As The Doobie Brothers took the stage, the sold-out Cuthbert Amphitheater crowd erupted to the first notes of “Jesus Is Just Alright.” In an instant, they were on their feet, dancing and singing along. Feeding off the energy, the band rolled through a set list of their big rock classics and a nice mix of tunes like "The Doctor" and "Spirit." As I made my way from the photo pit to my seat I became keenly aware something remarkable was happening; the sheer joy of the fans was something you couldn’t miss.
When you go to see groups that have the longevity of The Doobie Brothers, who play from the heart for their fans, it's truly a remarkable experience. The 5,000 people who stood and sang the call refrain back to the band in “Blackwater,” not missing a beat, made for a perfect concert moment. Original band members Pat Simmons, Tom Johnston and John McFee played their asses off. The sound of their three guitars playing together creating their unique layered sound combined with the soaring solos was superlative. Their vocal harmonies shone on so many of their songs, along with sax solos by Marc Russo, stellar keyboard playing by Little Feet’s Bill Payne and the solid back line provided by Ed Toth on drums and John Cowan on bass, whose vocals were simply spot on.
Jesus Is Just Alright (Art Reynolds Singers cover)
Rockin’ Down the Highway
Take Me in Your Arms (Rock Me a Little While) (Kim Weston cover)
Dark Eyed Cajun Woman
Eyes of Silver
Clear as the Driven Snow
Takin’ It to the Streets
Long Train Running
Listen to the Music
Up next, ZZ Top, including bass player Dusty Hill, guitarist Billy Gibbons and drummer Frank Beard behind his exceptional Tiki-styled drum kit, took the stage. The song "Got Me Under Pressure" started things off with Dusty and Billy trading lyrics behind their chrome plated truck exhaust mic stands. The crowd went wild during classics like "Waiting On The Bus" and "Jesus Left Chicago." The set featured two great musical moments, one being a cover of the Jimi Hendrix classic “Foxy Lady.” The other was a reminder of how damn talented these guys are with their cover of the Merle Travis classic “16 Tons,” complete with Jeff Beck-inspired guitar riffs. Songs like “Pincushion” featured a great groove and a killer jam, and it was just fine with the crowd that the band snuck these treats into their set. There were no props, laser shows or crazy backdrops, just three guys who looked like they love playing their music and pleasing their fans.
Got Me Under Pressure
Waitin' for the Bus / Jesus Just Left Chicago
Gimme All Your Lovin'
I'm Bad, I'm Nationwide
I Gotsta Get Paid
Foxy Lady (Jimi Hendrix Experience cover)
My Head's in Mississippi
Sixteen Tons (Merle Travis cover)
Just Got Paid
Sharp Dressed Man
La Grange / Tush