(DTE Music Theatre, Clarkston, MI – July 22nd, ’02)
Trust me when I tell you that tonight didn’t have the best of omens attached to it from the very beginning ! Firstly, opening act The Tubes decided at the very last moment to abort their appearance as openers for the show, leaving the 80s showstoppers short of a warm-up act. Mind you, this was probably brought about by the fact that the weather channel had forecast a monsoon-style, lightening-infested downpour of the highest caliber for the night ! Obviously not willing to put themselves in the forefront of impending trouble, The Tubes were hastily replaced by a local policeman and his brand of comedy … which he had lovingly stolen from ‘Delirious,’ the great Eddie Murphy concert tape !
But, all that aside, Toto stood their collective ground and came out guns blazing to rapturous applause from the severely wet and noticeably small crowd all huddled underneath the pavilion covering – whether they had pavilion tickets or not ! Culling straight from early albums, Bobby Kimball’s easily recognizable vocal tones were immediately on form and raring to go which was a pleasure for all true fans of the band ! (If you weren’t aware, Kimball had quit the band back fifteen years ago and has only just come back to the fold to take lead once again !)
Guitar supreme Steve Lukather was, as usual, at his finest, even though his dress appearance was obviously grating on him. He soon mentioned that the airline shad lost his luggage and that the T-shirt he wore was actually a stage hands for that night ! He then hoped that no one was gonna get offended by it, but then added he didn’t give a f**k if they were anyway ! (The T-shirt had a drawing of a headless matchstick man with the words ‘Need Head’ emblazoned below !) Careening musically ever onwards, the set wasn’t that long, but came packed with both classic instrument-laden tunes and their four top ten singles. From Toto IV came the beautiful balladish ’I Won’t Hold You Back,’ and the hit singles ’Africa’ and ’Rosanna’, and from their self-titled album came the rock-along tune, ’Hold The Line’.
Imbedded lovingly in-between was a new track from their forthcoming 2003 offering of covers, the Bob Marley and the Wailers track ’Could You Be Loved’, which was really an oddity all of it’s own making. As much as it sounded fantastic, it didn’t change it in any way and didn’t really fit the bands image on bit. This was then followed by a cover of Eric Burden and the Animals’ ’House of the Rising Sun’ which although was more fitting to their sound, still came across as a weird set list choice for the night.
Ending the set with the aforementioned ’Hold The Line’, the boys from Los Angeles bid there fond farewell, before coming back to guff around a bit on some Jimi Hendrix-type track and such fare. By now the rain-soaked crowd had diminished greatly and the evening was pronounced over, but not before most mouths could agree that Toto still knew how to rock, but that their ‘karaoke cover songs’ should have stayed well hidden !
Reviewed by Russell A. Trunk