Journey and Toto at the Crypto.com Arena

Journey and Toto (Joseph Williams/ Steve Lukather) played the Crypto.com Arena (Formerly Staples) April 5th. The show originally was scheduled to have Billy Idol as the opener. However due to a staph infection Idol had to cancel all dates and Toto is taking over for all his shows in addition to the ones they had already been scheduled for with Journey. Before this tour began Toto and Journey had both gone through lineup changes which had happened a number of times in each group's history. Drummer Steve Smith and bassist Ross Valory had departed Journey and were replaced with Deen Castronovo, their drummer from 1998-2015 and Todd Jensen (David Lee Roth). However between Valory and Jensen Randy Jackson, (American Idol) rejoined the band briefly as well as Narada Michael Walden (Jeff Beck). Both bands are from CA. Journey formed in San Francisco and Toto in Los Angeles.

Toto reunited in 2010 and until 2020 had several different changes. Co-founder David Paich retired from touring in 2018 for the second time (first 2005), and in 2019 keyboardist Steve Porcaro another founding member parted ways with the group. During the COVID-19 pandemic co-founder Steve Lukather (Guitar/Backing and Lead Vocals) and Joseph Williams the group’s singer from 1986-88 and again since 2010 started a new group with Warren Ham already a touring member and also a member of Ringo Starr's All Star Band with Lukather, Dominique 'Xavier' Taplin (Prince) who took over for Paich, keyboardist Steve Maggiora bassist John Pierce (Huey Lewis) and drummer Robert 'Sput' Searight (Snarky Puppy). Paich remains as the group’s musical director and joins in occasionally which he did in Sacramento April 1st. The new band made their debut virtually in November, 2020 with a live-stream concert which Paich was part of. Toto's last tour to include Lukather, Williams, Paich, and Porcaro was the band 40 Trips Around the Sun tour commemorating the groups 40th anniversary which ended in 2019.

Toto formed in 1977 and the members met at Grant High School in Los Angeles, CA. The band was originally Lukather, Paich, Steve & Jeff Porcaro (Drums), Bobby Kimball (Lead Vocals), and David Hungate (Bass). This lineup released four albums together including their biggest selling album Toto IV. Williams sang on  Fahrenheit (1986)  and The Seventh One (1988). From 1992-98 Toto was a four piece of Lukather, Paich, Mike and Jeff Porcaro, with Steve Porcaro still a session member with the group. In 1998 Kimball would return as the band’s vocalist until 2008. After just over 30 years together the band broke up. Just two years later Toto reunited to raise money for bassist Mike Porcaro (1982-2007) who was fighting ALS. The lineup was Lukather, Paich, Williams, Steve Porcaro, Simon Phillips who became the drummer after Jeff Porcaro’s passing in 1992, and Eric Clapton bassist Nathan East. Just three years later the band toured in celebration of their 35th anniversary which included a live DVD in Poland. Within two years of that tour former vocalist Fergie Frederiksen (1984-1985) who was the band’s singer between Kimball and Williams passed as well as Mike Porcaro. Also, Phillips had left the group after 22 years. The band recruited Steely Dan drummer Keith Carlock for their album Toto XIV, the first to include Williams since 1988 as well as a Japan tour. Carlock was unable to tour the U.S. due to commitments with Steely Dan so former Michael McDonald drummer Shannon Forrest took over. Hungate came back to the group for the first time in 32 years for the band’s co-headline tour with Michael McDonald, which was the group’s biggest U.S. tour in over a decade. After Hungate retired from touring again, session legend Lee Sklar returned to the group who had filled in for Mike Porcaro 2007-2008 for the band’s tour with YES. Also in 2015 Lenny Castro, the group’s touring percussionist in the 80’s who's also played on all of the band’s albums returned. From 2017-2018 the band was Lukather, Williams, Paich, Porcaro, Forrest, Castro, bassist Shem von Schroek, and Xavier. The group’s final touring lineup was the same except Paich during the second leg of the 40 Trips Around the Sun tour. In 2018 Toto released Old Is New including unreleased songs that Jeff and Mike Porcaro both recorded on. This would be the final album including all the classic and original members except Kimball. On October 19th, 2020 Lukather and Williams announced the new group and tour titled Dogz Of Oz which had been scheduled for 2021 but did not happen because of the Covid-19 Pandemic. However last year Toto put out their eighth live album Help From My Friends including the current members which comes from their 2020 virtual performance.

