Toto @ The Tivoli


Ever since I have started going to gigs one of my main thoughts as I walk up to the venue concerns just how popular the band playing is and how many people will be there; my ultimate nightmare is that they’ll be playing to near empty room of the proverbial three men and a dog sat at the bar, with me right at the front taking photos.

Walking up the The Tivoli you normally get a measure of the band’s popularity by the number of people walking through the quiet streets leading to the venue, the people waiting outside the front door and the first sight of the venue’s outside smoking area. None of these signs showed much promise so it was a bit of a surprise to walk in and find the venue already mostly filled by 8:30pm. The upstairs section was open, although it included seating around the balcony; a sizeable crowd but not at full capacity.

I guess the lesson learnt is that the (best known) late 70s/early 80s MOR stylings of Toto are more popular in a small town like Brisbane than I had initially given credit for.

Great lighting but no barrier, with my choice of side to photograph from proving my undoing. I chose the left-hand side of the stage, which is my preferred side, especially when photographing right-handed guitarists. It also gave me the best view of drummer Simon Phillips and singer Bobby Kimball, whose microphone was set up on this side, with Steve Lukather being in the middle of the stage. The main downside of this was that Steve Lukather’s microphone was set up with the main boom going sideways across him; this meant that from my viewpoint, for the most part, he had the microphone stand across him, even when he stood back to solo. In hindsight I should have changed sides at some point during my three songs, especially when each of the songs included an extended solo/jam in the middle and at the end. If I had grabbed my stuff, squeezed through crowd to the back of the room, crossed to the other side and made my way back to the front at the start of the guitar solo in the second song I reckon I could have made it by the time the solo finished…

But I didn’t, and afterwards ended up watching the rest of the gig from the right-hand side of the stage wishing that I had changed sides during my three songs as the viewpoint was so much better.

Leland Sklar

Leland Sklar

I think I may have said it before but I prefer taking photos of older, more established musicians. These guys have been there, done that, bought the T-shirt. You’ve got someone like Leland Sklar playing bass – he’s an extraordinary looking guy (with Lukather making Lord of the Rings gags whilst introducing him…) and, therefore, an amazingly photogenic man and his list of recording credits is phenomenal. And you look at the rest of Toto’s combined recording credits and it’s amazing – Lukather’s Wikipedia entry credits him with having “arranged, composed, and recorded on over 800 number one albums”. Although I think 799 were probably ‘Thriller’…

So I’d much rather photograph musicians who have experienced life rather than the latest Sydney/Melbourne haircut band or the latest music media darlings who Triple J are playing ad nauseum. I’m not too sure if there is a difference between the two…

Fun gig. Cheesy as, but they know it, the crowd knows it, and they all love it. Watched a large part of the gig stood next to this – well, I was going to say middle-aged, but I guess these days I’m middle-aged which must make him old – guy who was punching the air and shouting “You rock, you rock”. And that was after a 10 minute keyboard solo. Seriously…

More photos on flickr.

Simon Phillips

Bobby Kimball

Steve Lukather

Steve Lukather

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