To watch the Doobie Brothers in concert is a trip not only through the seemingly endless catalogue of hits the band has produced, but a journey through genres and generations.
Fans of all ages came out to enjoy the classic rock staple at the South Okanagan Events Centre on Oct 27, showing off the drawing power of the music that remains as relevant to teenagers today as it did when the band was in their prime.
Seamlessly shifting from ballads, radio hits and psychedelic sounds, the sheer range and scope of the Doobie Brothers was on full display.
Moods would swing from John McFee and Pat Simmons breaking the show down with an acoustic duet of Slack Key Soquel Rag to a sweet, stereotypically 70s solo from frontman Tom Johnston to cap off Clear as the Driven Snow.
Mark Russo’s saxophone was a hidden gem of the night mysteriously sliding in and out of stage left and right to accompany Johnston’s guitar for powerful, sultry solos.
With two drum kits, and sometimes five-man harmonies, the Doobie Brothers produced a sound that could only be described as big.
A good measure of a rock show is how often the crowd leaves their seats. It took a little time for the crowd to warm up, but a big, bluesy rendition of Takin’ it to the Streets emptied almost all of the 5,000 seats in the SOEC.
People were eventually up and dancing for the rest of the night as if they had been waiting for the invitation from frontman Tom Johnston.
“If y’all want to come up and dance that’ll be alright with us,” Johnston said.
Once the crowd was into it, it seemed the band picked up on the energy, cutting loose on guitar solos and having more fun on stage as the show progressed.
The Doobie Brothers showed no signs of age or the slightest tinge of rust playing their classic songs, which they surely must know backwards and forwards by now. Their enthusiasm made it seem like it was the first time.
Arguably saving the best for last, the Doobie Brothers finished off the night with some of their most recognizable tracks in Long Train Running and China Grove. Johnston brought out his daughter, Lara, and the opener for the night, who joined in along with her band for a heartwarming rendition of Listen to the Music to finish off the evening.
It’s always good to see rock and roll alive and well and the Doobie Brothers may define that era more than any other band performing right now, and that’s just alright with me.
Dale Boyd is the arts and entertainment editor at the Penticton Western News