It can sometimes feel like you’re taking a risk seeing a top band from “back-in-the-day”. You know a few of their hits, and love them. You can’t wait to hear them live, but you’re wondering – can they still deliver the goods?

Toto not only delivered, but did a whole lot more at The Hordern Pavilion in Sydney on Thursday 3 January.

Toto Live in Sydney
Toto, performing live at Sydney’s Hordern Pavillion, January 2019 (Photo: Mikki Gomez)

There was something for everyone – with newer fans strumming air guitars and singing loudly along to some of their big hits ‘Hold the Line’ and ‘Rosanna’; and die-hards just impressed with everything that came their way.

The band proved their worth as top musicians, extending their crowd pleasers with epic solos from founding members Steve Lukather (guitar) and Steve Porcaro (keyboard).

Steve Porcaro on keys at Toto’s Sydney show – January 2019 (Photo: Mikki Gomez)

The equally talented Dominique “Xavier” Taplin (in place of David Paich) was a wizard on synth, giving Toto a hint of Gershwin weaving in “Rhapsody in Blue” to one of his solos.

Warren Ham proved his versatility, seamlessly jumping between backing vocals, flute, sax and harmonica. Toto regular Lenny Castro (percussion) – such energy! – drummed away all night long on those congas with almost no reprieve, and still had air left to join in on hilarious call-and-response vocals between himself and lead singer Joseph Williams.

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Toto's Steve Lukarther and Warren Ham, Sydney 2019
Steve Lukather (L) and Warren Ham (R) in Toto’s Sydney show – January 2019 (Photo: Mikki Gomez)

Of course, it wouldn’t be complete without ‘Africa’, which they played on for a glorious 12 minutes – the crowd joining in on the fun in full voice.

The only setback of the night was a short interlude of some of their favourite songs (from Toto albums, and other pieces from their extensive careers outside the band). With only a single verse and chorus on most of this set, put simply – they left me wanting more.

It really isn’t a bad thing however; Lukather did mention he wished they could play everything they’ve ever done, but that it would be close to a nine-hour show…

Toto, live at the Hordern Pavillion - January 2019
Steve Lukather (L) and Joseph Williams (C) and Shem von Schroeck (R) of Toto, performing in Sydney (Photo: Mikki Gomez)

All in all, Toto proved to be the supergroup they really are. While known collectively for their big hits and signature synth lines, they have such extensive careers outside of the band.

Lukather was a big contributor to Michael Jackson’s top hits. Porcaro also wrote Michael Jackson’s ‘Human Nature’. Taplin played for Prince, and bass player Shem von Schroeck is Kenny Loggins’ music director.

Ham plays with Lukather and other Toto regulars in Ringo Star’s All Star Band, and Williams is the son of composer John Williams (it runs in the family). He was also the singing voice for adult Simba in Disney’s ‘The Lion King’.

Needless to say, they bring their epic skills and talent together and shine as Toto, and we’re forever grateful for it.

Toto jammed on in Melbourne on Friday 4 January and at Falls Festival on 6 January.

Word of advice: If you missed them this time, make sure you don’t next time they’re in town.

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