Melodic giants Toto finally made it to Belfast after forty years together, for their first ever show in the city on Saturday night (7th April 2018). Playing at the Waterfront Hall, the band mixed all the hits with some of their deepest cuts, for a two hour fifteen minute extravaganza of high-class American rock.
Welcoming attendees to; "Our 40th birthday party", the celebrated act led by guitarist Steve Lukather and keysmen David Paich and Steve Porcaro brought the house down with a virtuosity that revealed a cinematic sound that was equalled only by their stunning light show.
Kicking off with a thrilling 'Alone', it was followed by the single snare drum hit and trilling piano of early classic 'Hold The Line', which raised the roof from the off. Setting the scene for the night to come, the octet went on to reveal exactly why they're some of the most celebrated and in-demand players in music, weaving through four decades of hits, covers, and solos.
Greeting the crowd, lead singer Joseph Williams said; "Belfast, I love it. You guys sound incredible", adding; "It's a pleasure to be here". Blessed with a rich and powerful voice, the front man was none the less left vying for mic space, as his fellow band mates layered on harmonies, and took their own spots at the front.
Easing off in their high-energy performance, the band assembled front of stage, for a nostalgic, laid back trip down memory lane, telling stories and playing snippets from the tracks that built their reputation. Starting with one of their earliest demos ('Miss Sun'), the band made their way through their storied history, with Porcaro revealing that it was after giving his young daughter some advice that he wrote 'Human Nature' - a track that ended up on Michael Jackon's infamous 'Thriller' album.
Stepping up the pace for the final run, Toto made some left-field song choices, with a rare outing for the dramatic 'Desert Theme' from the movie Dune, as well as a moving tribute to George Harrison with 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps'.
It was, of course; "The song you've all been waiting for" that closed the evening on a euphoric high, as band and audience sang 'Africa' in unison. Taking their bows, Lukather concluded; "It's been a great first time, man. You guys made us feel really welcome, thank you".
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Check out our gallery from the show below. All photos by Darren McLoughlin. Click on the image to enlarge.