Budapest, Petöfi Hall - Open Air Area, 19 August 2006

Six years after the Mindfields tour at the very same venue Toto were back and they drew just about as many people as back then, basically the venue was almost sold out, I assume the audience was somewhere between 4500 and 5000 people. The gig was scheduled at 8 pm; I got to the venue at 8:10 and the German opening act Hartmann was already gone. Well, blame it on the start of the Premier League season? Anyway, friends who have seen them said they looked awful but played well and the audience tolerated their efforts quite well.

Not long after half past Toto hit the stage with a duo of songs from the new album, the opening title-track "Falling in Between" and "King of the World". The sound wasn't the best in the beginning (improved quite a bit by the third song) but the new guys Tommy Spinner and Greg Phillinganes delivered fantastic vocals. "Pamela" got the crowd going and it was more than apparent that Bobby Kimball got even less spotlight than before. Not only because Luke was running the show but also with Phillinganes handling some of the lead vocals (quite well). Plus Kimball was really far from his heydays; apparently he was struggling with some problems with his earplug-control, and his vocals were generally unconfident. Apart from the opening two songs, the band mainly delivered a greatest hits show with some twist. An acoustic medley spiced things up with the band sitting on barstools and Spinner handling some of the lead vocals, Simon Phillips playing a small drum kit, and the audience joining in quite loud.

The usual solos were rather forgettable, Phillinganes delivering a long, jazzy, overwhelming piano one; Phillips coming up with one that had a guitar- synth groove underneath, and Lukather with one that started out pretty boring but turned into a well-built climax. "Caught in the Balance" was a pleasant surprise that engaged the audience into some serious nodding. Dare I say 'almost headbanging' but you have to consider that the audience consisted mostly of my age (30-some) or higher and calcified vertebras do not move all that well. Yet, "Hold the Line" made each and every person sing along, so did the compulsory encore "Africa". That was the only encore the band gave.

All in all it was obvious the band was getting tired of the tour (it was one of the last shows of 9 weeks of extensive touring) and they survived the gig mostly because of their enormous professionalism. Kimball was the one suffering the most during the show, and probably Luke was the one who enjoyed it the most. I have already seen them in better form, yet Toto is so much superior to the majority of today's touring bands that a 70% show from them equals a 100% one from many of the bands. Bearing this in mind I'd say it was an okay gig but I won't tolerate sampler vocals, effects, congas, and generally a serious amount of tracks coming from the disc the next time; not to mention false vocals and a former legend with more belly than voice by now?

Review by Endre 'Bandi' Hübner
Photos by Zoltán 'Mirrmurr' Bertli
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