up.

Steve Lukather – guitars, vocals, keyboards
David Paich – keyboards, vocals
Steve Porcaro – keyboards, synthesizers, vocals
Joseph Williams – vocals
David Hungate – bass guitar
Mabvuto Carpenter – backup vocals
Jenny Douglas-McRae – backup vocals
 Lenny Castro – percussion
 Shannon Forrest – drums, percussion

Set List

Running Out of Time
I'll Supply the Love
Burn
Stranger in Town
Never Enough
I Won't Hold You Back
Holy War
Hold the Line
Takin' It Back
Pamela
Bottom of Your Soul
Caught in the Balance
Without Your Love Play
Little Wing Play (Jimi Hendrix cover)
Orphan
The Road Goes On
Great Expectations
Rosanna

Encore:

On the Run/Child's Anthem/Goodbye Elenore Medley

Encore 2:

The Muse

White Sister

Encore 3:

Africa