‘How did we pull this off?’: Toto rediscovers lasting bond – and lots of humor – on a smash world tour

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As Toto completed its European tour in advance of a rare U.S. jaunt, certain setlist favorites began to emerge — along with an air-tight camaraderie that could only come from sharing the stage for so long.

Steve Lukather, David Paich and Steve Porcaro, after all, go back to the band’s beginnings in 1976. Singer Joseph Williams first sang with Toto in 1986. Drummer Simon Phillips (Jeff Beck, David Gilmour, the Who) joined in 1992. Bassist Nathan East (Fourplay, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins) has toured with the group since 2010.

So any discussion, even one focusing on something so straight forward as favored concert tracks, ends up taking an improvisational — and often quite hilarious — turn.

With Paich, for instance, it’s “Stop Loving You,” a 1988 cut off The Seventh One that has been transformed more recently during Toto’s live set. “There’s a drum solo at the end, and it breaks down into a Zeppelin-y, kind of trio thing at the end,” Paich says in the attached clip. “It’s the only time on stage where you hear just a couple of guys playing. I get to stand back. I don’t know if the joy is that I’m not playing, or that it’s such a great drum solo,” he adds, to huge laughs.

Lukather then chimes in: “Or you just have to go to the bathroom.”

For East, his favorite remains “Better World” from 1999’s Mindfields. “I think it’s a great composition,” he says — before Lukather interrupts: “Really, it’s just because he stands on top of his amp. They don’t let him do that in Fourplay.”

Porcaro then leaps in with his own quip: “Well, they do, but it’s a much smaller amp.”

In all seriousness, Lukather adds: “It’s nice to think that something we wrote in North Hollywood ends up in Finland. It’s amazing how the music has gone around the globe. I still scratch my heading, thinking: ‘How did we pull this off?'”

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