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Toto salvages concert after Benatar cancellation

Joe Naiman

Village News Correspondent

Regardless of how well Toto performed during the band’s Aug. 31 concert at Pala Casino’s Palomar Starlight Theater, initial expectations for the concert were likely not met.

When the concert was first announced, Pat Benatar and Toto were both scheduled to perform. That was the case until the day before the concert, when a throat infection forced Benatar to cancel. Toto would be the sole band.

Toto lead guitarist and vocalist Steve Lukather joked about Benatar’s absence, as the he opened the show.

“My name is Patrick Benatar, and you’ve been ripped off,” he said. Then Lukather noted that Toto once had to cancel a European performance.

“It’s really tough when you have to make these hard decisions,” he said.

The decision for Toto to continue the concert was simpler and helped mitigate Benatar’s cancellation.

“We’re going to play anyways,” Lukather said.

Toto was formed in 1977. Lukather, David Paich, and keyboardist Steve Porcaro have been with the band since the beginning. The touring band also includes Joseph Williams, drummer Shannon Forest, bassist Shem von Schroeck, percussionist Lenny Castro and saxophone player Warren Ham.

“We truly have a ball doing this,” Lukather said. “It hasn’t changed since we were little kids.”

“Hold the Line” became Toto’s first Top 5 hit in 1978, and “Rosanna” and “Africa” also peaked in the Top 5 on the Billboard charts with “Africa” reaching No. 1 in 1982. Toto’s hits are a mix of soft classic rock and hard rock.

Toto played a solid 13-song, 94-minute concert that was certainly not a rip-off.


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