Luke is not
a stranger to these shores - thankfully - and this is the second time in
a year or so that he has trod the Robin 2 boards, but there won't be
many times that he comes back with an album as good as 'All's Well That
This is one
of my favourite albums of the year but - just my luck - my favourite
track ('Darkness In My World') played here as a dramatic opener was a
disappointment and as damp as the night air outside.
This was due
to a very poor sound mix which had Luke's guitar buried. It's a pity
because it was arguably one of the better rock tracks on show this
evening and the final denouement of this song is a highlight of the
album, giving Lukather a real chance to shine and the audience the
opportunity for unadulterated wig-out.
moral here is if there is any doubt with the mix, leave one of your best
shots until last when hopefully everything's sorted. But I have to say,
the guitar mix was poor in general and - bizarrely - at times aural
precedence seemed to be given to Steve Weingart's keys.
demonstrated Luke's strengths and weaknesses - and notwithstanding any
sound issues. A seasoned sessioner, he is now only just escaping from
the formulaic behemoth that was Toto and there were only brief nods to
that band in the acoustic 'Out Of Love' and 'The Road Goes On'.
his fusion colours were evident, never more so than on the surprise '68'
a recent track on which he's collaborated with Lee Ritenour. And whilst
Luke's penchant for Steely Dan is genuine (as evidenced in the choice of
interlude music and 'On My Way Home' from the new album) it is pastiche rather than his own music.
supporters probably split between hardcore Toto fans (who might be
disappointed), informed guitar nerds (who might be frustrated with that
mix) and lovers of jazz fusion (who might be satiated). After a glorious
mid-set 'Song For Jeff' (from 'Candyman') the gig gave way to some
fusion flavours and lost momentum after a somewhat uneventful drum solo.
Essentially Luke brought a bit of Montreux to the Midlands.
got back on track with the urgency of 'Can't Look Back' - another standout cut from the
new album - it was really too late: it was the last song of the set.
That Ends Well' is arguably the best album of his solo career and easily
the most consistent. The others can be patchy although the nuggets
really shine - like 'Extinction Blues' from 1994's 'Candyman' and the
title track from his last album 'Ever Changing Times' (both played
But in terms
of his solo career, he really needs to build on the strength of his
latest album which has an essentially straight-ahead
rock/blues-orientated approach and a glorious momentum. And whilst
we can read a lot in to the new song titles, it seems Luke has a new
lease of life - 'Don't Say It's Over' (a glaring omission tonight although referenced in 'Song For Jeff') is a
good enough descriptor for interesting times to come.
In My World 2. Always Be There for Me 3. Extinction Blues 4. On My Way
Home 5. 68 6. Brodie's 7. Ever Changing Times 8. Song for Jeff 9.
Tumescent 10. Out of Love 11. Tears of My Own Shame / Little Wing
12. Can't Look Back 13. Encore 1: Flash in the Pan Encore 2: The Road