|Toto Live In Amsterdam||Eagle Records/Video Arts|
My favourite Toto live album – there have been 3 since 1993 – is that first one – Absolutely Live. I just love the vibe of it. I was a little disappointed in Livefields and held no major expectations for Live In Amsterdam. There is an accompanying DVD, but that is yet to arrive, so let's talk about the CD release.|
Sadly, to get the full release, you will have to import the Japanese version at great expense, as it's the only territory that is getting the full track listing on a 2CD release.
But, it's well worth it, as Toto really deliver the goods here. The sound is immaculate and the band is as tight as they ever have been.
I still don't think the track listing is ideal, but that's more a reflection of my personal taste and my love of other Toto tracks not featured. The band cram as many tracks in as possible my adding 1 and 2 minute versions of more than a few tracks in medley form, which works great in the context of the album, but might also leave fans of those songs wanting more.
But Toto have a huge track list to select from and the gig can't run 5 hours, so this is maybe the best way to deal with that issue. A definitive 3CD live release might be cool one day though.
The tracks that are included in full – 6 of the 17 tracks on CD1 and most of CD2 are just brilliant.
Girl Goodbye is a great intro, which builds the mood and the tempo (as well as highlighting the wonderful band harmonies), while Gift With The Golden Gun really fires up and some of Steve Lukather's guitar parts are fabulous. While My Guitar Gently Weeps was one of the better tracks on the recent covers album and again showcases what a master guitarist and king of mood Lukather is.
Bodhisattva is perfectly suited to the band's jazz rock roots, but I really don't like the song. Skip…
Africa is nice and raw and a little improvised. It certainly raises the roof on the venue. More great harmony vocals build the atmosphere again.
Next follows a David Paich solo and another medley which is again as tight as a goldfish's butt. Die-hards will love this. Hydra follows and is as good a display of tight musicianship as you will find.
The rest of CD is an improvised medley, which includes Lion and Till The End - two of my favourites, so I was definitely left wanting more here.
CD2 kicks off with the big Lukather sung ballad I Won't Hold You Back – awesome.
Rosanna is equally appealing and although a little rough around the edges, is equally enjoyable.
Afraid Of Love is big and bombastic, Hold The Line goes completely over the top. Great stuff.
Possibly my favourite Toto track ever is Home Of The Brave. The chorus, or high impact part of the tune is not totally suited to Bobby's vocal range, but the track gets a good work out here.
Closing the album is White Sister, the cool hard rocker that is perfectly placed and really sees the band rocking out. I can't imagine a better way to close the album.
Definitely a return to form after a disappointing covers album and far superior to their last live album. Can't wait for the DVD now…
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