Gig Of The Week: Toto
WHERE: London HMV Hammersmith Apollo
WHEN: Sunday, June 26
The great melodic rock heroes, who are on the cover of the second issue of Classic Rock Presents AOR, play a one-off show in the UK, and guitarist/vocalist Steve Lukather is promising a diverse set.
“We have to do the biggest hits as per our contract. However, we are doing a lot of classic album cuts from all eras. We have around 17 albums out, so we can’t do them all, but as Joseph Williams (vocals) is back we will feature him, as well as some Steve Porcaro tunes that we never did live as he is back (on keyboards and vocals), and some surprises.
“I think people will dig our set list. Everyone gets to shine, and we are staying rather true to our original recordings with the live twists and not re-writing them, like we have in the past.”
Joining Lukather, Porcaro and Williams are David Paich (keyboards/vocals), Mike Porcaro (bass) and Simon Phillips (drums).
The band have been saying for a while that one of the shows on this brief European tour will be filmed and recorded for a live release. But, says Lukather, it won’t be the London gig:
“No, the last show in Verona Italy at a castle with 10,000 people will be recorded and filmed for a DVD that will be released in 2012.”
One thing that Lukather’s noticed is that the band are picking up a younger audience, as well as retaining their long-term following. And he’s delighted.
“You know I have even seen this in my solo tours too. I am very happy about it. A lot of real young people that have found us And me and know the lyrics to every song. I would say there is a resurgence in this style of music. Our whole catalogue is selling again.
“Gotta love my pals in Journey for stirring our era up for the younger kids and new ears, plus we have toured a lot in Europe over the years and thankfully have such a wonderful and loyal audience and now their kids are coming. There is not that stigma that old music critics put on us as the internet makes everyone a critic for better or worse and after 35 years we are getting a little love from others outside our long time ‘friends’ ( I hate the word fan). We are deeply thankful and honoured.”
While many see Toto as pioneers, even inventors, of AOR, the celebrated guitarist is a little reluctant to take such credit.
“That was put upon us by someone else. I don’t think it is possible to invent a style. I don’t even understand what AOR really means as it has been described by many different people in different ways.
“I will tell you this: we sounded basically the same in 1973-74 in high school but as we got older we refined it. We never spoke about it. It is the sound we make when we play together without thought or pre conceived notions. I understood that AOR is reviled by mainstream ‘hipster’ press, but yet we all sell more tickets and records than most of the critic darlings.
“I have no issue with punk. I ‘get’ what they try to do. I mean you can’t be a 50+ year old punk. That is just sad, but we can play our music cause it is not a look or posturing, it’s music people grew up listening to for the last 35 years whether they liked it or not.
“What was funny was ‘corporate rock”. I mean anyone who signed to a label and sold 20 records was corporate and a sell out. What the fuck is that? Please take what I write with a smile as I do not mean to be an asshole or think we are so great or anything. Quite the opposite. But we have paid a few dues and Toto as individuals have played on, and been a part of, more records of famous artists than anyone is history. We are not , nor have we ever been, your typical ‘band’. We took our punches and got up and said, ‘Thank you may I have another?’, and we do laugh at ourselves, believe me.
“Thanks to those that like us, and sorry to those that don’t. I am having the time of my life (we all are), so either way, we win and we are thankful for it all.”
And it appears that Toto and Lukather will be incredibly busy in the coming months.
“Toto will be touring Europe, Japan and South America. And I also tour solo as well behind my new solo record All’s Well That Ends Well. I think the album title says it all.”
Find out more at http://www.toto99.com/