Sunday, April 13, 2008

Experiencing Toto for the first and last time

I never really got to blog about the Toto concert, so here's a "quick" one before I go back to prepping for Field Bio :D

The show started without a front act at around 8:45 p.m. I was starstruck to finally see Steve Lukather in the flesh. During my re-discovery of Toto weeks prior to the gig, I developed a crush on Luke, never minding that he's old enough to be my dad :P

Seeing Luke and the rest of the band give their all on that stage was really awesome; but it was a constant thorn in my side for the rest of the night to see the lukewarm response of the crowd whenever Toto rocked it out. The most responsive the audience got was when Toto played the ballads, though there were enough sincere cheers and applause when Luke or other members would do their solos.

Reading comments on YouTube and on certain forums, I gathered that indeed the general Filipino audience was disappointed by the gig. Most people were looking forward to the ballads - "I'll Be Over You", "I Won't Hold You Back", "Lea", etc. These songs were played, but only as part of an acoustic medley. During that medley, someone in the audience actually shouted "Lugi!" And it really made me sad that this was how the gig was proceeding - the band's vision and the audience's expectations weren't a match at all. But what I really cared about was how the band was reacting to this scenario - it worried me that they weren't having fun.

They started out really hyper. Greg, their keyboardist, was jumping up and down amidst his 4 keyboards, coaxing the audience to get on their feet, yet the audience remained stuck to their seats. Towards the later part of the gig, I didn't see the same level of enthusiasm they portrayed in their live DVDs; it was obvious that they couldn't feed much from the energy of the audience, which I believe is an important thing for bands.

The general sentiment from the comments I've read is that Toto doesn't know how to play their old songs anymore, that they were just showing off with their new stuff and with their solos, etc. But I think Toto did try to give it all to the Pinoys that night - the mere fact that "Lea" and "99" made it to the playlist indicated that they were made aware (via their Cebu gig the day before) that the Pinoys wanted the ballads. You see, "Lea" was also requested the last time they were here (in 1994?), and the band obliged with just the chorus, saying that they haven't played that tune in 10 years. Also, "99" is allegedly Luke's least favorite Toto song, and it never makes the playlists anymore. And, "I Won't Hold You Back" and "Georgy Porgy" aren't part of their setlists in other legs of this tour, yet they included parts of it in their Manila performance. I also watched the vidclips I took of the gig, and I caught Luke saying that they'll be jamming a bit, because "weren't really counting on this", referring to the Pinoy's penchant for their slow songs - thus the "totally unrehearsed" medley of the ballads we oh-so-wanted.

So I guess for those who felt "bitin" after the medley should actually be glad they even got to hear parts of the songs that the band never meant to play in the first place.

As for me, I was just glad to see and hear Luke sing the first half of "I'll Be Over You". Oh and yeah, it's funny because the only other person I knew in the audience, besides my companions Menggai and Dave, was the reason I got to like "I'll Be Over You" in the first place :P

A day after the gig, I felt sad that the show was over. After weeks of looking forward to the gig, now I was dealing with the fact that I'll never get to see them play again; I've read in a forum that the manager mentioned that this was their last tour (not that I wasn't expecting that though - they've got senior citizens in the band already! :P) Also, I was still bothered that most of the audience (and maybe the band) didn't enjoy the gig, which in effect kinda took away some of my enjoyment as well (nagpaapekto ba, hehe).

But this made me happy - excerpts of goff's post at I don't personally know goff; I just came across this thread and saw that this person was a friend of Toto's manager:

Coincidentally, did you know that a Filipino now manages Toto? He is none other than Sonny Abelardo. Sonny is the grandson of Nicanor Abelardo of UP Abelardo Hall fame and his name is really Nicanor Abelardo lll.

...He pala is producing and managing Toto and is Luke's manager on Sonny's new label Ride Records. Sonny has been in production for the last 20 plus years with the likes of Miles Davis, The Crusaders, Al Jarreau.

...During dinner Sonny and I talked much about his plans for Steve Lukather. The new album is out along with a real cool video for the song Ever Changing Times under Ride Records. He plans to bring Steve here as a solo artist for this album sometime this year if things can be arranged. Along with the CD is a DVD of the video and a behind-the-scenes in the studio featuring Steve and the musicians on the new CD.

Anyways, I'm hoping even just for a small venue Luke gig, if that would be feasible for them. Anything to see Steve Lukather live again.

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Songs I remember at random from their setlist: Medley: I'll Be Over You, Won't Hold You Back, Lea, 99, Georgy Porgy; Gypsy Train (opening song), Hold the Line (2nd to the last song), Africa (encore), Rosanna (with a cool jazzy intro), Hydra (keys and drums solo), Falling in Between, Bottom of My Soul, Pamela, I'll Supply the Love, Stop Loving You (with Tony Spinner on vocals). I think there were others but I don't know their titles.


jem said...

may pics ka ni leland sklar? YON ang matanda na hehe

- d a c s - said...

Actually, Lee and Bobby Kimball are of the same age...but Sklar has the uber cool Santa beard and spectacles :P I posted the Toto gig pics at my Multiply (