After forty years on the road, one could forgive Toto for having lost something over their long touring history but if the band’s Friday night performance at Festival Hall was anything to go by, Toto will probably be touring for many more years to come. The run sheet for Toto’s performance was an interesting one with no opening band during the night. As such, the long wait with the doors opening an hour early meant there was a heavy air of anticipation in the hall leading into Toto’s set.
Coming out to the stage with a sense of zest and awe Toto easily captured the crowd right off of the bat. They opened with “Alone” one of the newer tracks off of Toto’s latest greatest hits album 40 Trips Around the Sun. The new track was quickly juxtaposed by a classic; “Hold The Line” off of what would become a defining moment in their history, Toto’s self titled debut album. “Hold the Line” was a live masterpiece and the opening two songs were a perfect introduction into the night ahead, a historical combination of Toto’s new and old tracks performed on one stage.
The two hour experience was set up with all of their fan favourite tracks, “Rosanna”, “Girl Goodbye”, “I Will Remember” and “Spanish Sea” all appearing on the night and displaying a chronological back track of Toto’s forty years in the service of the music industry.
Throughout the back end of the set, Toto used the time to explore the band’s history. Both Steve and Joe led the crowd through a short, yet comprehensive storytelling of the band’s inception and through some of the leading members favourite songs including “Georgey Porgey”, Human Nature” Holyanna” and “Stop Loving You”.
A personal favourite was Toto’s rendition of one of the leading songs off of their soundtrack for the movie Dune, while there was bound to be a level of confusion from some of the crowd in the room, the number written by Toto especially for the film would have filled the hearts of Dune fans easily as Steve pumped out some guitar solos to spice up the theme to the film.
As one could of expected, “Africa” was the biggest number of the night with Toto’s lead guitarist leading into the track asking the crowd if they “wanted to hear THAT song?”. The cheer from the crowd was deafening as the opening percussion and conga lines opened into the song. The famous track off of Toto’s Toto IV album was an immediate hit as would have been expected as Joe, Steve and the rest of their on stage crew pumped out a memorable rendition which included some scintillating solos.
Yet, the exciting “Africa” wasn’t the end of the night, with Toto bringing out one final track to see it through. The close relationship between Weezer and Toto has always been interestingly tight, seen through Weezer’s multiple covers of Toto recordings, so giving credence to their close friends, Toto decided it was a good time to return the favour finishing their nights performance of a cover of Weezer’s famous track “Hash-pipe”. It was promising finish and Toto did firm justice to Weezer’s classic while adding a touch of their own live experience to jazz up the track in their own way.
True to form, Toto put on an incredible night and while it didn’t feature any guests to help the room before their performance, in it’s own ways it didn’t need a jump start with the band; a now forty year success putting on an early contender for live performance of the year in Melbourne.
FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Photos by the author.