Toto and Yes

Toto at the Barclays Center (David Chiu)
Toto at the Barclays Center (David Chiu)

Toto/Yes
Barclays Center
Brooklyn, NY
August 11, 2015
Review and photos by David Chiu

When it was announced a while back that Toto and Yes would co-headline a tour this summer, it might have seemed unusual to their respective fan base since both bands for the most part are stylistically different—with Toto categorized as L.A. rock and pop, while Yes was definitely British progressive rock. Yet, as it history shows, the members of those respective bands have previously collaborated together on albums and solo projects. In any case, given their successes and popularity, the pairing of these two popular bands sharing the same stage can be considered frankly inspired and a no-brainer.

That was the case this past Tuesday evening when the tour hit Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, and given Toto and Yes’ credentials in the classic rock vein, the arena setting of the Barclays was perfect for their brash sound. First up was Toto, which performed not only the hits but deep cuts and tracks from the band’s new album Toto XIV. It was really nice to see the mostly Fahrenheit/The Seventh One lineup of Toto once again back in action: keyboardists David Paich and Steve Porcaro, guitarist Steve Lukather and singer Joseph Williams along with original Toto bassist David Hungate. The new songs like “Orphan,” “Great Expectations” and the driving opener “Running Out of Time” went down well with some of the other popular songs from the band’s catalog such as “I’ll Supply the Love,” “Hold the Line,” “Pamela,” and “Georgy Porgy.” Interestingly for the most part, Toto performed pretty much straightforward rockers as opposed to the popular radio power ballads—so this was in effect a very rocking affair. There were also some very dazzling solo showcases, especially from Paich and Lukather, whose guitar work just makes you shake your head in awe. Of course, it wouldn’t really be a Toto show without the band performing “Rosanna” and “Africa” towards the end of the entertaining and elaborate-sounding performance.

Yes at the Barclays (David Chiu)
Yes at the Barclays (David Chiu)

For Yes, one can’t help but feel a somber yet poignant tone surrounding the band’s performance that same night, with the recent passing of original bassist Chris Squire still lingering in the hearts of the band members and fans. That was evident by the short yet touching video tribute to Squire that preceded the opening song “Don’t Kill the Whale.” The band’s set was a mostly hits-oriented fare spanning the group’s Seventies and early Eighties output—in addition to the popular songs such as “I’ve Seen All Good People,” “Roundabout” and “Owner of a Lonely Heart” were also some even deeper album tracks performed such as “Siberian Khatru” and “Tempus Fugit,” from the very underrated Drama album. Not surprisingly, the musicianship was top-notch, especially from guitarist Steve Howe, who like Lukather, delivered some killer riffs and showed his technical prowess during his solo spotlight “Clap.” Bassist and longtime Yes collaborator Billy Sherwood had some tremendous shoes to fill, and he ably rose to the challenge—aspects of his playing harkened back to Squire’s. Following “Roundabout,” the band came back for its encore, “Starship Trooper,” a fitting finale to what has been an emotional time for Yes.

Toto:

Running Out of Time
I’ll Supply the Love
Hydra
Never Enough
Hold the Line
Georgy Porgy
Pamela
Great Expectations
Without Your Love
On the Run
Orphan
Rosanna
Africa

Yes:

Don’t Kill the Whale
Tempus Fugit
America
Going for the One
Time and a Word
Clap
I’ve Seen All Good People
Siberian Khatru
Owner of a Lonely Heart
Roundabout

Starship Trooper

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