The Metal Files

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Posts Tagged ‘toto

Yes & Toto Concert Review, San Antonio, TX, Ausgust 26, 2015

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IMG_0595useLast night was filled with a bunch of bad ass musicians playing great rock and progressive music.  I could end the review right there, but we’ll keep going.  I scored the VIP/meet and greet when it was first announced because I’ve always wanted to meet Chris Squire and Steve Howe.  Unfortunately shortly after I got my ticket, Chris announced he wasn’t doing the tour due to health issues and subsequently died.  Terrible.

Since they didn’t offer a refund and the pass was non transferable, I went through with the show.

Toto was the opener and while I respect them and love their hits, I’m not a huge fan.  Having never seen them before, I was a bit excited to see them.  Toto is a band, like Yes, who has seen some real loss.  RIP Porcaro brothers.  A big plus is having Steve Lukather in the band.  I was tempted to buy their meet and great instead of Yes’ just to have Lukather sign my Alice Cooper From The Inside CD.

Toto’s set started promptly at 7:30 consisted of their biggest hits Hold the Line, Rosanna, Pamela and Africa.  I was pretty much lost on the rest of their set, although they sounded amazing.  I was impressed with Steve Porcaro’s vocals more than anything.  His range is still amazing.  Lukather’s vocals sounded good, too.  His playing was solid.  His solo at the end of Little Wing was pretty amazing.

One thing that was really cool was that they had the legendary Lenny Castro on percussion.  What a treat!

The whole band sounded great and they had their original bassist back in the band as well.  David Paich only sang Africa, and he was having some issues.  I don’t think it’s an easy song for anyone to sing in general.  They were good but I doubt I’d go out of my way to see them again unless they were part of another great bill like last night’s.  The played a full 90 minute set and I was really hoping to hear 99 and Georgy Porgy, but oh well.

After a 30 minute changeover, Yes came on at exactly 9PM with a tribute video to Chris Squire with his signature Rickenbacker bass lit up in the middle of the stage.

They opened with Don’t Kill the Whale and followed up with Tempus Fugit from the Drama album, probably my favorite album by them.  They went through America and Time and a Word, which I had never seen them do.  It sounded great.  Jon Davison does a great job on lead vocals.  Billy Sherwood is handling bass duties and holds his own, but there’s only one Squire.  The band is certainly older and a bit slower, but they sounded great.  I love watching Steve Howe’s facial expressions and cues making sure that Alan White was ready for a break or whatever.  Just like last time, it’s obvious that Alan has lost a few steps in his delivery, but he still played fine.

Seeing Steve play Owner of a Lonely Heart was quite weird.  You could see that he didn’t care for it.  They extend the end, though, and he gets to rock out with his own solo which was quite awesome.  The whole show was except for the drunk girl next to me.  We were on the front row.  She and her boyfriend showed up with 2 songs left with Toto and she had a purse full of airport liquor bottles of vodka.  Towards the end of Yes’ set, she was wasted and kept flipping off the band while they were playing complaining that they should be closer to her near the end of the stage.  She looked over at me during the encore, Starship Trooper, and said, “Sorry.  Am I bothering you?”  I looked at her and her boyfriend, shook my head and just said, “You’re an idiot.”  After the band finally walked off stage she turned to me again and said, “You should add me on Facebook.”  I just said, “Not interested.”

They stumbled out and we went side stage for the meet and greet.  I was shocked that they had about 70 people.  Tour manager rambled off some procedural stuff and a few rules about how you can shake hands with anybody except Steve Howe.  “No hand shakes, fist bumps, hugs, pats on the back etc.”  I asked of we were at least allowed to look him in the eye and he and the crowd laughed.

They were cycling everyone through the line twice.  First time for your picture with the band and the second to get stuff signed, 2 items only.  As I got in front of them for the photo, Geoff Downes says, “Cool jacket, but I don’t know any of those bands except for Judas Priest.”  Jon Davison stated that he loves their metalhead fans.

I was near the end of the line and when we got to the signing part, I was going to have them signed the poster given to us as part of the VIP swag and have Howe, Downes and White sign my Drama CD.  All of the guys were very laid back and signed the poster.  Everyone got to spend a few moments at the table.  When I got to the 3 that were on Drama, I mentioned to Steve and Geoff that I had seen their Asia reunion show a few years back and that I had the CD cover with me.  Steve said, “That was a fun tour.  Where’s the cover?”  I mentioned the 2 item limit and he smiled and just said, “I’m running this show right now, let me have it.”  haha.  Sweet!  I finally got in my truck at 12:15AM for the 75 mile drive home.

I liked how the show was set up with two bands both playing full 90 minute sets.  If Yes comes around again, I’ll go for sure.

Written by The Metal Files

August 27, 2015 at 8:01 pm

How You Gonna See Me Now

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One of my older brothers, Robert, was a pretty big influence on me musically in my pre-teen years.  He was the one who got me into KISS, Priest, RUSH, Uriah Heep, The Stones, The Who and thankfully Alice Cooper.

Now, I’m not the biggest Cooper fan in the world even though I own pretty much everything up to and including Constrictor.  But some of his albums are very special to me…especially From The Inside.  This seems to be one that alot of Cooper fans love to hate.  For me it’s brilliant.  Sure it got slick production and had songwriting credits from Bernie Taupin (Elton John) and guitar work from Steve Lukather (Toto).  Philip Bailey even adds a cameo falsetto on the album albeit uncredited.

Throughout the late 70s and early 80s I spun this album a lot.  I know every lick and sound on this album by heart.  I can recite it in my sleep.  When we lived on the farm, Thomas would come over from time to time and hang out and we’d spin this one.  I remember he especially liked the closing track “Inmates (We’re All Crazy)’.

There’s not a stinker on here.  As a kid I didn’t get some of the references on this album like this from “Nurse Rosetta”:

I’m suddenly twice my size
My pants are all wet inside

C’mon.  I was under 12 years old, I had no clue.  haha.

In case you didn’t know and have been living under a rock, this is a concept album about living in a mental institution.  Sure, a bit cliche for Cooper but it worked.  I really like “Millie and Billie”, “For Veronica’s Sake” and especially “Jackknife Johnny”, “How You Gonna See Me Now” and “The Quiet Room”.  Cooper really displays the sadness and depression of the characters in these songs. 

And of course when I spin this on CD now, it really takes me back to those days in the late 70s and early 80s…far simpler times.  I mean really, what worries did I have when I was 10 or 11?  Not too many.  Mostly just worried about my brother and the trouble he was getting into.  That really did take a toll on me at a young age.  I looked up to him a lot and watched him go down some pretty bad paths.  Unfortunately I couldn’t help him although I wanted to.  I felt it was my job.  But there was nothing I could do, especially being 6 years younger than him.  I was his bratty little brother and with the things he was getting into, we weren’t as close as we were when we were both younger.

I will say that even today I am surprised that he’s still alive.  I had to learn at a young age that I couldn’t live his life for him…a life lesson for me.  A difficult lesson when it’s about someone that you love and looked up to.

So again, when I listen to this album and think about the time when I first heard it (I was 8 and he was 14), those were good times…sunny days…but really the beginnings of some dark years ahead.