Yes & Toto Announce Co-Headlining North American Tour
Toto guitarist Steve Lukather tells Billboard what to expect on the summer trek.
Hot on the heels of Toto's return to the Billboard 200 after a 25-year hiatus, the veteran rock band announced today (April 6) that it will embark on a five-week co-headlining tour with English prog-rockers Yes, starting on Aug. 7. "It's an exciting time for us -- we couldn't ask for a better set-up," Toto guitarist Steve Lukather tells Billboard exclusively. "We're hoping that one plus one equals three."
The 26-date trek begins at Foxwoods Casino's Grand Theater in Mashantucket, Conn., then winds across the United States with notable stops at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Borgata Hotel & Casino Event Center in Atlantic City, the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, and the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles before ending at the Hard Rock Casino in Vancouver on Sept. 12.
"Promoters always want to lump together bands who made records in the late '70s and early '80s, but until now we've avoided touring with the obvious people," says Lukather. "But Yes are childhood heroes of ours, so this pairing is a dream come true. Plus, maybe we'll win over some new fans, because we've always had a prog-y edge to us."
For Toto, Toto XIV, its first studio album in nearly 10 years, marks the return of singer Joseph Williams, original keyboardist Steve Porcaro and original bassist David Hungate. (Longtime bassist Mike Porcaro died of ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease, on March 15.) Following its March 24 release, Toto XIV debuted on the Billboard 200 at No. 98, the band's first appearance on the chart since the 1990 greatest hits album Past to Present.
According to Lukather, fans can expect a mix of new songs, deep cuts and, of course, Toto's signature hits "Africa," "Rosanna" and "Hold the Line" during the band's set. "Those big hits really strike a chord with people. But we've had a lot more hits than people give us credit for -- from '99' and 'Georgy Porgy' to 'Pamela' and 'Stop Loving You' -- and we have a lot more depth, too. I hate the label 'soft rock' -- what a lame term. Yeah, you can certainly call some of our ballads that, but when you see us live you'll go, 'This isn't a soft-rock band.' But that label gives us an advantage because we have the element of surprise. People who've never seen us before walk away saying, 'Wow, I didn't think you were going to be that good!' "
As for Yes, the band will release a 14-disc live box set in May titled Progeny: Seven Shows From Seventy-Two featuring recently unearthed recordings from its acclaimed 1972 tour. Then, on July 7, Like It Is, a new live CD/DVD recorded at Mesa Arts Center in Mesa, Ariz., will be released.
Here are Yes & Toto’s 2015 North American tour dates:
Aug. 7: Mashantucket, Conn. (Foxwoods Grand Theater)
Aug. 8: Newark, N.J. (New Jersey Performing Arts Center)
Aug. 9: Atlantic City, N.J. (Borgata Hotel & Casino Event Center)
Aug. 11: Brooklyn, N.Y. (Barclays Center)
Aug. 12: Baltimore, Md. (Pier Six Pavilion)
Aug. 14: Huber Heights, Ohio (Music Center at The Heights)
Aug. 15: Sterling Heights, Mich. (Freedom Hill Amphitheatre)
Aug. 16: Chicago, Ill. (FirstMerit Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island)
Aug. 18: Des Moines, Iowa (Iowa State Fair Grandstand)
Aug. 19: Saint Charles, Mo. (Family Arena)
Aug. 21: Biloxi, Miss. (Beau Rivage Theater)
Aug. 22: Alpharetta, Ga. (Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park)
Aug. 23: Clearwater, Fla. (Ruth Eckerd Hall)
Aug. 25: Houston, Texas (Cynthia Woods Pavilion)
Aug. 26: San Antonio, Texas (Majestic Theatre)
Aug. 27: Grand Prairie, Texas (Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie)
Aug. 30: Littleton, Colo. (Denver Botanic Gardens—Chatfield)
Aug. 31: Salt Lake City, Utah (Red Butte Garden Amphitheatre)
Sept. 2: Tucson, Ariz. (AVA Amphitheater)
Sept. 4: Scottsdale, Ariz. (Talking Stick Resort & Casino)
Sept. 5: Pala, Calif. (Pala Casino Starlight Theater)
Sept. 6: Los Angeles, Calif. (The Greek Theatre)
Sept. 8: Saratoga, Calif. (Mountain Winery)
Sept. 10: Shelton, Wash. (Little Creek Casino Event Center)
Sept. 11: Airway Heights, Wash. (Northern Quest Casino)
Sept. 12: Coquitlam, British Columbia (Hard Rock Casino Vancouver)