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The Doobie Brothers in Concert

Ellen Levitt

Posted on September 9, 2022 22:10

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I saw the Doobie Brothers in concert for the first time, at Radio City Music Hall.

I had never seen the Doobie Brothers in concert before but had enjoyed listening to (and driving to) many of their songs over the years. I had a chance in the 1980s when my brother went to an outdoor show they gave in NY, but somehow passed on it. When I saw that they were playing at the always amazing Radio City Music Hall in midtown Manhattan, I decided to get a ticket. 

The Doobies are one of those classic rock bands that have never seemed hip or cutting edge, but their music is tuneful and enjoyable, well played and distinctive. I guess I wish I'd seen them in their heyday but seeing them as part of their extended 50th anniversary tour was a good idea too.

The show was at Radio City, and I realized as I entered the building that I hadn't seen a show here in quite a long time. Going back to the 1970s I'd seen a few movies here with my parents and brother. In the 1980s and early-mid 1990s, I saw concerts here starring REM, the Pet Shop Boys, Thomas Dolby, and other acts. It's a beautiful place with a wide array of Art Deco designs and details. It feels special to be here.

My seat for the Doobies was in the middle of the 3rd Mezzanine, and while that might not seem impressive, the seat was good. I sat in row 2 and the sight line was very good, as was the sound system.

I was surprised but, in this case, pleased that there was no opening act because I had to get up early for work the next day. The current band includes two original members (Tom Johnston and Patrick Simmons) along with two members who came on board in the 1970s (Michael McDonald and John McFee). Their touring players include Marc Quinones, who has played with the Allman Brothers Band. 

I was also surprised that they played some new songs. While they got the biggest reception for their durable huge hits such as "Listen to the Music", "What A Fool Believes," and "China Grove," the new songs did sound good and had energy. 

As I listened to the songs, I realized that my opinions about their music have changed over time, and certain songs have special meaning for me. I didn't always like "What A Fool Believes" (for whatever reason), but it has grown on me. I always adored "Listen to the Music," but for many years (at least 10), I had misheard the lyrics and sang them so differently (I'm too embarrassed to say how). "Taking It to the Streets" was a favorite of mine because it was used as the intro to a public-affairs show on a radio station in NY.

I really enjoyed hearing "Rockin' Down the Highway," "Without Love," and especially "Rock Me a Little While," which was originally a big hit for the Isley Brothers. Excellent band, excellent hall: an enjoyable evening! 

 

Ellen Levitt

Posted on September 9, 2022 22:10

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