US rockers The Doobie Brothers arrive in the North of England for their first show in the UK in almost seven years.

Hot off the back of a recent US stadium tour alongside The Eagles, tonight’s packed out concert at the Barbican in York is part of a short UK run for The Doobie Brothers. The band’s current tour also features a show at The O2 in London alongside Steely Dan as part of the city’s annual Blues Fest.

Tonight The Doobie Brothers take the Yorkshire faithful through their extensive career spanning five decades. Without a new studio album to promote, this evening’s show features largely a greatest hits set covering the band’s impressive discography. To date, The Doobie Brothers have sold in excess of 40 million albums worldwide.

As the band hit the stage, they start to walk the audience down memory lane with a couple of tracks from their 1972 sophomore album Toulouse Street. Both The Doobie Brothers gospel-tinged hit single “Jesus Is Just Alright” and “Rockin’ Down The Highway” feature at the top of the show.

Today marks the sad passing of Fats Domino and subsequently, the band choose to dedicate their show this evening to the great man himself. A foot-stomping rendition of “Spirit” follows.

The musical talent in this group runs strong and deep. The Doobie Brothers come together both seamlessly and effortlessly all night long. From the band’s sublime vocal harmonies and infectious hooks which both feature prominently throughout the show, through to the intricate guitar interplay of the band’s core trio of Tom Johnston, Patrick Simmons and the multi-talented John McFee. The latter of which grapples with both guitar, violin and even pedal steel during “South City Midnight Lady”.

The Doobie Brothers unmistakable sound is underpinned by the tight rhythm section of Ed Toth on drums and John Cowan on bass. The cherry on the top being Marc Russo on Sax and the legendary Little Feat keyboard player Bill Payne who each accentuates the band’s sound further, adding both depth and texture. 

Although the show is laden with The Doobie Brothers greatest hits there is also room for the occasional deep cut. Tonight the band choose to perform their slow, blues-inflected number “Dark Eyed Cajun Woman”, which also features some blistering fretwork from Johnston.

The Doobie Brothers give a rare airing to their incredible acoustic instrumental number “Slat Key Soquel Rag”. Simmons informs the audience that the band hadn’t performed this track in a long time, and they had been working on it earlier in the afternoon. Both Simmons and McFee take centre stage as they deliver a guitar masterclass showcasing their phenomenal fingerpicking skills. Indeed, a rare treat for those in attendance.

With a single spotlight illuminating Bill Payne at the rear of the stage, he dazzles the Barbican crowd with a phenomenal keyboard solo which perfectly segues into the band’s anthemic number “Takin’ It To The Streets”.

As The Doobie Brothers head towards the end of the show they deliver back to back hits including the likes of “Long Train Runnin’”, “The Doctor” and “Black Water”. During the latter of which Simmons adds the line, ‘Yorkshire moon won’t you keep on shining on me?’, which garners appreciative cheers and a round of applause.

Roughly a third of the show this evening stems from The Doobie Brothers seminal album The Captain and Me. The band closes out their main set with a pair timeless classics taken from the record including both the anthemic “Long Train Runnin'” and the hard rocking “China Grove”. The whole room is up on their feet, and dancing in the aisles ensue. There is a real carnival atmosphere inside of the York Barbican tonight.

Returning to the stage for a duly deserved encore The Doobie Brothers closes out the evening with their unmistakable hit “Listen To The Music” – the crowd hangs on every word.

After almost fifty years in the music business, The Doobie Brothers are still going strong and showing no signs of slowing down.

The Doobie Brothers
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Event Date: 25-Oct-2017

About The Author

Adam Kennedy is an experienced music photographer based in northeast England. He has been shooting concerts for several years, predominantly with the band Vintage Trouble. In 2013, he was one of their tour photographers, covering the UK and Ireland tour including the headline shows and as opening act for The Who. As an accomplished concert photographer, Adam's work has been featured in print such as, Classic Rock Blues Magazine, Guitarist Magazine, Blues in Britain magazine, broadcast on the MDA Telethon on ABC Television in the US, used in billboard advertising for Renaissance Hotels in the US, and featured online via music blogs such as Uber Rock and Guitar Planet. He is also the official photographer at Newcastle Rock and Blues Club.

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