By Ruben Mosqueda // By the time ‘soft rock’ act Toto commandeered the stage at Montreux in 1991 for the prestigious jazz festival their popularity had diminished dramatically in the United States.
By the time ‘soft rock’ act Toto commandeered the stage at Montreux in 1991 for the prestigious jazz festival their popularity had diminished dramatically in the United States. Sure you could blame the ‘changing of the musical guard’ but the band was in a huge musical tailspin.
By July of 1991 Toto had parted ways with contentious vocalist Jean-Michel Byron who exited the band about as quickly as he had arrived. Byron’s exit left Toto without a singer and the vocal duties were delegated to bandleader and guitarist Steve Lukather. The arraignments to the classics were ‘tweaked’ a little bit to suit Lukather’s vocal abilities and the result is a slightly heavier and punchier version of Toto.
In a ballsy move Toto also premiered some material at Montreux that would eventually turn up on the following Toto effort ‘Kingdom of Desire.’ The album marked Lukather’s debut recording as guitarist and vocalist. Toto treated the Montreux audience to [then] new material “Kingdom of Desire” and “Jake to the Bone.” ‘Toto: Live at Montreux 1991’ isn’t only special because it documents Lukather’s debut on vocals but it also marked one of the last documented performances of drummer Jeff Porcaro who passed less than a year from the date of this performance. The highlights on this Blu Ray are; “Rosanna,” “Africa,” the cover of “Red House” [Jimi Hendrix] and the cover of “I Want to Take You Higher” [Sly & The Family Stone]. There’s no extras on this Blu Ray but there is an audio disc that accompanies the concert which is a nice plus.