It was a long awaited return home for Steve Lukather and his band. There were instant reminders that the boys were back home in the Los Angeles area. The first reminder was the horrendous Los Angeles Friday traffic that took some of the guys as long as two hours to get to the gig. Next reminder was the magnificent Pacific Ocean view just steps away from the venue entrance and the 90 degree mid October temperature. But the best reminder was all the "family" and friends that turned out to the Brixton in Redondo Beach,Ca. Lee Ritenour (Fourplay, guitar legend), Fee Waybill (The Tubes) and Chuck Wright (Quiet Riot, Guffria) were among the musicians that turned out along with a few former longtime Toto Crew members to lend their magical talents to this star studded gig.
Once again Trevor Lukather opened for his dad in this hometown gig. But this time Trevor played under the moniker SlideAway. SlideAway is a four piece band led by Trevor on lead guitar and vocals. I have not seen Trevor in a while but he has grown leaps and bounds as a guitar player and as a young man. With no sound check at all SlideAway played a smokin' 45 minute set that had family friend Ritenour smiling from ear to ear as Lee got to the gig just in time to see the young Lukather show the crowd his talented guitar playing and singing. It's easy to see how Trevor has become such a great musician with Ritenour, Eddie Van Halen, Lenny Castro and Waybill, just to name a very few to be counted among the many musically talented family friends.
Luke and his band Steve Weingart (keyboards vocals), Eric Valentine (drums vocals) and Carlitos del Puerto (bass vocals) had not played a gig in two months. But despite that and a very limited sound check they didn't miss a beat. After openers "Twist a Knife/Drive a Crooked Road" Luke and Co. slammed straight into three numbers from "Ever Changing Times'. The title track, "How Many Zeros" and the Steely Dan tribute "Stab in the Back". The Steely tribute featured Luke on talk box guitar.
Long time friend Fee Waybill joined the guys on lead vocals on the Tubes huge Radio hit "Talk to Ya Later." Fee told the crowd how Luke and he (along with David Foster) wrote that song in about an hour! Fee also came out later in the show to sing lead vocals on the encore number the Pink Floyd cover "Shine on You Crazy Diamond". A new number to the set since the last run through this area was "I'm Buzzed' the Michael Landau penned number. This was a great addition to the set list as this groovin' number had the whole place tappin' their toes and bobbin' their heads.
Earlier in sound check in front of only a lucky few I realized something. With no distractions I realized I forget what a great singer Luke is. That fact seems to get lost in the shuffle with his blazing guitar taking the focus off of his outstanding vocal abilities. Luke's vocals stood out even more than usual on "Never Walk Alone". A Los Angeles area gig is a good thing and a bad thing. All of your friends are there but in this case all of your friends are top notch musicians. But in this case everything turned out great as every one walked away from this show with a huge smile on their face.
Before, during and after the show I had a chance to talk to Luke, Lee Ritenour and Fee Waybill. I asked Luke about his induction into the Musicians Hall of Fame along with David Paich, David Hungate, Mike, Jeff and Steve Porcaro this past Monday in Nashville. Luke told me "It was great, all the families were there. Joe Porcaro was up there playing. We got love from all the cats there. We got love from Charlie Daniels, Billy Cox, Dick Dale, the Rascal Flatts guys, EVERYBODY! We jammed with Rascal Flatts. All the kids were there. Larry Fitzgerald and Mark Hartley (Toto Managers) were there. It was so much fun!"
I told Luke how I got to spend a little time with David Hungate recently as Hungate is playing bass in my friend Vince Gills' band. Luke told me "Hungate is a sweet, sweet guy. I love ALL those guys. There was nothing but love there that night!" Right before Trevor's set I spotted Lee Ritenour and took him backstage to meet Luke. Luke upon spotting Lee said "RITENOUR! Hey, I didn't know you were coming! Thanks for coming Lee! Do You know Fee Waybill?" After the set by Luke Lee told me "It was great! Steve sounds better than ever! Fee Waybill told me before the show "I wanted to come out to see Luke. He was out on the road and then I was out on the road. I wanted to make sure I got to see him. Sometimes our schedules make it hard to see each other. I was going to go to the Show at the Roxy I wanted to make sure I got out to support him." So it was a great night of music, friends and family. Another reunion of sorts!
Stevelukather.com, October 16th 2009