HOLD THE LINE: Toto guitarist and co-founder Steve Lukather playing at Falls Festival Byron Bay on January 3, 2019.
HOLD THE LINE: Toto guitarist and co-founder Steve Lukather playing at Falls Festival Byron Bay on January 3, 2019. Marc Stapelberg

Toto was cool in the 80s, and they're still cool now

AMERICAN 1980s band Toto rocked the Falls Byron Bay festival stage on Wednesday, when audiences were wowed by the show they offered, the start of the 2019 leg of their 40 Trips Around the Sun Tour, celebrating 40 years of the band.

With an average of 10 million streams of their songs a month and almost a billion in total, the American rock band sits comfortably in the top 200 most listened to online artists in the world, next to Ed Sheeran, Post Malone and other popular artists.

On the week starting June 29, 2018, just their song Africarecorded more than four million streams globally on Spotify alone.

Africa recorded 476 million streams in Spotify by noon today, followed by Hold the Line with 155 million streams.

Formed in 1976 in Los Angeles, the band's current line-up consists of Joseph Williams, David Paich, Steve Porcaro, Steve Lukather, plus touring members Lenny Castro, Warren Ham, Shem von Schroeck and Shannon Forrest.

MUSIC LEGENDS: Toto's Steve Lukather and Steve Porcaro, minutes before their Falls Festival Byron Bay show.
MUSIC LEGENDS: Toto's Steve Lukather and Steve Porcaro, minutes before their Falls Festival Byron Bay show. Marc Stapelberg

Porcaro and Lukather said they are not sure why the band's music became so popular during 2018, but they are happy to keep playing for old and new audiences in Australia.

"It's been huge (playing Falls Festival in three states)," Lukather said.

"We never expected it to be this great. We really never did."

The band's last Australian tour was in 2005, when Toto played sold out shows to hardcore fans around the country, but nothing like the love they have experienced by younger audiences this time.

"We did the arenas in Sydney and Melbourne but nothing like this year at the festival," Lukather said.

On the last day of the festival, Toto played all their hits: Africa, Hold the Line and Rossana, all from their Toto IV album of 1982, plus other songs they wrote or recorded with famous artists.

Toto at Falls Byron Bay 2018/19: FRENZY: An orange flare went off across the Valley Stage while American band Toto played its hit song Africa at Falls Byron Bay on January 3, 2019.
Toto at Falls Byron Bay 2018/19: FRENZY: An orange flare went off across the Valley Stage while American band Toto played its hit song Africa at Falls Byron Bay on January 3, 2019.

Steve Lukather played guitar on Michael Jackson's Thriller album, so the band played Human Nature as a special treat to Byron audiences, which Steve Porcaro co-wrote and co-composed with Jackson.

The band also performer The Beatles' While My Guitar Gently Weeps, which they released in 2002 in Through the Looking Glass, their 11th studio album, an LP of covers of songs that have inspired the band.

Steve Porcaro said their Falls music set is based on their latest release, 40 Trips Around the Sun (2018), a box set celebrating their 40 years in music, which includes nine new songs by the band.

"We found a whole bunch of old songs that were never finished from the early 1980s, from the original band, and with the new technology we were able to play with our 20-something selves and then we wrote four new songs as well," he said.

"About six years ago we started getting link to memes and videos online; it kept happening and when Weezer covered Africa, it went crazy after that."

  • Toto plays the Hordern Pavillion in Sydney today, Festival Hall in Melbourne tomorrow and Fremantle in Perth on Sunday.