Thursday, July 16, 2015

Doobie Brothers at Frederik Meijer Gardens ~ 7/5/15

We had a new strategy tonight. Instead of waiting in line for an hour to get a close seat, we would wait to arrive until 15 minutes before the concert was scheduled to begin. So we got there at 6:45 (45 minutes after the doors opened) and the lines were still there! Ugh! But we got in in about 10 minutes and found a nice space on the side, shared with the evergreens. 
We started to set up our chairs but were informed by a Meijer volunteer that our chairs could not be in between the white sprayed painted lines. Those were reserved for people who bought the white plastic chair seats. Sitting behind this group, outside white line, was our next option but our neighbors to the front kindly offered to move up so we could fit in the space. Cheers to being a good neighbor!
Lara Johnston (daughter of Doobie founding member Tom Johnston) was the opening act and she started just a minute or two after seven. She had a powerful voice but we didn't care for her music. She did have a stage presence, however, strutting the stage in what we call stripper heels (with an alien in the background :-).
She did do the most talking of the evening as she described watching the fireworks downtown Grand Rapids the evening before. "You guys know how to celebrate in the bestest way." Sigh. She finished by 7:30 and we had to wait until 8:00 for the Doobies to appear. And it was steamy hot.
We spotted our son and his friends on the other side of the amphitheater and tested the camera's zoom capability ~ it was good. But I still walked over to say hi :-)
From our vantage point, we easily spotted the Doobies arriving and assembling on stage left.
They boldly opened with the blockbuster "Jesus is Just Alright with Me," and it was grand.
There are two founding members still with the group, Patrick Simmons and Tom Johnston (1969). John McFee has been with the group since 1978, and group itself has been off and on again through the years. This tour they were joined by saxophonist, Marc Russo, and bassist, John Cowan, who played with the group in the early nineties and joined again in 2010 as their touring bass player. There's the line-up.
They took turns behind the microphone.
McFee was amazing as he continually switched among what seemed to be a dozen different instruments.
And everyone was taking pictures.
The group continued to march through their set with energy and power, and with very little talk. They were on a mission to put on a great show by playing great music. No banter required.
They performed all the songs they knew we'd want to hear, and added a few newer numbers. I didn't think about Michael McDonald until they sang "Takin' it to the Streets" and we didn't miss him. "Long Train Running" closed their set, just shy of 1 1/2 hours of playing.  They didn't make us wait long for their three number encore ~ they were back on stage in 2 minutes to perform "China Grove," "Road Angel," and "Listen to the Music."
And, then they were gone. Peace out, Doobies, until next time. You still put on a fantastic show, and are indeed a long train running! 

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