Toto – All Us Boys – The Early Live Years (Apocalypse Sound AS 127)
Agora Ballroom, Cleveland, OH – February 2, 1979: Introduction, Girl Goodbye, Manuela Run, Tale Of A Man, Rockmaker, I’ll Supply The Love, Hold The Line, Hey Little Girl, Georgy Porgy, All Us Boys
Koseinenkin Kaikan, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan – March 12,1980: Hydra, I’ll Supply The Love, 99, Mama, Tale Of A Man, Georgy Porgy, Hold The Line, White Sister, Members Introduction, All Us Boys
All Us Boys – The Early Live Years from Apocalypse Sound is best described in its title. It features two of the earliest known pro shot live performances from Toto. The first half of the DVD was filmed at the Agora Ballroom on 2/2/79 and was first aired as Onstage At The Agora as seen at the beginning. This version is sourced from a Japanese rebroadcast including subtitles and voice commentary scattered throughout, sometimes during the music but mostly in between tracks. The audio is superb and video quality is slightly fuzzy under certain lighting but is otherwise very clear with decent color.
The set list is primarily made up of tracks from their debut release with the exception of “Tale Of A Man”, which wouldn’t get released until the bands twentieth anniversary title, Toto XX , “All Us Boys” from the unfinished second album and the still unreleased “Hey Little Girl”. The band is very well rehearsed and is accompanied by Tom Kelly on backing vocals and additional guitar and Lenny Castro on percussion, backing vocals and cigarettes. Tom Kelly, whom I haven’t seen with Toto outside of this particular video, pretty much plays second guitar to Steve Lukather but adds quite a bit vocally even doubling lead vocal parts for strength. Bobby Kimball’s voice is very strong and the band delivers an energetic performance.
The coda of “I’ll Supply The Love” for some reason was edited out from the broadcast going to a commercial break. “Hold The Line” has an extended vamp at the end where Kimball gets the crowd to join in and “Hey Little Girl” contains a blistering guitar solo from Luke. Overall, this is a smokin’ performance from start to finish, even if a few of the tunes are a bit cliché to the time period.
The second half of this DVD from Apocalypse Sound features the bands first visit to Japan in support of their sophomore effort, Hydra. It contains the Japanese television broadcast Live In Tokyo, which was the bands second to last show in Japan on this tour. The audio again is top notch but the video is a small step down compared to the Agora video. The close ups are clear enough but the distant shots are somewhat hazy looking. I am not complaining by any means as this is still very enjoyable, I’m just pointing out that it is not as sharp as the Agora.
The performance once again is right on and the new material from Hydra shows maturity in the song writing. Luke does a beautiful solo at the end of “99” that is unfortunately interrupted by a broken string throwing his guitar out of tune but he handles it very well and makes the best of it. This is probably the most progressive era for Toto and they are showing off a funkier style as well. Steve Lukather really shines in this show and it’s amazing he wasn’t glorified more as a guitar god because he could certainly keep up with the best during the guitar craze of the early 80s. Vocal harmonies are outstanding and the band is augmented once again this time adding Keith Landry on backing vocals and occasional guitars. He handles a lot of the high vocal parts and helps the band recreate their sound on record. During the band introductions Jeff Porcaro is introduced as the “hardest working drummer in the rock and roll business today”. This being a very true statement considering the vast amount of session work he did. Comically the band nearly forgets to introduce Bobby Kimball on lead vocals and judging by his reaction, this was not staged. This show was also captured in a very good audience source that was released by Masterport a few years back as Hydra In Tokyo.
All Us Boys – The Early Live Years is packaged in a tri-fold DVD cardboard case with some screen shots from the videos inside and the submenus give access to the individual shows as well as the separate tracks. This will be a nice title for Toto fans to pick up especially where it is on a pressed DVD and the quality of these performances probably won’t get much better unless they become available officially. Other than Tarantura’s recent CD release, Japanese Eyes, Toto hasn’t gotten much coverage on silver product since the small slew of Zion titles that came out a few years ago and Apocalypse Sound should be commended for making this title available.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)