Two months after Weezer gave into fan demand by covering “Africa” (getting them a single in the Hot 100 for the first time in nine years), Toto returned the favor by tackling their 2001 hit “Hash Pipe” at the launch of their summer tour in Vancouver.
“We figured since we were smoking hash since before they were born, that’s the one we should do,” guitarist Steve Lukather told the crowd. “This is our tribute to Weezer, god bless ’em.”
It’s just the latest moment in Toto’s improbable renaissance over the past couple of years, fueled almost entirely by newfound love for their 1982 hit “Africa.” The song has been featured in Stranger Things, South Park, The Tonight Show, Ringo Starr’s ongoing All Starr Band tour (featuring Steve Lukather on guitar) and every single karaoke bar on the planet. In many ways, it’s the “Don’t Stop Believin'” of 2018.
Lukather’s Ringo Starr commitments have made scheduling Toto concerts a bit trickier than normal, but they’re on the the road right now during a break between European and American legs of the All Starr trek. Sitting out the tour is keyboardist David Paich, a co-writer of “Africa” and singer of the verses. “The recent European appearances took a toll on his personal well-being, and it is in his best interests to forego the impact the rigorous wear and tear being on the road brings until he is feeling 100 percent,” the group said in a statement. “He plans on focusing on his health, and looks forward to returning to the road when ready to do so.”
Paich released his own statement: “To say this was a difficult decision would be a complete understatement. I hope you will all be understanding of my need to be home. I look forward to joining the boys again on stage ASAP.” (Bobby Kimball sang the choruses of “Africa,” but he left the band in 2008 and has, um, a little trouble hitting all the high notes on it these days.)
Toto are touring heavily in America until November, giving them plenty of time to dip further into the Weezer catalog. We recommend “Pink Triangle,” “Photograph” and “Only In Dreams” next time around. Maybe they can even mash up “Rosanna” with “Susanne” or fuse “Hold The Line” and “Don’t Let Go” together. The opportunities are endless.