Iconic Rock n' Roll HOF Band Bring Summer Leg of Their 50th Anniversary Tour To a Close To Appreciative Charleston Crowd
Jeff Walker, Entertainment Writer
The Doobie Brothers are an American institution, and Saturday (Sept 9th) night the legendary Hall of Fame rockers brought their 50th Anniversary Tour to a near sell out crowd at Credit One Stadium. With a treasure trove of classic rock radio favorites, including 16 Top 40 hits, The Doobies remain one of the most endearing bands to emerge during the 1970's.
While the line-up has changed over the years, the core of The Doobies has always been founding members Patrick Simmons and Tom Johnston, as well as long time iconic vocalist Michael McDonald, and guitarist John McFee who joined in 1978. Although Johnston couldn't join the boys due to back surgery earlier this year, The Doobies brought the summer leg of their anniversary tour to a close in Charleston, offering up two dozen songs much to the delight of casual and diehard fans.
Paying tribute to those who came before them, The Doobies kicked off their two and a half hour show with 'Take Me in Your Arms (Rock Me a Little While)'. The upbeat guitar laden track written by the legendary Motown team of Holland–Dozier–Holland the Top 20 hit from their 1975 release 'Stampede' set the tone for the evening. What ensued was pretty much a baby boomer soundtrack, as The Doobies offered up hit after hit, intertwined with rare album tracks, adding a couple of rare covers, including one giving nod to McDonald's time with Steely Dan.
With Simmons and McDonald sharing lead vocals, The Doobies ran pretty much thru their catalog throwing in 'Rockin' Down the Highway', 'You Belong to Me', and 'It Keeps You Runnin' before the halfway mark, with McDonald capping off the midpoint, putting his blue-eyed soul spin on 'I Heard it Through the Grapevine', a classic he recorded for his 2003 'Motown' release. With many concert goers 60 and older, every number was welcome with a majority of the crowd piping in on every familiar chorus.
When your body of work stands on its own there's no need for pomp and circumstance. With a lone backdrop displaying the 50th anniversary tour logo The Doobies let the songs take center stage. Simmons provided most of the interaction with the crowd introducing the backup musicians including Marc Russo who is one of the premier rock n' roll sax players in the business, saving introductions of his longtime bandmates Michael and John until the end.
McFee who celebrated his 73rd in Charleston got a resounding happy birthday sing-along from the crowd. Before jumping back into the songfest, Simmons made certain to thank fans for their support in helping the band get inducted into the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame back in 2020. Judging by the applause it was well deserved, and in my opinion long overdue.
'Real Love' to 'China Grove' encompassed seven of the band's most recognizable numbers including 'Jesus Is Just Alright', 'What A Fool Believes', and 'Long Train Runnin'. 21 songs deep The Doobie Brothers extended a hellacious shout out to each and every audience member, thanking them for their support over five decades.
After a short exodus and the stadium aglow with cellphone lights, The Doobie Brothers returned for a four song power punched encore beginning with 'Black Water'. The 1974 track off 'What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits' became the bands first chart topping single. The guys followed with 'Takin' It to the Streets' from the 1976 album of the same, and the first to include McDonald. A musical spotlight version of Paul Simon's 'Still Crazy After All These Years' featuring McDonald and Russo was a nice segue way into the big finish.
That left just one of their signature hits, as the guys went right into 'Listen To the Music'. The 1972 Top 10 from their second album 'Toulouse Street' pretty much put The Doobie Brothers on the map. Dedicating the iconic song to their late friend Jimmy Buffett who had always been well received in Charleston drew an even more thunderous applause.
Again extending appreciation to the crowd for faithfully following the band for over 50 years, The Doobie Brothers gave a nod to former guitarist Jeff 'Skunk' Baxter by closing out their show with Steely Dan's 'Pretzel Logic'. Before joining The Doobie Brothers in 1974, Baxter toured and recorded with Steely Dan, eventually bringing McDonald over with him when Steely Dan decided they no longer preferred to tour. Obviously it was divine intervention that led Baxter and McDonald to one of the most iconic rock bands of the 1970's.
Despite Johnston not being able to join The Doobie Brothers on the summer leg of their 50th Anniversary tour, Patrick, Michael, and John put on one hell of a show. With the principles on the other side of 70, their voices have held up well, and musically they are as tight as ever. Few bands can blend pop, rock, funk, country, gospel, and blue-eyed soul as well as The Doobie Brothers. The tour resumes in late September with four dates in the states before moving on to Canada in October. For up to date tour info visit https://thedoobiebrothers.com/pages/tour