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TOTO Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London
18 Feb 2003

The last time I saw Toto was back on the ‘Past to Present’ tour when they had that frankly, useless twat Joseph Le Byron ruining the vocals and prancing around with a big stick all night! So I was very excited to say the least to see Toto with Bobby Kimball back in the band. It was a sell out crowd and they were noisy before the band even took to the stage. Opening with a medley that included ‘Goodbye Eleanor’, ‘Child’s Anthem’ and ‘I’ll Supply the Love’ it was evident the band and audience were well up for a great night of live music.

Highlights were many - the acoustic set by Steve Luthaker, which just proves what a top guitarist he is and master of many styles of playing. Show stopper ‘Africa’, which still sounds great all these years on and a rollicking version of ‘English Eyes’. Even my least favourate Toto song ‘Georgy Porgy’ sounded okay tonight and the band teased the crowd with an instrumental snippet of ‘Lion’. Second guitarist Steve Tapper (?) took lead vocals for a storming version of ‘Can’t Stop Loving You’. ‘Rosanna’ and ‘Hold The Line’ were also belted out, with the crowd taking over on ‘Hold the Line’. The band are so tight musically and the sheer class on display is pretty awesome from the drumming of Simon Philips to the rock steady bass of Mike Porcaro, not forgetting the keyboards of David Paich (‘The Godfather’ as Steve Luthaker called him!), Steve Luthaker’s guitar wizardry and of course the vocals of Bobby Kimball. He has lost none of his vocal power over the years.

Encores came in the shape of ‘Home of the Brave’ and ‘White Sister’, both of which went down a treat with the audience.

Only criticism was the bass sound that was drowning out much of the music at one stage, taking on Manowar like proportions and loudness! A great show by a legendary and talented band - come back soon!

Text © 2003 Jason Ritchie

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