Although the setlist was 10 songs, and Toto has more albums than that, they did cover their 45 year history with new and classic songs. Toto opened with “Orphan” which comes from Toto XIV. This was followed by “Hold the Line,” the band’s first single coming from their self-titled debut album. The nine songs (one cover) came from six different albums which were their debut, Hydra, Fahrenheit, Toto IV, The Seventh One, Toto XIV. The set included songs originally sung by Paich, Lukather, Williams, and Kimball. April 8th marked the 40th anniversary of Toto IV containing two of their biggest hits “Rosanna” and “Africa,” the last two songs of the show. The band won six Grammys for that album which went 3x Platinum, and hit number four on the Billboard 200. After “I Won’t Hold You Back,” a Lukather lead vocal song, he announced a special guest by saying “We’ve got a little special surprise for you all tonight,” followed by “The guy who started this band with brother Jeffrey [Porcaro], the guy who’s taught me everything I know, has come out of a little hiatus to come jam with us tonight.” It was none other than David Paich who would perform the next four songs starting with his song “Home of the Brave,” the last song from The Seventh One and was the closing song on their last tour.

Next came a song that Lukather and Ham perform every night while out with Ringo Starr which is “With A Little Help From My Friends” featuring different lead vocals. To close out the show Toto performed “Rosanna” which Lukather sings lead on, followed by “Africa,” which Paich sings lead on. The new band sounded amazing and are a perfect fit to continue the band’s incredible legacy which has included some of the greatest studio musicians of all time. Outside of Toto back in the 80’s they were in demand session musicians recording with Don Henley, Michael Jackson, Boz Scaggs, Michael McDonald, and countless other legends.

After a stage change-over Journey took the stage. There’s just something magical about Journey each time they step onstage. Journey formed in 1973 starting with former Santana member Neal Schon (Guitar), bassist Ross Valory, rhythm guitarist George Tickner and drummer Prairie Prince who was replaced shortly after with Frank Zappa and The Mothers’ Aynsley Dunbar. Original Santana keyboardist/lead vocalist Greg Rolie joined within a few months. This lineup released the band’s debut album in 1975 and the same lineup excluding Tickner released the next two albums “Look Into the Future” and “Next.” Singer Robert Fleischman was added to the lineup in 1977 and would soon be replaced by Steve Perry and the group recorded Infinity. After Dunbar departed Steve Smith replaced him, this line up released four albums together. Captured (1981) would be the last album to feature this lineup as Rolie departed and Jonathan Cain joined the group, the second longest serving member in the group’s history still in the group. The next five years would be Journey’s most commercially successful lineup of Perry, Schon, Valory, Smith, and Cain. This lineup released the biggest selling Journey album Escape which had four Billboard Hot 100 singles and was number one on the Billboard 200. Escape even got its own Atari game. This is their second best-selling album overall following Greatest Hits (1988). First Valory left then Smith. The next album Raised On the Radio would be the first without Valory, however Smith did several tracks on it. The tour included Randy Jackson who took over for Valory and Mike Baird on drums. Between Frontiers and Raised on the Radio, Perry released his first solo album. Before the group took an eight year hiatus Perry, Schon, and Cain were the only official members. The classic lineup would return for Trial By Fire (1996). In 1998, Perry and Smith both left the group, however Perry never performed with the group again, and Smith would rejoin again in 2015.

