Toto: The Worst Concert I’ve Watched

Not sports-related but must-be-reported-news… Heading out of the Waterfront ballroom last Wednesday night, I heard various comments: “highway robbery,” “yabag,” “they forgot their lines!” “fake,” and “rip-off.”

Toto was bad. Really bad. As a start, the tickets weren’t inexpensive—the highest-priced at P3,500. In my case, with wife Jasmin and best friend Dr. Ron Eullaran and his wife Raycia, we bought the P2,000.

Our expectations were high—and justifiably so. Toto is one of the world’s most popular bands. During my teenage days in the ‘80s, I grew up listening to the American band. Toto was revered.

What happened? Put simply, they did not sing their most popular hits. Yes, songs like “Rosanna” and “Georgy Porgy” were sung but several major hits—like “Lea,” “I Won’t Hold You Back” and “I’ll Be Over You”—which the thousands in attendance kept on pleading and awaiting and asking to be sung—were never sung.

All Toto sang were 15-second snippets of those songs. Fifteen seconds. Nothing more. And, no, the band wasn’t in a hurry to leave the stage—they performed for nearly two hours and sang, what, 25 songs? But 80 percent of the music was noisy, ear-splitting, deafening, heavy-metal.

Inconceivable. Preposterous. Unthinkable. It was like watching Beyonce in concert and her not singing “Irreplaceable” or “Crazy In Love.” Like going to a Christina Aguilera gig without “Genie In A Bottle.” Like Van Halen minus “Jump” or Duran Duran with no “The Reflex.”

Why? Why didn’t they sing their favorites?

I don’t know. Yesterday, when I chanced upon meeting the event’s local producer at the Waterfront lobby and I asked her, she herself was puzzled and dumbfounded. “There were hotel guests who inserted nasty-worded notes to the band members’ rooms,” she told me.

Africa? Their No.1 hit? Good idea that they reserved it for the finale—but bad, bad move… For instead of singing like how it sounds on a CD, they let their keyboardist (who, obviously, did not sing the original) sing the hit tune and it sounded like your neighbor singing the karaoke from his living room.

Boo and boycott Toto. I’d rather watch Junior Kilat.

John Pages

By John Pages

I've been a sports columnist since 1994. First, in The Freeman newspaper under "Tennis Is My Game." Then, starting in 2003, with Sun.Star Cebu under the name "Match Point." Happy reading!


  1. Hey John!
    Someone on Yahoo! Answers also commented about this, and I decided to share my thoughts with him, so I’ll just C&P it.

    It wasn’t the worst concert I have ever seen. From a scale of 1 to 10, I’d say it was 7.5. Why? I understand why they played differently and sort of anticipated it. One reason is that their touring bang isn’t the same as their studio band. Leland Sklar replaces Mike Porraco on base, but he’s a great bassist so no problem there. Tony Spinner now sings “Stop Loving You” instead of Joseph Williams, although this has been going on for years now since Joseph left the band, but Tony’s great, so no prob there again. But here’s the big problem, David Paich isn’t there. He’s the guy that sings parts of Africa,I’ll Be Ove You,Hold the Line and Rosanna. And there’s the problem. They didnt really sing those great songs well,but at least they played it properly. They didnt do 99 and “I’ll be over you” properly though. They said it wasn’t planned. They didn’t even sing “I won’t hold you back.” As you can see, I know a lot about these guys, and even if I wasn’t born when these guys rose to fame, they are one of my top 5 favortie bands. And Africa is one of my top favorites. So yea, it wasn’t worth the price I paid, but I don’t regret purchasing the ticket. To see one of my top bands playing some songs I like, even if they didnt really do it well, was a great experience for me. By the way Jeff Porraco was supposed to be on drums, but he died on august 5, 1992. RIP Jeff..

  2. Thanks for the sharing those comments, Travin. In my case, I’ve seen dozens and dozens of concerts and, as I said, that was the worst!

  3. Well it was only the second concert for me, so I don’t really have anything to compare. The first concert was Don Moen’s concert, it was more of prayer than a concert actually.

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