The jam packed venue was treated to two all instrumental sets that were a combination of the Greg Mathieson Project Super Live 1981 record and songs from the band's musical heros. Luke told the crowd "We haven't played these songs in 26 years. It's kinda like being on acid without the acid!" Abe Jr. is a MONSTER player who hits a heavy beat but then brings it down when needed. I have never seen him play better. It's no wonder Abe is Paul McCartney's choice to play drums on his huge worldwide tours.
The trade-offs between Greg and Luke's maniacal solos combined with the thunder provided by Abe and Sklar made for an unforgettable night of music. When I aked Abe how it was playing with Sklar he said "Are you kidding? It's GREAT! He's the BEST! This is great playing with these guys!" There was a sense everyone in the crowd had that we were ALL in the "it" place to be that night.
Right from the start the first song of the night was from Super Live 1981 Bomp Me. The night continued with other numbers from the same CD that included First time around, Spud shuffle, the groovin' Thank you and the ballad Goe. The songs that were played in tribute to their heros included different versions of Jeff Beck's The pump in both sets, Miles Davis' All blues and a Robin Trower number. The sets were evenly balanced with numbers played with such fire and energy that the next numbers REQUIRED the boys to follow with some slow burners. Noboby could keep up their pace for a long period of time. These guys are such perfectionists and so critical of themselves that Luke called the first set "a rehearsal". When I asked Mathieson about the first set he dubbed it "OK".
It was a family affair as usual at the placed affectionately reffered to as "The Spud". Steve's son Trevor watched the entire show intently and in admiration from just a few feet away. Luke said about Sklar "He showd me the ropes when I was just a kid coming up". Matheison was so used to saying Abe Laborial on bass that when he intoruced drummer Abe Jr. he said "Abe Laborial on bass". EVERYONE in the band laughed and understood why that mistake was made. Bass playing Abe Sr. has been part of the "family" for years now too. "Brother" Simon Phillips from Toto told me about the first set "It was great! Beautiful! I've gotta go say hey to Luke before I go."
Phil Soussan, Luke's pal and writing partner said "I'm writing some lyrics for another song for the record". When I talked to Sklar about his videotaping for the Toto Network he told me "It's just something that I do for fun. I enjoy doing it. I couldn't really do any taping here tonight". He also added about the new recording. "We're going back in to do two more songs. I'm looking forward to hearing the record". About working with Abe he said almost the same thing that Abe said about him. "He's great. Easy to work with". Both Abe & Sklar told me they hadn't heard any of the record since they laid down the rhythm tracks. They both also told me they were looking forward to hearing the record now. This made me feel both guilty and priveleged. These great players BOTH played on the record and havn't heard it and I was lucky enough to get to hear it earlier in the day.
Seeing such great music being played by such great musicians ALWAYS makes for a great night when Luke and company plays the Baked Potato. Our day started at the studio at 11 a.m and ended at 2 a.m. the next morning! After a very long day Luke chatted after the gig, signed pictures and CD's with whoever wanted to do so. This gave me an even greater appreciation for what these guys go through!
Stevelukather.com, February 10th 2007