Toto at the Keswick Theatre

Last night my friend and I saw the band Toto at the Keswick Theatre, right outside Philadelphia.

Maybe a year or two ago I got a random-ass text from my friend, asking if I had ever seen Toto in concert. I had not, I really only knew their bigger hits (Hold The Line, Rosanna, and Africa). I texted him back to say no, and why, were they coming around and did he want someone to go with? But no… he just heard Africa at a party and though it would be amusing if I had seen them live.

So then I began looking into Toto’s other music. I listened to a number of their albums.  I won’t go full Patrick Bateman here, but in summary:  They had some other good songs which I added to my mp3 collection. But most of Toto’s music is, to me, fairly bland. They are brimming with technical ability, but they suffer from being jack-of-all-trades, master of none.

Anyhow, they launched a 35th anniversary tour.  Though a lot of their music is kinda meh, they have more than enough to sustain a long concert after 35 years.  My friend wasn’t available to see them in Philly, and I thought our chance was lost.  But luckily, their tour has been so successful they actually came back around, though this time to a lesser venue outside the city.

The crowd was interesting.  The theatre was totally packed.  Most of the audience appeared to be my parent’s age.  There were a few others our age, like maybe 5% of the audience.  But these geezers were… I hesitate to use the word “dancing.”  “Flailing” might be a good word.  There were a few people out in the aisles dancing and everything.  Rather awkward to see, but they were into it, so good for them.  But God, these people also could not sit still!  I don’t mean the dancers, that’s the good kind of not sitting still.  I mean assholes were constantly getting up and walking in and out, which at the tightly-packed Keswick means everyone ELSE has to get up to let them out.  Aside from bothering everybody else, walking out in the middle of a performance like that strikes me as disrespectful, especially if you just want to get more beer.

The band played it on.  The band got down like a Magikist.  The crowd roared like a lion.  The jam session whipped the camel’s ass.

The sound was kinda muddy.  If I didn’t already know the lyrics, I wouldn’t have figured them out at this venue.  And it wasn’t the most visually dynamic show I’ve ever seen… not nearly as entertaining to watch as Gary Numan or Dead Can Dance.  I knew a lot of the songs they played, but not all of them.  I was a little disappointed they didn’t play “Stop Loving You,” but oh well.  They didn’t have an opening act, and they really didn’t need one.  Instead they played “Rosanna” as the second song in their set.  That surprised me, but it makes sense – that right there IS the opening act.  There were some fairly amazing guitar and piano solos throughout.

In short, the concert was good, but not great – right in line with Toto’s whole musical output.  Overall, I’m glad I got to see them.

Anyhow, here’s somebody else’s recording of (most of) Hydra from the show:

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