It rained. The skies threw down a little lightning. And it rained some more.
But fans of the band Toto and Michael McDonald put up their umbrellas, sought shelter or just took a good soaking Tuesday night at Red Butte Garden in Salt Lake City in anticipation of that sweet taste of nostalgia offered up by two acts whose vast collection of top hits are still in rotation on classic rock radio stations.
It was just a fun night all around, a musical trip back to the ‘70s and ‘80s.
Opening song » Toto started off the night about a half-hour late with the song "On the Run, followed by "Rosanna," one of the band’s biggest hits. The crowd was already standing and swaying to the oldies by this point. As usual, Steve Lukather, Joe Williams and David Paich shared in the vocal duties.
Highlight » Hands down, when Toto played "Africa" and sang those words, "I bless the rains down in Africa," as it poured on an already waterlogged but loyal audience. Lukather said backstage after the concert that the band has only performed that song a few times during the rain, once in Germany. So, a real treat for fans who dig that sort of thing.
Crowd favorite(s) » It had to be the encore around 10:30 p.m. that featured Michael McDonald and Toto all at once, covering a few Stevie Wonder classics in a medley and leading with the Eric Clapton hit "Change the World," which was co-written by Toto bassist Tommy Sims, who handled lead vocals for the rendition at Red Butte Garden.
Best Quote » Toto’s Lukather chatted here and there with the crowd, checking in on the audience’s welfare during an evening when Mother Nature threatened to steal the show. "It was kind of hectic tonight when everyone was trying to save us from getting electrocuted," Lukather commented. "Thank you for bearing with us."
In the Crowd » Umbrellas, so many that when all opened at once it seemed to form this one giant colorful organism on the amphitheater lawn.
High note(s) » Everyone has their favorite Toto or Michael McDonald/Doobie Brothers (a band he populated for a while) song. Toto played hits like "Pamela" and "99" while McDonald did not disappoint with songs like "Minute By Minute," "Takin’ It to the Streets," "Ain’t No Mountain High Enough," "Sweet Freedom" and "I Keep Forgettin’." Maybe one of the "feel-good" concerts of the season during a cycle that has featured so many classic rock bands — Styx, Journey, Boston, etc. — visiting Utah this summer.
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