The Doobie Brothers perfoming at Crossroads at the Byron Bay Bluesfest on Friday night.
The Doobie Brothers perfoming at Crossroads at the Byron Bay Bluesfest on Friday night. Doug Eaton

Doobie Brothers still doin’ it

THE Doobie Brothers opened with Jesus Is Just Alright With Me, appropriate for Easter, but a relief to have it quickly out of the way.

The gospel influence could still be heard however, even as the seven-piece band toughened up its two-drum, three-guitar attack.

They rocked, underpinned by loads of funk, including two numbers from 2010's World Gone Crazy.

The crowd welcomed an excursion into straightforward blues courtesy of Sonny Boy Williamson, and was wowed by the compelling display of jazz colours provided by the wonderful Marc Russo on saxophone.

The half-forgotten hits Taking It to the Streets and the joyful Old Black Water punctuated a set of other time-tested and mellow material, including Driving Down the Highway and Take Me In Your Arms (Rock me a little while).

Tom Johnston's guitar work, familiar vocals and moustache remain the solid centre of the band, but it is his fellow guitarists, the amiable Patrick Simmons and multi-talented John McFee, who provide the highlights - although it was the band's gorgeous five-part harmonies which really stole the show.

The Doobies have had a long career, marked by break-ups, reunions, membership changes and deaths, but with a little hair-dye and a lot of professionalism, they turned in a pin-point perfect show.

Then it was what everyone had been waiting for, their biggest hit, Listen to the Music. We did, and it made us very happy.


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