In 1998 Steve Augeri became the band’s lead vocalist and Deen Castronovo became the drummer along with Schon, Valory, and Cain. This would be the band’s lineup for nearly a decade and there were four album releases. Jeff Scott Soto had become the group’s next singer for a year until Filipino singer Arnel Pineda joined in 2007. Pineda was discovered by Schon on YouTube for his Journey covers. Vocal-wise Pineda is definitely the closest to Perry and is a great front-man too, not just vocalist. This lineup lasted until 2015 after Castronovo parted ways. Omar Hakim became the touring drummer until Smith rejoined as a permanent member. This lineup remained for the next four years as well as touring keyboardist Travis Thibodaux. By the end of 2019 keyboardist Jason Derlatka replaced Thibodaux. In summer 2020 just three months after the Covid-19 pandemic began Narada Michael Walden replaced Smith and Randy Jackson replaced Valory for the second time. This lineup did a virtual performance of “Don’t Stop Believing.” By summer 2021 Thin Lizzy bassist Marco Mendoza joined the group and Castonovo, however both drummers performed together at Lollapalooza. Journey played another five shows in 2021 before closing out the year the same way they did before the pandemic with a Las Vegas residency but this time at the new Virgin Hotel (formerly Hard Rock) rather than the Colosseum at Caesars Palace where they played in 2019. For these shows only Castronovo played. Journey rung in the New Year playing Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Years Eve. Now in 2022 Journey began their first tour in over two years with Schon, Cain, Pineda, Castronovo, Derlatka, and Jensen who is on tour with the group for the first.

By the time the tour stopped in L.A. there had already been 22 shows starting in February. Journey play and hour 45 minute show consisting of 19 songs. The first song was “Only The Young” which started off with Schon before joining the band. It was surprising to see “Don’t Stop Believin’” be the third song. “Don’t Stop Believin’” has had a big part in pop culture being in the Sopranos finale, Glee, Family Guy, Rock of Ages (Broadway), and the unofficial album for the 2005 Chicago White Sox, and The San Francisco Giants in the 2010 World Series.  The set included all the hits from “Lights” to “Who’s Crying Now,” to “Open Arms.” Cain and Schon each had featured solos and Castronovo sang lead on “Mother, Father. Derlatka sang lead on “Girl Can’t Help it.” “Faithfully” was dedicated by Cain to his daughter Madison and Lukather’s son Trev who will be married in December and mentioned it was a Journey show they first met at. Journey has had some of the world’s greatest drummers, but Castronovo is the only one that also sings and no other drummer moves around like he does. The band was spread out taking over the whole stage with Cain on the left, Schon on the right and Castronovo in the middle. Pineda moved around constantly. When it comes to ballads Journey certainly has many iconic ones. The show ended with “Anyway You Want It.”

In total Journey has released 14 albums with the newest being Freedom, their first album in 11 years. Five of those albums were in the top five with Escape being a number one. Journey has also had over 25 charting singles. In 2017 Journey was finally inducted into the Rock N’ Roll Hall of fame including Perry, Schon, Cain, Rolie, Dunbar, Smith, and Valory. Although Perry did not perform just to see him onstage with his former bandmates was amazing and you could easily hear the audience’s response when he came onstage. All the other members performed together with Pineda. 12 years before that Journey received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Journey has songs on nine film soundtracks including Risky Business, Tron, Armageddon, and my personal favorite Caddyshack when Al Czervik (Rodney Dangerfield) plays it on the golf course. The tour continues through May 11th and Journey has several dates after.

Toto Setlist:

  1. Orphan

  2. Hold the Line

  3. I’ll Be Over You

  4. White Sister

  5. Georgy Porgy

  6. I Won’t Hold You Back

  7. Home of the Brave with David Paich

  8. With a Little Help from My Friends (The Beatles) with David Paich

  9. Rosanna With David Paich

  10. Africa With David Paich


Journey Setlist:

  1. Only the Young

  2. Stone in Love

  3. Don’t Stop Believin’

  4. Lights

  5. Send Her Love

  6. Escape

  7. Dead or Alive

  8. Who's Crying Now

  9. Mother, Father (Castronovo Vocals)

  10. Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin

  11. Jonathan Cain Solo

  12. Open Arms

  13. Faithfully

  14. Girl Can’t Help It (Jason Derlatka Vocals)

  15. Neal Schon Solo

  16. Wheel in the Sky

  17. Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)

  18. Be Good to Yourself

  19. Anyway You Want It