The Doobie Brothers• June 11, 2023• The Maverik Center
Reviewed and Photographed by Josilyn Wakkuri Lybbert
Many classic rock lovers headed to the Maverik Center in West Valley City on Sunday, June 11th to spend the evening with the legendary Doobie Brothers on their 50th Anniversary Tour! The excitement and anticipation were tangible from fans who had likely loved them through all of those fifty years, or at least through a few decades!
The Doobie Brothers didn’t have an opening band, so the party got started with them right off the bat! The lights dropped suddenly and the band took the stage with a very relaxed demeanor. But they were also all beaming, clearly happy to be there! The members consisted of Michael McDonald, John McFee, Patrick Simons, John Cowan, Mark Russo, Ed Toth, and Marc Quiñones, and they were missing Tom Johnston, who is currently out due to back surgery.
They started out with, “Take Me In Your Arms (Rock Me A Little While),” which was followed by, “Here To Love You,” and, “Depending On You.” I was quickly impressed with the talent of each band member! Mark Russo’s saxophone playing was entrancing, and he’d be under the spotlight on one part of the stage, disappear, then appear on a different part of that stage, which was fun! The percussionists were full of energy, and the vocals throughout the band were really, really good!
There were many times when the band members just jammed out for the beginning or end of a song and the crowd loved it! Again, they were incredibly talented and it really drew everyone in! While they played through their songs, at times, images from the past passed across the screen. I told my friend who was with me that it made me feel so nostalgic. Even though I wasn’t even alive during that time and didn’t have much knowledge of the band’s history. So I could only imagine how those super fans felt! They played songs like the fun, upbeat, “Rockin’ Down The Highway,” and the beautiful, sweet, “South City Midnight Lady.”
One of the frontmen, Patrick Simmons, took time to excitedly announce that The Doobie Brothers had finally been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He said it was due to the wonderful fans supporting the band, which was met by a lot of cheering from the audience! He also announced the next song, “Clear As The Driven Snow”. Which he described as, “folky psychedelic,” and followed by saying, “probably took too much of that,” which made the crowd laugh.
A few songs passed by following, “Clear As The Driven Snow,” and soon the band was playing a cover of Gladys Knight’s, “I Heard It Through The Grapevine.” That one was groovy and a lot of fun! Patrick spoke to the audience again telling them about a new song they were going to play called, “Better Days.” He said that you never know when your best days are and that today could be one of them, which I thought was a sweet reminder to appreciate each day.
For the first half of the show, while clearly enjoying it, most people remained seated. Many sang every word, very passionately too I might add! A few people had been up dancing for the entirety of the show, and a few more joined them for, “Minute By Minute”. Everyone was on their feet by the next song for, “Without You.” From then on, it was hit after hit after hit! With each song, the crowd’s excitement excelled, and the smiles never left their faces. Or the band’s for that matter! I’m sure it must be a wonderful feeling to see an arena full of people loving the music you’re playing!
“Jesus Is Just Alright With Me,” came after, “Without You”. And ended with some more jamming, which again, was just so good! That one led to my personal favorite Doobie Brothers song and one of my favorite songs in general, “What A Fool Believes” It’s upbeat and hard not to dance to! I’ve said this before, but there are few things cooler than hearing a favorite song or song(s) live, especially by such a renowned band! “Long Running Train,” followed up next and it was another wonderful performance! The harmonies throughout the whole song were absolutely stunning and blended so nicely together! Totally impressive! They rocked their way through it, and the fans were eating it up!
The Doobie Brothers played, “China Grove,” before exiting the stage prior to an encore! They took a brief break and came back on stage to play a few more songs! They started the encore with, “Black Water,” as the screens behind them displayed black rippling black water, too! Fans cheered extra loud when they replaced the lyrics, “Mississippi moon, won’t you keep on shining on me,” with, “Utah moon, won’t you keep on shining on me”. I loved when they played the part of the song that played out like a round singing, “I’d like to hear some funky Dixieland, pretty mama come and take me by the hand,” and so on. The crowd joined in, and it was so fun to hear that whole bit live!
Next, The Doobie Brothers performed, “Takin’ It To The Streets”. They played clips of protests in the 60s while they sang. Which I thought was a nice nod and correlation that I hadn’t noticed when listening to the song before! Then it was time for their biggest hit. “Listen To The Music”! I feel like everyone knows this one. It was such an awesome environment to be in as everyone sang along to such an iconic song! At one point, the band had the crowd sing the chorus a cappella, and it gave me chills! They announced that they usually end the night with that one. But since they were having such a good time, they were going to play one more. Which was a Steely Dan cover, of “Pretzel Logic.” It was really bluesy and everyone was feeling it!
It was such a cool experience to get to see The Doobie Brothers on their 50th Anniversary Tour! They put on a great show. I loved seeing the crowd filled with joy and excitement to witness the legendary band and their talents!