It was night of healing at the Key Club in West Hollywood, Ca. The Sunset Strip Rock & Roll Relief Fund Charity Benefit for the Victims of Hurricane Katrina was the place to be last night. It was tough not to think about the destruction Hurricane Katrina dealt the South with the images constantly being shown above the stage.
Before "Toto" hit the stage there were many great musicians that had already performed. Howard Leese (Heart, Paul Rodgers), Gary Beers & Jon Farris (INXS), Uriah Duffy (Whitesnake, Pat Travers), Keith St. John (Montrose), & Keith Emerson (ELP). "Toto" tonight consisted of Steve Lukather (g), Bobby Kimball (v), David Paich(k), Sean McNabb (Great White, Quiet Riot,b) & Richie Onori (Heaven & Earth, d). It was a loose, fun & very enjoyable 5 song set.
The set opened with Luke leading the way on the Hendrix classic Little wing. The highlight of the night was next as Slash (Guns 'n' Roses/Velvet Revolver) joined the gang on guitar for Z.Z. Tops' Tush. The crowd was given updates as to where Slash was because he flew in just for this show. Luke gave the crowd the good news as Slash recieved the biggest cheers of the night as he walked on stage. We were reminded why we were there when Luke introduced Louisiana native Bobby Kimball to sing the Toto crowd favorite Hold the line. Luke told us that Bobby had lost 22 friends & family members. Luke & Slash traded leads back & forth as Slash stayed on board for the rest of the set. Stuart Smith from Heaven & Earth joined the party to give a hand on guitar. Carmine Appice (Rod Stewart,Ozzy) sat behind the drum kit for a couple of numbers as the fun continued.
Carmine told me later how much fun it was to play with Luke. The set became more festive on the final two numbers, Stevie Wonders' Superstition & Free's All right now. Stu Simone (Heaven & Earth, Poison) helped out on keyboards as David Paich joined Keith St. John on background vocals. I had a chance to talk to Uriah Duffy, the new young bass player in Whitesnake. Uriah told me: "I'd never seen Steve Lukather play before. I was aware of his talent so I was looking forward to seeing him play. Now I am looking forward to going back & listening to some of his older work. He's great. I'd seen Slash play before. It was a unique experience seeing Steve play with Slash. They have different styles but they worked well together."
Steve Lukather put the night in perspective when he told the crowd. "We're here having a few drinks listening to some cool music. We don't realize how lucky we are. Those people down there aren't so lucky. So give whatever you can. If it's five bucks that's cool. If it's a million bucks then that's cool too. Whatever you can give it all makes a difference". The nights charaties were the American Red Cross & Operation America.
Stevelukather.com, September 19th 2005