Virginia Beach, Virginia – Rock and Roll Hall of Famers from San Jose, California, The Doobie Brothers, needed no introduction as they took the stage at Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater (aka Virginia Beach Amphitheater) on a warm summer night June 13th, 2022. No pandemic protocols were needed at the venue, but the band, unfortunately, had to postpone five dates in early June due to touring members contracting Covid. Thankfully, all were well for the Virginia show.
For the 50th Anniversary Tour, naturally the first song “Nobody,” which they released in 1971, kicked off the night. It was sung by Tom Johnston, one of the original Doobie Brothers. Next, from the first notes on guitar, the crowd knew what was coming as the band jumped straight into “Take Me In Your Arms (Rock Me)” from Stampede (1975). This song played constantly in the 1970’s so I remembered every word. Then as soon as Michael McDonald sang the first line of “Here to Love You,” the crowd broke out with applause thrilled to hear his incredible and distinctive voice fill the amphitheater. Marc Russo chimed in affirming he is an absolute master on saxophone and added the jolt of jazz needed for this tune from 1978. (See the full setlist below.)
The middle of the 24-song setlist featured two songs from the band’s new 2021 album LIBERTÉ, a few lesser-known songs, and also hits like “Rockin’ Down the Highway,” “Eyes of Silver,” “Minute by Minute,” and “Jesus Is Just Alright (The Art Reynolds Singers cover)” which also inspired versions by DC Talk and Stryper.
The last six songs had the entire amphitheater of faithful Doobie Brothers fans on their feet dripping in nostalgia. Michael McDonald brilliantly performed “What a Fool Believes (Kenny Loggins cover)” and belted incredible vocal runs in “Takin’ It to the Streets” while hammering the lead on keys. “Long Train Runnin’,” sung brilliantly by Tom Johnston, featured various solos on bass, saxaphone and drums. Marc Russo’s sax solo stood out as one of the best I have ever heard.
Next, the band rocked the venue with “China Grove” featuring masterful guitar solos by Tom Johnston and John McFee. Tom’s vocals sounded just like the good ol’ days – smooth but powerful. Things then got funky with one of my Doobie Brothers favorites, “Black Water” sung by Pat Simmons. In my mind I could still hear my singer/songwriter brothers Buddy and Glenn Hudson mimicking this song’s perfect harmonies when we were young. To end the night, Tom Johnston sang “Listen to the Music” perfectly, but the crowd drowned him out during the chorus much to the delight of the band. Belting out this popular tune to end the night had the fans flying high.
As time marches on, sometimes even the most iconic bands start to fade. However, this was not the case for the Doobie Brothers. Their voices and musical talent have definitely withstood the test of time. Over 50 years, this incredible group of top musicians has released 15 studio albums and will forever leave its mark as one of the most beloved classic rock bands of all time.
Band Members: Tom Johnston (guitar, vocals), Pat Simmons (guitar, vocals), John McFee (guitars, vocals violin), and Michael McDonald (keyboards & vocals). Original band members are Tom Johnston and Pat Simmons. Touring musicians are John Cowan (bass), Mark Quinones (percussion & vocals), Ed Toth (drums) and Marc Russo (saxophone).
The Doobie Brothers performing “Don’t Ya Mess With Me” from their new 2021 Album Liberté Live From Jimmy Kimmel Live! / 2021
- Take Me in Your Arms (Rock Me a Little While) (Kim Weston cover)
- Here to Love You
- Dependin’ on You
- Rockin’ Down the Highway
- You Belong to Me
- Easy (From new album LIBERTÉ)
- South City Midnight Lady (followed by band introductions)
- Clear as the Driven Snow
- It Keeps You Runnin’
- Eyes of Silver
- Better Days
- Don’t Ya Mess With Me (From new album LIBERTÉ)
- Real Love
- World Gone Crazy
- Minute by Minute
- Without You
- Jesus Is Just Alright (The Art Reynolds Singers cover)
- What a Fool Believes (Kenny Loggins cover)
- Long Train Runnin’
- China Grove
- Black Water
- Takin’ It to the Streets
- Listen to the Music
Show Date: 6-13-2022