DVD/CD Review: Toto - Live At Montreux 1991

Toto deliver a killer performance in this 1991 Montreux Jazz Festival performance.
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The year 1991 was one of transition for the members of Toto. It found guitarist Steve Lukather taking over the role of lead vocalist after singer Jean-Michel Byron's short stint with the band and the group's tour proved to be the last one with the late brothers Jeff and Mike Porcaro as Jeff passed away shortly after the release of 1992's Kingdom Of Desire. While on tour, the band made a stop at the famed Montreux Jazz Festival, playing old hits and covers, as well as previewing tracks from Kingdom Of Desire. The show was filmed and makes up the DVD/CD Toto -- Live At Montreux 1991.

After an introduction from Quincy Jones and festival founder Claude Nobs, the band launch into the driving hard rock of "On The Run." For those who only know Toto for their pop hits, the heavy guitar riff might be surprising, yet the song maintains the melody and big choruses that are the band's hallmark. Originally intended for Kingdom Of Desire, the song didn't see an official release until several years later on a compilation. Lukather delivers a blistering solo on this killer opening track.

The title track from Kingdom Of Desire follows. Lukather gives a bluesy vocal on this hard-edged mid-tempo number with an exotic riff recalling Led Zeppelin. The band seems to relish being able to rock out like this, with Lukather punishing his guitar and Jeff Porcaro's powerful drumming driving the track.

The band delivers a pair of hits in "I'll Be Over You" and "Africa." The former showcases a heartfelt vocal from Lukather while the latter displays the formidable drumming prowess of Jeff Porcaro. Keyboardist David Paich reprises his vocals on the verses of "Africa" while the backing vocalists handle the high parts once performed by original vocalist Bobby Kimball. The result is an excellent version faithful to the original.

A pair of killer covers bookend a strong "Rosanna" to end the show. "Red House" finds Lukather doing Jimi Hendrix proud with a gritty vocal and some incredible blues licks of his own while the set-closing "I Want To Take You Higher" is an exhilarating slice of rock and funk energy with several Montreux performers, including Greg Phillanganes joining the band for a rousing end to the show.

The video is presented in 16:9 widescreen format and looks good, especially for its age. The audio is well mixed and is available in Dolby Digital Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS Surround Sound. The DVD and CD feature the same songs.

Fans of Toto will want to check this out. Not only is it a chance to see footage from the last tour with Jeff and Mike Porcaro, the band gives a great performance, delivering hits, new songs and covers. The group's considerable musical prowess is on display here and it is well worth checking out.