For some strange reason it seems to rain in the Buffalo/Niagara Falls area every Tuesday. For some strange reason Artpark seems to be spared. Despite lingering dark clouds and a cool night, the rain held off and The Doobie Brothers may well have delivered the best concert the outdoor amphitheater has seen this summer. Judging by the reaction of the sold out crowd many would agree if they’ve been to a few shows on the Artpark schedule this summer.
The band took the stage precisely at 8pm and proceeded to rock the house. Opening with “Jesus Is Just Alright” they took the crowd for a stroll down memory lane as from there they tore into a rollicking “Rockin’ Down The Highway”.
Singer, guitarist Tom Johnston announced the band would play an acoustic segment. “Slippery St. Paul”, a song that until this year hadn’t seen the light of day on stage since the early 70s started it off.
Following the acoustic set the Doobies hit the crowd between the eyes with a spirited take of “Takin’ It To The Streets” featuring Patrick Simmons on vocals. The song was originally sung by Michael McDonald who coincidentally joined the band on Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight show last week.
“Black Water” and “Long Train Runnin” not only had the crowd at times drowning out the band but they also closed out the main set.
Back for a three song encore the band lit into “China Grove” followed by “Road Angel” before bringing it all home with the classic “Listen To The Music”. I think if the band did “China Grove” and went right into “Listen To The Music” that they would leave a better impression. You couldn’t go wrong ending your show with those two staples.
Opening the show with a brief 30-minute set was Patrick Simmons, Jr. Highlights of his set included “Follow The Sun” and a fantastic cover of America’s “Ventura Highway”. His dad Patrick Simmons from The Doobies joined him on the latter. Simmons, Jr. returned the favor and joined the Doobies during their encore.
It’s been told how magical that show in 2011 was. I then saw the band when they appeared in 2013 but to me it seemed ordinary. I will say after seeing this show that this one was amazing. The sound, crowd and ambience all were impeccable. Seeing Johnston who was a catalyst, so full of energy that it appeared to rub off on everyone in the band making this show very memorable.
Jesus Is Just Alright
Rockin’ Down the Highway
Dependin’ On You
Clear as the Driven Snow
World Gone Crazy
Slippery St. Paul
South City Midnight Lady
Eyes of Silver
Takin’ It to the Streets
Take Me in Your Arms (Rock Me a Little While)
Don’t Start Me Talkin’
Long Train Runnin’
Listen to the Music
Special thanks to Maria Hays for all her help with the credentials