2018 was a banner year and the 40th Anniversary for TOTO who celebrated the occasion by embarking on their longest world tour in years. The band performed for hundreds of thousands of fans across Europe and North America, as their level of global critical mass reached new heights largely fueled by a rediscovery of favourites from their beloved repertoire.
This live performance was filmed in front of a sold-out crowd exceeding 18,000 fans on March 17, 2018, at the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam. TOTO performed a wide range of songs, including hit singles, rarely performed live deep cuts, and two recently recorded tracks which appeared on their new Greatest Hits album (40 Trips Around The Sun). Also included is the “40 Tours Featurette,” a brand new interview with band members: Steve Lukather, David Paich, Steve Porcaro, and Joseph Williams.
This is an attractive package combining the DVD and cd release. Up until a few years ago outside of the globally known hit songs I was not that familiar with the bands extensive back catalogue of music. This was soon remedied when I managed to catch Toto live in Dublin in 2015. The live show that I witnessed was simply incredible. A few years later, another tour and this was to commemorate the bands 40th Anniversary. Unfortunately, I did not have the chance to attend a local show by the band and this release is I guess the next best thing. Quite a different set list this time out and a nice mix of the old and the new. The tour was the band’s most extensive run in years and was a worldwide tour to celebrate the band’s enduring career.
Alongside the launch of the tour, the band along with Legacy Recordings had created a brand new Greatest Hits package. The album featured brand new previously unreleased music alongside newly remastered classic tracks worked on by Elliot Scheiner & Gavin Lurssen and his team. The core Toto members, Steve Lukather, David Paich, Steve Porcaro, Joseph Williams also re-entered the studio to work on the material.
“Myself, David, Steve, and Joseph are humbled and thrilled at the long-lasting success of the band,” Steve Lukather remarked. “This 40th Anniversary tour is going to be a special one for us and all of the fans that come out. On top of all that, it’s really exciting to be working with Sony Music again. We’ve spent a lot of time this year working on new music and re-mastering the older tracks.”
Few ensembles in the history of recorded music have individually or collectively had a larger imprint on pop culture than the members of TOTO. As individuals, the band members can be heard on an astonishing 5000 albums that together amass a sales history of a half a billion albums. Amongst these recordings, NARAS applauded the performances with more than 200 Grammy nominations.
With close to 40 years together and literally thousands of credits, including the second biggest selling album of all time to Michael Jackson’s Thriller, and accolades to their names, TOTO remains one of the top-selling touring and recording acts in the world. They are the benchmark by which many artists base their sound and production, and they continue to transcend the standards set by the entire music community, being simply synonymous with musical credibility. Their repertoire continues to be current via high profile usage on broadcast television. They are pop culture and are one of the few 70’s bands that have endured the changing trends and styles to a career enjoy a multi-generational worldwide fan base.
The set opens with a newer Toto song”Alone”-quite a surprise on a tour when the band is celebrating their past and history. Quickly followed up by a more familiar song with “Hold the Line”-surprisingly the audience are as eager embracing the new as the old and hit single. Audio quality on this release especially when played on a decent sound system is pristine and crystal clear. Tracks like “Lovers in the Night” (1982)and “Spanish Sea” (2019) are new to my ears. Apparently from both eras of the band. One thing not in dispute is the band’s ability to write an engaging melody.
Its always particularly poignant when Toto play live that they still fully recognise and pay homage to their former band members who have departed this earth. Such it is on this DVD performance as Jeff Porcaro and Mike Porcaro’s contributions to the band’s musical legacy are fondly remembered.
Toto were always hard to define in terms of musical style and this live performance illustrates the various genres that they have dipped into. They have a unique sound which combines elements of pop, rock, soul, funk, prog rock hard rock, R+B in addition to also featuring some blues and jazz elements. The individual musicians are all allowed their chance to shine and also at the same time allow other components to have a breather. Particular interest is the live showpiece by percussion machine Lenny Castro -which the audio mix allows to be heard in all of its sonic glory. Some live concert DVDs create a distance between the viewer and the show. However, I guess due to the quality of the set and strength of material played that is never apparent while viewing this. Maybe because I wanted to attend this tour and was unable to do so that it became more personally engaging to me as a viewer.
No tech enhancements which seem to sadly be commonplace in modern live rock music these days.Despite these musicians having been around several blocks in their “40 Tours around the sun”they still convey a genuine sense of enjoyment at what they do-definitely no going through the motions for these guys. The setlist traverses with songs from almost every album that Toto have released and even a few tracks never before played live. Culminating with The Road Goes On-its quite an apt song to end on as it appears this is definitely true for the band whose star shows no signs of diminishing. No need to quit when they are still on top of their musical game.