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MUSIC REVIEW: TOTO – 40 Tours Around The Sun

| 1 October 2019 | Reply

Label: 2018 Toto Live, Inc., exclusively licensed to Eagle Rock Entertainment Ltd.

Release Date: September 20, 2019

Rating: 100%

Reviewed by: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur

I am not one to typically review a live disc, as it is typically a contract fulfilling proposition from a band to its label.  The latest live disc to cross my desktop was anything but that, as Toto has decided to celebrate its 40-year career with a live disc that takes them from their newest music to its oldest, and everything in between.  After a recorded intro, the band launched into its most recent song “Alone” and all bets were off.  The hits were there, with some of my favorites making an appearance among the two dozen track set that was recorded in Amsterdam.  There were classics, deep cuts, and even some kick ass covers.  A personal favorite on the collection is “Hold the Line,” which takes us back to the beginning of the Toto legacy and sounds as good on this live version as it ever did on an version I have heard over the years.  A lot of the songs have that familiar sound  woven through it, thanks to the sound and vibe created by the core of the band – Steve Lukather, David Paich, and Steve Porcaro.  The songs seem to pop through the speakers of the stereo in my office, car, and anywhere I have played the CD’s.  The fusion sound that has permeated the bands catalog over the years seems to have been reinvigorated on this recording.  The cool layered keyboards, guitars, and vocals on songs like “Spanish Sea” help breathe a new life into some of the tracks.  The percussion and rhythms on songs like “I Will Remember” and “Jake To The Bone” show off the different textures of the band and their total grasp on the music that has given them the longevity they have had, while the latter also showcases the jazz-rock fusion the band used as a foundation on a lot of their tracks throughout the years.  Some of my favorite guitar work on this two-disc collection is the riffs and leads Lukather played to perfection on “English Eyes.”  One of the best, and most underappreciated ballads from the bands career is the beautiful “Lea” is a great counterweight to the huge hit written to another woman, “Rosanna,” creating a cool one-two punch that reflects two different sides of the bands writing and playing.  Another song that has always been on repeat in my personal collection “Georgy Porgy” makes an appearance near the end of the first disc and leads us into a phenomenal version of “Human Nature,” made famous on Micahel Jackson’s Thriller.  The original version features Toto as Jackson’s band on a song co-written by Porcaro and John Bettis.  “No Love” closes out the front end of the collection and shows yet another side of the band.  The acoustic driven track is led by harmonica and the strength of the track shines through, even without searing leads or a heavy-handed bottom end.

The second disc kicks off with a song that is thirty years old, but is new to me as “Mushanga” floats through the speakers and across the room.  This song doesn’t jump at you or make you take notice, but rather helps tie together the different textures and vibes of the bands catalog through the years.  Toto classic “Stop Loving You” is interesting, as it sounds the same yet different than other versions I have heard over the years – most likely due to the percussion that shines in a live scenario, as well as the audience participation at times.  The truncated track morphs and twists into the guitar-driven fusion track “Girl Goodbye,” which possibly may be my favorite new old songs.  This song from their 1978 self-titled disc has great guitars, killer percussion and rhythm, and perfect layered vocals that encompass the classic Toto sound… all these years later.  Another song from that debut, “Angela,” shows off the bands softer side with a piano-driven track that has great vocals and some cool melodies and riffs swirled beautifully into the song, especially when the song kicks into overdrive momentarily after the first verse.  Two tracks from the same year, but different releases dot the musical landscape as 1984’s “Lion” and “Dune (Desert Theme)” pop onto the set midway through the second disc, with the former coming from a great studio disc and the latter being the title track from the only film the band ever scored and a powerful instrumental.  Another amazing cover graces the set as the bands breaks into The Beatles’ “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” which the also covered back in the early 2000’s.  The 1984 release Isolation is represented by a couple tracks including the rocker “Stranger in Town,” with chugging riffs, pings from Lukather’s guitars, keyboard fills, some horns, and awesome vocals.  Two tracks from arguably the bands biggest album IV, show up to help close out the set with “Make Believe,” which is full of keyboards, guitars, horns, and some of the best vocals on the set.  The song has all the magic and musicianship of any Toto classic and shows how strong even some of their lesser known songs are and how well the entire catalog has held up over the years.  The bands most recognized hit… lovingly referred to as ‘that song’ during this performance is everything we all remember it to be and seems to be as powerful and memorable now as it was the first time I heard on the radio back in 1982.  The final track on this collection is the acoustic driven “The Road Goes On” and this one perfectly bookends the setlist and gives up a last glimpse at the band’s diversity… and their ability to sound embrace not only the sounds they are most famous for, but the sounds that they all loved and used as influences and drivers in their own songwriting and performances.  There is no replacement for the originals, but this collection comes damn close!

Tracklisting: Intro – Alone – Hold the Line – Lovers in the Night – Spanish Sea – I Will Remember – English Eyes – Jake to the Bone – Lea – Rosanna – Miss Sun – Georgy Porgy – Human Nature – Hollyanna – No Love – Mushanga – Stop Loving You – Girl Goodbye – Angela – Lion – Dune (Desert Theme) – While My Guitar Gently Weeps – Stranger in Town – Make Believe – Africa – The Road Goes On

Lineup: Steve Lukather (vocals / guitar) – David Paich (keyboards / vocals) – Steve Porcaro (keyboards) – Joseph Williams (vocals)

Additional Musicians: Shannon Forrest (drums) – Lenny Castro (percussion) – Shem Von Schroeck (bass / vocals) – Warren Ham (sax / harmonica / vocals)






Category: CD Reviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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