From what little I know about progressive rock bands, I know that Toto reached popular status with 1982's Toto IV album, which included the hit singles "Africa" and "Rosanna." Nevertheless, I was surprised to see that they've continued to perform and release albums in some version or another. As the '80s waned down and the US album sales dwindled, they continued to release records, finding Top 10 success in Sweden and Norway.
While they catered to the Nordic demographic, the band managed to have a following in Europe and Japan as well, and this concert, supporting the Falling in Between album, was recorded at Le Zenith in Paris. The Parisian arena was sold out and its crowd was frothing for the musical stylings of Toto, and they got it in spades. The set list for the show was:
"Falling in Between"
"King of the World"
"Bottom of Your Soul"
"Caught in the Balance"
"Don't Chain My Heart"
"Hold the Line"
"Stop Loving You"
"I'll Be Over You"
"I'll Supply the Love"
"Gift of Faith"
"Kingdom of Desire"
"Taint Your World"
"Drag Him to the Roof"
There was even a couple of solos (one from singer/guitarist Steve "Luke" Lukather, one from keyboardist Greg Phillinganes and a final solo from Simon Phillips, who performed with The Who in the years following Keith Moon's death). Combine those performances with those of bassist Leland Sklar (whose long grey beard makes him pass for the forgotten fourth member of ZZ Top), guitarist Tony Spinner and singer Bobby Kimball, you get nearly two hours of capable harmonies, keyboard riff rocking and eye-closing vocals that are bound to be pleasant and innocuous for the ears and eyes.
While the concert is good and the performances by the musicians are without concern, there is an unfortunate postscript to the Falling in Between tour. Lukather, who had been with the band from the beginning, had simply become burnt out from the grind of performing. With the mutual agreement of the other band members, the band broke up shortly after this 2007 performance. While devotees of the band unfortunately will not be able to see them in concert anymore, Toto has scores of albums and performance discs (this concert is the second Blu-ray concert from the band, following 2006's Live in Amsterdam disc) that will make people remember the good times and yes, even hold the line.The Blu-ray:
Presented in 1080i high definition using the AVC MPEG-4 codec and in 1.78:1 widescreen, Falling in Between Live looks sharp on Blu-ray. Image detail is good on the tight shots (I could almost spot what the tattoo said on Luke's arm), and on the wider crowd shots, depth is abundant and background clarity is solid. Blacks are deep and consistent and the disc handles the arena lighting without noise issues or noticeable edge enhancement.Audio:
Eagle Rock gives Falling in Between Live you two-channel LCPM stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 surround (lossy) and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless sound options. I went for the lossless track and I was surprised. Low end activity by the bass and percussion provides punch when it's called upon, vocals are clear without any complaint, and crowd noise is effective. The audio places you in the middle of the crowd, with music mixed well and sounding good in the front channels. Eagle Rock continues to bring the goods on concert discs in both sound and picture, and this disc is no exception.Extras:
The only extra is a series of interviews with the band members (28:07), where the members talk about the band, musical influences, their role in the band and their thoughts on the other members.Final Thoughts:
Eagle Rock continues to head the list of studios releasing quality high-definition presentations from performances featuring a variety of acts. With Falling in Between Live, Toto gives their legions of fans a fond farewell, with an entertaining performance accentuated by outstanding technical qualities. If you're a fan and have a Blu-ray player, it behooves you to pick this puppy up.