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TOTO Puts Their Golden Musical Wizardry On Display in Nashville

by Rich and Laura Lynch

TOTO has spent the first part of this year on a 40-city trek at major U.S. venues working in the opening slot on a double-bill with fellow AOR titans - Journey . A sold-out capacity crowd arrived early to catch their set on April 27, 2022 at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee and the "Dogz of Oz" did not disappoint.


TOTO takes the stage in Nashville.

TOTO is an American rock group that formed in 1977 in Los Angeles. Their music melds elements of blues, funk, jazz, pop, progressive, rock and soul. They have sold millions of records worldwide and have won several Grammy Awards. TOTO was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum in 2009.

As individuals, their performances can be heard on an astonishing 5000 albums. Some band members were South Park characters, while Family Guy did an entire episode around one of their songs and most recently Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell scored their honeymoon video to their #1 song "Africa" - a track Weezer recently sent back into the charts with their remake of it. TOTO are one of the few 1970's bands that have endured changing styles and trends while still appealing to a broad fan base.


Steve Lukather - certified guitar god in Music City.

We must credit Steve Lukather - the sole continuous founding member of the band - for keeping TOTO alive in the modern era. In fact, the outfit called an indefinite hiatus at the end of the 40th Anniversary Tour in 2019 and got entangled in a lawsuit dealing with royalties and branding rights that almost saw them change their name to the "Dogz of Oz".

But, the disagreements were settled and "Luke" took a little inspiration from the famous movie that gave his group their moniker. Using his brains, a lot of heart and no small amount of courage Steve reconfigured the lineup to include only himself and singer Joseph Williams from the previous incarnation. Then, he brought in John Pierce on bass guitar, Robert "Sput" Searight on drums, Steve Maggiora on keyboards, Dominique "Xavier" Taplin on keyboards and Warren Ham providing additional vocals and instrumentation.

In Music City, the revamped TOTO opened with the popular "Orphan" followed by a well-received "Hold the Line". They slowed things down with "I'll Be Over Your" a love song that included an expressive guitar part.


The golden pipes of Joseph Williams provided a proven path for TOTO in Nash.

It was countered by the more rocking "White Sister" that was packed with complex rhythms and soaring solos. This current group of guys have good chemistry and the two most familiar faces on stage - Steve and Joseph - both chatted with the crowd and kept things moving along.

Keyboardist Dominique "Xavier" Taplin was given the opportunity to rearrange an old TOTO tune. Taplin who has worked with Prince gave "Georgy Porgy" a bit more funk. Interestingly, Xavier had replaced long time member David Paich who was introduced as a special guest at this show. David joined TOTO on "I Won't Hold You Back" while fans held up phone lights in support and Paich stayed on through their last song.


More scenes including a special appearance by co-founder David Paich.

TOTO put their own touches on The Beatles' "With a Little Help From My Friends" and concluded their fine set with two of their most popular tunes "Rosanna" and "Africa". TOTO efficiently played a concert of fast and slow songs that showcased their hits while allowing time for instrumental solos punctuated by multi-part harmonies.

In Nashville, the legendary TOTO showed that they are still a tour de force with plenty of bark and bite - proving that you actually can teach an old dog some new tricks.


Joseph Williams and Steve Lukather - the men behind the TOTO curtain.

Related Links: For more information on TOTO and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - TOTO | Journey | Journey Is a Fine Destination in Nashville | Bridgestone Arena

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