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Toto

Live In Amsterdam

Review by Greg Olma

I remember hearing Toto's "Hold the Line" on the radio back in the '70s. Here we are 27 years later and Toto are still going strong. This CD is a live celebration of a 25 year career recorded in Amsterdam in 2003. To go over individual performances would be futile as each member is an A-level musician. As a career spanning release, this CD fails, but quite honestly, with a career as long as theirs, they would have to release a 3 disc set. This album is more of a celebration with Toto inviting you along for the ride instead of hitting on each release. They do touch upon most of their albums; some very briefly, other quite extensively. Some of the songs are changed up a bit or played differently. This keeps it interesting for the band but also for us, the listeners. If you have many of the records already, this makes a good addition to your Toto collection. If you are new to Toto (where have you been for 27 years?), then I suggest getting Past and Present 1977-1990 first, then this one.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2006 Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Girl Goodbye
This cut opens up proceeding as part of a medley. It is also the anchor song of the medley. It is a great way to start a show. The song builds almost procession like until all the instruments arrive. Bobby Kimball's sound especially good on this track.

Goodbye Elenore
Only 1:53 is played of this great cut. This is also part of the medley with "Girl Goodbye". It fits well with the others and I can see why the band decided to combine the tracks together.

Child's Anthem
One of the best numbers off of the first Toto release and we only get barely a minute of the tune. I guess it is better to get at least some of the song than none at all.

I'll Supply the Love
Another instrumental ends this medley. I guess this is the kind of thing that keeps the band interested and the fans happy. The band get to change things up and the fans at least get a snippet of the track.

Gift With a Golden Gun
The first full track and it is taken from Turn Back. It is a good version with Steve Lukather and Bobby Kimball really putting in great performances.

While My Guitar Gently Weeps
I have always said that if you can't do something different with a cover song, then don't do it. Steve Lukather takes this George Harrison classic and updates it Toto-style. It has a bit of a jazz sound but Steve really lets rip with the solo. His vocal performance is also good. I generally don't like cover versions but I really liked this performance.

Bodhisattva
This is the only track off of the Through the Looking Glass album. Steve just shows how versatile he is on this track. It's a faster cut and has few different styles of music rolled into one. It has rock parts and jazz parts that mix quite well.

Africa
David Paich finally makes his voice heard. He sings lead on this song and right off the bat you can tell it's a bit different from the studio version. Not only are the vocals a bit altered, but the end of the piece is extended for a little instrumental workout. I don't care for the vocals and if you grew up listening to the studio version, like I did, you will sense that something isn't quite right.
Waiting For Your Love
The smooth jazz of this track starts this medley. Like "Girl Goodbye", this is the anchor song for the medley; clocking in at 6 and a half minutes. Bobby Kimball sings very closely to the original. His voice seems to have aged well. There is also a great piano solo courtesy of David Paich.

Georgy Porgy
Steve Lukather sings this children's rhyme. I remember not liking this song back in the '70's but I don't mind it as much now. Maybe it's because we only get a little over 2 minutes of it.

Hydra
This album doesn't get the respect it should. I guess if you follow it up a few year later with something like VI, then people will forget about it. We are only treated to a short instrumental part in this medley.

Lion
When I mentioned that some albums were just touched upon, this is one of those examples. Isolation is represented with 1 and a half minutes of an instrumental. This is also part of that medley started by "Waiting For Your Love."
English Eyes:
This track at least gets a little over 2 minutes of play. It's part of the medley and again, it's great to hear these tracks but just as you're getting into the tune, it ends. It is performed well but that is a given.
Till The End
Fahrenheit is represented very briefly with a 41 second instrumental part off the lead track. Since Joseph Williams sang on the original, Bobby Kimball didn't want to sing any of his songs. It's a shame because it's a good tune and I would have liked to hear his interpretation.
I Won't Hold You Back
Finally, we get a full song. They play this one a bit different from the studio version. It is more subdued and the vocal harmonies are right on the money. I like this version better than the studio track because it sounds a bit more raw and organic. Toto VI was a slick album and it came very close to being too clinical sounding.
Rosanna
Toto VI makes up the bulk of this CD. I can understand why; it's what the fans want. I just think that a bit more obscure material would have been nice. That being said, this is a good version with a bit of a piano solo (and a bit of "When the Saints Come Marching In") tacked on the end.

Afraid of Love
I don't recall this track having a Van Hagar vibe to it. Steve Lukather shows his rockier side on this track. This is one of the less famous songs off of VI and makes a nice addition to the show.

Hold The Line
No Toto concert would be complete without the song that started it all. They play this one close to the original and it is amazing to hear how well they do it 25 years later. They still have the musical and vocal abilities to pull this kind of song off. Not many bands can say that.
Home of the Brave
David Paich gets to stretch his voice for this one. I haven't heard the original in years but Bobby Kimball sings Joseph William's part well. This is the kind of song that is good to close a show with.
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