Live Review: Doobie Brothers Can’t Seem to Stop

Published on August 30th, 2010

August 14, 2010 - Some bands have built such a reputation for stellar live performances that expectations at any given show are set quite high. Known for tight harmonies and energetic musicianship, the Doobie Brothers are one of those bands. But they’re well aware of those expectations, and ready to exceed them.

While capping off a week of concerts that included legends like Ozzy Osbourne and Bob Dylan, superstars like Kid Rock, and stadium fillers Motley Crue and Scorpions would scare off most bands, the Doobies stepped up to the plate and knocked one out of the park for fans gathered on a cool Saturday night at the Legendary Buffalo Chip.

It was a thinner crowd on the final night of concerts on the Chip stage, but you better believe that those who held out were pumped to hear something from the Doobies.

Take Me in Your Arms” brought the band out in full force, with those signature harmonies and some impeccable guitar playing.

The main trio of the Brothers consists of eager frontman Tom Johnston, animated guitarist Pat Simmons, and multi-instrumentalist (but mostly guitarist) John McFee. Backed by a top notch rhythm and instrumental section, these three form a powerhouse that just can’t be stopped.

A frontman is expected to be full of energy, and Johnston defines that duty on stage. Waving his hands in the air and screaming at the crowd, to say that he’s fired up would be a huge understatement. On top of that, Johnston’s singing voice is in fine form with just enough roughness on the edges to give the songs a mature quality.

Simmons is a brilliant guitarist, but that’s old news to any fan. Dressed in black with long gray hair and his hat, he’s also an extremely versatile player with an unmistakable style (both in his look, and in his sound). Not to be forgotten is McFee, who brings his rich history with the band along with a voice that completes each Doobies harmony.

Top notch talent is the main theme of the remainder of this band. Bassist John Cowan is merely sitting in for the sidelined player Skylark, but when it came time for his lead vocal part during “Takin’ it to the Streets“, the crowd was in for a major talent shock. There was no Michael McDonald, but Cowan’s soaring and powerful voice was a thrilling surprise.

With a sound that could never get old, it might seem as if this band could tour on forever. However, 2010 is bringing out more than just another tour from the Doobies. There’s a new album on the horizon titled World Gone Crazy, and now making an appearance in the live set are three new tracks; the brilliant retake of “Nobody“, the southern tinged title track “World Gone Crazy“, and a delightfully catchy rocker titled “Chateau“. All signs are a go for this next album to be a winner.

Defying the concept of band aging, the Doobie Brothers continue to step up the game with each show. With a new release just weeks away, get ready to rock with this group for years to come.


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