Celebrated Los Angeles hit makers Toto brought their 40 Trips Around the Sun tour to Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix Sept. 21 and wowed the crowd with a two-hour set of their prog rock-meets-power pop brand of rock 'n' roll. The house was packed, the Celebrity's famed circular stage was rotating, and the sparks were flying as the band kicked off the show with the long lost track "Devil's Tower." "Devil's Tower" was recorded for 1982's Toto IV but didn't make the album and was recently re-recorded for the band's All In box set. Guitarist Steve Lukather and lead singer Joseph Williams took vocal turns on the song and it sounded so good that the guys probably would have had a big hit with it had it of been released back in the day.
Besides Lukather and Williams, the Toto line-up for the evening consisted of longtime keys man Steve Porcaro along with Shem Von Schroeck on bass, Shannon Forrest on drums and additional keys from Dominique "Xavier" Taplin, who was sitting in for an ailing David Paich. Augmenting the core line-up were two of L.A.'s hottest session players; percussionist Lenny Castro and saxophone player Warren Ham. The crowd rose to their feet for the first of many times when Toto played "Hold the Line" early in the set; also performed in the first half of the show were "Lovers in the Night," "I Will Remember," "English Eyes," smash hit "Rosanna" and "Jake to the Bone," a jazzy instrumental that, while showcasing Lukather's guitar work, also gave the entire band a chance to stretch out.
The band did not take an intermission and the second half of the show was ushered in with a take on "Georgy Porgy" where Lukather switched to acoustic guitar. Before playing the cut that comes from Toto's first album, Lukather told the crowd that it was the first vocal he ever cut for the band. Some in the crowd were probably surprised when the band performed "Human Nature;" while most would associate the song with Michael Jackson, it was written by Toto's Steve Porcaro. Other highlights of the later portion of the show were a stunning piano solo from Taplin, a take on George Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" which was suitably Toto-fied and a playing of the instrumental "Desert Theme" from the soundtrack to the film "Dune." Smash hit "Africa" ended the show and with the audience singing along, the band kept the cut going a little longer than the recorded version. "Home of the Brave" served as the encore.
Other exciting shows coming to Celebrity Theatre include the musical "A Night with Janis Joplin" on Oct. 19, a Nov. 2 show with former members of Oingo Boingo, Lou Gramm of Foreigner with Asia on Nov. 9, a Beatles tribute called 1964 The Tribute on Nov. 15 and another Beatles tribute called It Was Fifty Years Ago Today: A Tribute to the Beatles White Album on Dec. 6; that show will have an incredible lineup helmed by Todd Rundgren and also featuring Christopher Cross, Mickey Dolenz (the Monkees), Jason Scheff (Chicago) and Joey Molland (Badfinger). And bringing the Christmas cheer back to one of his
favorite venues, Brian Setzer will appear with his big orchestra during his 16th annual Christmas Rocks! Tour on Dec. 19.
For a complete list of shows coming to Celebrity Theatre go here
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