Toto Says Farewell, as David Paich Returns on ‘Africa’

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Toto in their early days

Toto’s 40th anniversary tour stretched over two years and at the time, the band’s guitarist and founding member, Steve Lukather, said the band’s performance on Oct. 20, 2019, in Philadelphia, Pa., was their last. Though it turned out not to be the case, it was fitting that co-founder David Paich – who took what essentially became a permanent leave of absence in 2018 due to health issues – joined the band at the evening’s close to sing “Africa.” Watch the performance below.

While on tour in Europe in 2018 during Toto‘s extended “40 Trips Around the Sun” tour, Paich, the keyboardist who wrote or co-wrote the group’s biggest hits “Hold the Line,” “99,” “Rosanna” and “Africa,” took ill. As Lukather told the Pennsylvania newspaper, The Morning Call, “He just fell out on the bus – had some sort of a seizure or something like that. We went home and he had to retire from touring because of his health.

Toto in a 2017 publicity photo

“He can sing. He’s up and about and he’s happy and he’s walking around. But he’s not built for speed anymore. This kind of lifestyle is way harder than people think it is.”

In July 2018, the band acknowledged that Paich wouldn’t be joining them for their next dates. “The recent European appearances took a toll on his personal well-being, and it is in his best interests to forego the impact the rigorous wear and tear being on the road brings until he is feeling 100 percent.”

As for Toto coming to an end, Lukather told The Morning Call: “We’re calling it a day, kinda. We’ve had some horrendous litigation. Horrendous, horrendous, awful, mean, you-gotta-be-kidding-me kind of lawsuits, and we lost the suit. So it beat us down.

“So we gotta get away from this. We gotta get away from the whole thing. It’s just been tainted by a psychotic human being. That’s all I can say.

“But, you know, we worked really hard and this is a great way to … I can’t say we’ll never…”

On Oct. 21, on the band’s Facebook page, Lukather wrote: “It’s been one hell of a ride and YOU all made that happen !! It’s been a joy and honor and you will [see] us down the road in one way or another.. not the same.. can’t be anymore.”

Paich returned for a surprise guest appearance on Sept. 20 at the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles to sing the classic rock favorite, “Africa,” and then the encore, “Home of the Brave.”

Exactly one month later, at the Metropolitan Opera House in Philadelphia on Oct. 20, Paich joined his bandmates, including co-founder / keyboardist Steve Porcaro and longtime lead vocalist, Joseph Williams, once more.

Watch Toto – with Paich – perform “Africa” on Oct. 20, 2019 in Philadelphia

A year later, Lukather and Williams announced a new Toto lineup, with… Paich.  Joining the trio as new band members were the music veterans: bassist John Pierce (Huey Lewis and the News), drummer Robert “Sput” Searight (Ghost-Note / Snarky Puppy), and keyboardist / background vocalist Steve Maggiora (Robert Jon & The Wreck). Keyboardist Dominique “Xavier” Taplin (Prince, Ghost-Note) and multi-instrumentalist / vocalist Warren Ham (Ringo Starr and the All-Star Band) also continue their tenure in the ensemble.

Of all of Toto’s great singles, Paich only sang lead on “Africa.” The song was released in 1982 and reached #1 on the Hot 100 on February 5, 1983. Its official video has more than 530 million views on YouTube.

Toto formed in 1977 in Los Angeles by the friends and session musician veterans Paich and Jeff Porcaro, and were quickly joined by Steve Porcaro, their Van Nuys, Calif., high school friend, Lukather, and Bobby Kimball and David Hungate.

Related: Our feature on Toto’s late co-founder / drummer Jeff Porcaro

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