Brave Toto Carry on Without Joe Williams at the Helm

I’d been looking forward to this gig for months. Toto were coming to town with a mix of their old classics and a good dose of their latest album XIV. But things were going to get a bit strange.



I’d been following Toto’s progress throughout Northern Europe and even created a Spotify Playlist to be up on what to expect. But expectations were out of the window right from the get go.

After all the flashing lights, and as the curtain dropped, to the sound of the wicked witch from The Wizard of Oz, they launched into “I’ll Supply The Love” complete with female singer leading the vocals.

Toto @Helsinki

Not only was the main voice missing they skipped “Running out of time” – the opening track from their quite brilliant XIV album.

After a couple of songs it became apparent that something was not quite right. It turns out that their singer, Joe Williams, had taken ill and was stranded in Stockholm. He had come down with pneumonia and was not able to fly.

Toto @Helsinki

Instead of cancelling the gig, the rest of the band decided to soldier on with their backing vocalists taking centre stage on numerous occasions.

Toto @Helsinki

It was a pretty brave move. To be honest their songs didn’t have quite the same appeal with these singers but they were capable and it gave their sound a different edge.

Toto @Helsinki

Toto have always been able to mix up their sound: jazz, funk, soul, blues, prog rock, R & B, pop and rock and although I was a bit disappointed about the vocals it was still a really good show. I can imagine them with a full complement.

Toto @Helsinki

A bigger disappointment perhaps was that the album they are promoting was hardly played at all. They played the quite brilliant “Orphan” but they missed out 4 other tracks that they had played over the previous nights.

However having missed out on these new songs, Helsinki was treated to “I’ll Be Over You” – a track they have not played too often in the latter years.

Toto @Helsinki

They, of course, played “Hold the Line”, “Rosanna” and ended the night with “Africa”. All very well received and playing for almost 2 hours.

Their full set is available on SetList.FM.