Luke and friends present TOTO XV
TOTO's latest release heralds a new chapter for the band. It's not just another live album filled with hits, this is an album that signals the band's metamorphosis into TOTO 15. Steve Lukather and wingman, Joseph Williams are a bridge to the past, with David Paice acting as MD, and also appearing for two tracks.
'With A Little Help From My Friends' covers 40 years of TOTO into a show that's just short of 2 hours. The live in lockdown show, premieres the new lineup with a scaled-down, live show. It also marks the beginning of the 'Dogs of Oz' tour, which, Covid permitting, should bring the band worldwide.
Keeping TOTO's legacy alive means not only writing and playing iconic songs but as a musician's band, it means attracting some of the highest virtuoso talents. This time they've got bassist John Pierce, drummer Robert “Sput” Searight, keyboardist/background vocalist Steve Maggiora, Dominique “Xavier” Taplin, and Warren Ham on board. Luke and Williams clearly feel invigorated by this new lineup, which is evident when the band let rip on their firm favourite, 'White Sister.'
Joseph Williams' talents don't just end at being the band's current frontman, he also produced the show and edited the film too – meaning that instinctively he was able to put eyes on every beat and musicial accent to make this intimate live show more on point that most filmed shows.
'Africa' is worryingly absent and playing 'Hold The Line' “because we have to” hints that perhaps the band wants to distance themselves from the 'poppy' TOTO and focus on the huge AOR catalogue, as the inclusion of rarer tracks 'Kingdom of Desire' and 'You Are The Flower' may hint at.
The accompanying documentary gives a fascinating incite to the men behind the music, their passion for what they do, and their belief in the TOTO project and keeping it alive.