Toto and Michael McDonald provided a “throwback Friday” at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta. The mostly baby-boomer audience was taken back in time to the late 70’s and early 80’s by two of the artists that helped define that musical period and it was a great evening of musical reminiscences both on and off the stage.
Toto practically swept the Grammy Awards in 1983 winning five in that year. While it would be difficult for any artist to sustain that kind of success they still remain a great live act and one that is worthwhile seeing. Only four of the original members remain with Steve Lukather and his guitar at the band’s core while David Paich on keyboards and Steve Porcaro, also on keyboards the other original members. They have been joined by the band’s original bassist, David Hungate , an addition due to the illness of long time bassist Mike Porcaro.
The set they played started strong and got stronger with Lukather clearly enjoying the crowd’s appreciation. Joseph Williams on vocals provided another focal point for the crowd’s entertainment as they moved through the set at fast pace. Michael McDonald joined them onstage for “I’ll Be Over You” while other highlights included “White Sister” and a funky “Georgy Porgy”.
As would be expected “Africa” and “Hold The Line” comprised the encore with Jenny Douglas-McRae’s contribution on “Hold The Line” particularly good.
In a touching moment after their set all the band members came back on stage and were joined by Michael McDonald to undertake the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. The band’s participation was particularly personal and poignant as Mike Porcaro, long-time bassist with the band, has been diagnosed with the disease.
After drying off from the ice bucket Michael McDonald came out to provide his half of the show. Like Toto, McDonald has won multiple grammy’s. He won four as a member of the Doobie Brothers and one more in a separate vocal collaboration with James Ingram. Like Toto, his set consisted of hit after hit after hit and not just from the Doobies. He played tracks from his grammy-nominated “Motown” album.
Michael McDonald’s voice is incredible but it was disappointing that it wasn’t heard to its best effect during his set. Part of it is his vocal styling with his baritone voice sometimes blending but I couldn’t help but think that the sound mixing contributed to the muddy sound.
Regardless it was very cool to hear live versions of “I Keep Forgettin”, “Sweet Freedom”, and “What a Fool Believes” among the timeless standards he played.
Joined on stage by Toto for the encore, McDonald and Toto played “Change The World” the song made famous by Eric Clapton but originally written and sung this night by McDonald’s bassist Tommy Sims.
The band also played and instrumental version of “Georgia On My Mind” with Steve Lukather and Michael McDonald featuring before launching into a high energy “Takin’ It To The Streets” to finish the set off.
Earlier in the evening Steve Lukather asked “Is everybody having a good time?” It was clear that everybody did, both on stage and in the audience. Hearing two of the 70’s and 80’s most distinctive artists that was always going to be the case.
Toto Set list
On the Run / Child's Anthem / Goodbye
I'll Be Over You
Hold the Line
Here to Love You
(The Doobie Brothers song)
It Keeps You Runnin' (The Doobie Brothers song)
I Keep Forgettin' (Every Time You're Near)
No Love to Be Found
Ya Mo Be There
Minute by Minute (The Doobie Brothers song)
Ain't No Mountain High Enough (Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell cover)
This Is It
What a Fool Believes (Kenny Loggins cover)
Change The World
You Haven't Done Nothin'/Superstition (with Toto)
Takin' It To The Streets (with Toto)