Carry On at the NJPAC
A Feature Article by Rich and Laura Lynch

Grammy award winning Toto has sold millions of records. As individuals the band member's imprint can be found on over 5000 albums beyond Toto's own impressive catalogue. Their music is a broad blend of blues, funk, jazz, pop, rock and soul. Toto enjoyed its biggest success in the 1970's and 1980's with such hits as "Africa", "Hold the Line" and "Rosanna". Toto has seen their fair share of changes but they are carrying on - still well respected in 2015 as a top touring act many years after their formation in 1977.

TOTO at the NJPAC in Newark - August 2015.

The progressive rock band Yes has always been about perpetual change. Their compositions are full of complex transitions paired with numerous personal changes in their four plus decade career. Perhaps it was not surprising that in May of 2015 when bassist/founder Chris Squire was diagnosed with leukemia he reached out to former Yes member Billy Sherwood to step in. Thus, the scheduled Yes/Toto tour could continue. Prior to Mr. Squire's death on (June 2015) he had contacted drummer Allan White asking him to keep everything going. For Chris it was important that Yes carry on and that is what the group did on August 8, 2015 at the prestigious New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) in Newark, New Jersey. Both bands played approximately an hour and a half on Saturday night.

TOTO at the NJPAC in Newark - August 2015.

On this co-headlining tour Toto took the stage first opening with lights, smoke and a rocking version of "Running Out of Time". "I'll Supply the Love" was electrifying and engaging with one of what would be many sizzling guitar solos from Steve "Luke" Lukather. "Hydra" started off with subtle keys before a wave of sounds hit the audience. This was a heavy, hearty jam with two drummers, two keyboardists, two backing vocalists all supporting the core of Toto. The nine-piece unit presented a power pack set with plenty of hits.

TOTO at the NJPAC in Newark - August 2015.

"What's up New Jersey? Great to tour with serious heroes of ours," said singer Joseph Williams. He dedicated the show to departed members from both Toto and Yes. "Old song - so much fun," was a fine lead into the fan favorite "Never Enough". Different instruments and vocals enhanced the dynamics of this catchy yet complex tune. "Hold The Line" was another expanded crowd pleaser. Toto got funky with "Georgy Porgy".

TOTO at the NJPAC in Newark - August 2015.

David Paich's layered piano solo set the tone for a lavish "Great Expectations" and a potent "Pamela". Both songs showcased Toto's masterful musicianship and song craft. Their momentum kept building with a moving "Without Your Love" that morphed into Jimi Hendrix's "Little Wing" featuring another soaring solo from Lukather.

TOTO at the NJPAC in Newark - August 2015.

Powerful percussion set the pace for "On the Run". A track filled with twists and turns as was a newer song called "Orphan". Vocals were a big part of this catchy yet compelling tune. Toto closed the set with a riveting "Rosanna" and an animated "Africa". Toto presented a polished career spanning set that included contemporary as well as classic songs that ran the range from pop to progressive.

TOTO at the NJPAC in Newark - August 2015.

Opened in 1997, the NJPAC is one of the largest performing arts centers in the US. This beautiful theater is paneled in wood for optimum acoustics. In addition to hosting concerts such as Yes/Toto the NJPAC supports dance, music, poetry, theater and more within the community. The NJPAC is part of the on-going revitalization that is taking place in the city of Newark.

TOTO at the NJPAC in Newark - August 2015.

SETLIST: Running Out of Time | I'll Supply the Love | Hydra | Never Enough | Hold the Line | Georgy Porgy | Keyboard Solo (David Paich) | Great Expectations | Pamela | Without Your Love (>) Little Wing (The Jimi Hendrix Experience cover) | On the Run / Goodbye Elenore | Orphan | Rosanna | Africa

Related Links: For more information on TOTO and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links -- TOTO | YES | NJPAC | YES at the NJPAC

(Originally Published on August 11, 2015)




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