TOTO played the Pacific Amphitheater at the OC Fair Aug. 8 as part of their 40 Trips Around the Sun tour which marks the band's 40th anniversary. For this evening, Asia Featuring John Payne (AFJP) opened the show. Payne became a member of Asia when founding member John Wetton departed in 1991 and for 25 years served as the groups bassist and lead vocalist through various lineup changes. The only other consistent member of Asia was keyboardist Geoff Downes who was a founding member. In 2006 Payne formed his own version of Asia when the original lineup reunited. AFJP played a five-song setlist of classic from Asia’s first album as well as “Who Will Stop the Rain” from Aqua which was the first album Payne recorded with Asia.
After a two-year hiatus between 2008-2010, the reunited TOTO consisted of founding members Steve Lukather (Guitar/Vocals), David Paich (Keys/Vocals), Steve Porcaro (Keys/Vocals), their second lead vocalist Joseph Williams, drummer Simon Phillips who joined the band after Jeff Porcaro’s death in 1992, and legendary bassist Nathan East who took over for Mike Porcaro after losing his ability to play from ALS. In the last eight years, TOTO has been touring the U.S. more frequently as well as playing larger venues than they were prior to breaking up.
Due to the venue’s strict curfew, the band had to cut a few songs from their setlist, but nevertheless, TOTO put on a great show. When TOTO celebrates a milestone, the band typically plays songs from nearly every album they’ve released, as well pulling a few songs out that haven’t been played since the band toured for the album the song was released on. Rather than saving all their big hits for the encore, TOTO spaces them out throughout the show.
TOTO opened with their first single released this year “Alone,” which is the first song of Greatest Hits: 40 Trips Around the Sun. TOTO played a setlist of songs that make up most of their new release, with a few that don’t appear on it. Following their new single was their first single “Hold the Line.” A few throwbacks that haven’t been played in years included “Lovers in the Night,” the instrumental “Jake to the Bone,” which was played in its entirety, and “Lea.” TOTO played another major hit right in the middle of the set, “Rosanna,” which was 1983’s Grammy Record of the Year. Lukather sang lead back to back with “Rosanna,” and “Georgy Porgy.”
TOTO played three covers in the set, with the first being Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature.” TOTO also pulled out another older song from their catalog, “Lion,” which was originally sung by Fergie Frederiksen. TOTO played another cover with “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” which they recorded on their cover album Through the Looking Glass. Even with the curfew, TOTO managed to play the extended version of “Africa,” which they do in live shows and one-song encores.
In recent months TOTO and Weezer’s names have been coming up together as Weezer covered “Africa” per a fan’s request on Twitter. So to return the favor, TOTO has been performing Weezer's “Hashpipe” on this tour and Lukather joked that “the band was smoking hash before they were born.” Just two days after the show, TOTO’s studio version of “Hashpipe” was released.
TOTO has U.S. dates throughout mid-November with this part of the tour ending August 25 in Northfield, OH then resuming on October 25 in Greeneville, TN.