Toto wrapped up the final show of their 40 Trips Around the Sun tour at Philadelphia’s Metropolitan Opera House on Sunday night, and, according to guitarist Steve Lukather, it’s going to be their last performance for quite some time.
“I don’t know what the future-future’s gonna be, but I do know that’s gonna be the last show in Philly for the foreseeable future,” he told The Morning Call earlier this month. “And certainly the end of this configuration of Toto.”
They’ve been playing without keyboardist David Paich throughout the past year due to health problems, but he made a surprise appearance when the group played Los Angeles in September and he came out again near the end of the Philadelphia show to perform “Africa.” He co-wrote the 1982 classic and sang lead on the verses. (Bobby Kimball handled the chorus.) Here’s fan-shot video of Paich’s return to the stage in Philadelphia.
The band was rather vague on why Paich was stepping aside last year, but Lukather explained the situation in detail when he spoke to The Morning Call. “It was really the scariest thing ever,” he said. “He had some sort of a seizure [on the bus during a European tour] or something like that. We went home and he had to retire from touring because of his health. Apparently he pushed himself a little too hard and he fell. I mean, Dave’s still playing. He can sing. He’s up and about and he’s happy and he’s walking around. But he’s not built for speed anymore.”
It may seem like an odd time for Toto to take a long break considering all the attention that “Africa” has received over the past couple of years — which has helped them pack venues all over the world. But Lukather has been balancing his role in Ringo Starr’s All Starr Band with Toto for several years and he’s burned out.
“This kind of lifestyle is way harder than people think it is,” he said. “They just think that we float around from city to city magically and live a life of luxury. And I’m not saying that we travel poorly, but it’s a burden to be away from your family 230 days a year, like me.”
He also pointed to lawsuits as a major reason for Toto’s decision to take a break. He didn’t get specific, but the widow of drummer Jeff Porcaro did sue the band last year. She claimed she was being denied her fair share of royalties.
They’ve also faced legal issues with their former record label. “We’ve had some horrendous litigation,” Lukather said. “Horrendous, horrendous, awful, mean, you-gotta-be-kidding-me kind of lawsuits, and we lost the suit. So it beat us down. So we gotta get away from this. We gotta get away from the whole thing.”
Steve Lukather pledged he was done with Toto back in 2008. “Honestly, I have just had enough,” he said in a statement. “This is NOT a break. It is over. I really can’t go out and play ‘Hold the Line’ with a straight face anymore.”
Two years later, he was back on the road with Toto and “Hold The Line” was in the setlist every single night. It may be a similar situation this time around. If not, at least they got the chance to play with Paich one last time.