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The Doobie Brothers Close a Chapter on 50th Anniversary Reunion Tour at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville

by Rich and Laura Lynch

Early in their show on Wednesday, October 12, 2022 Doobie Brothers co-founder Pat Simmons greeted the Bridgestone Arena faithful in Nashville, Tennessee and thanked them for coming out to celebrate the "fifty-ish" anniversary of the band. You see - the original date was scheduled for 2020 and rebooked for 2021 - with both previous tries having been scrubbed due to the pandemic restrictions. But, by all accounts the wait was worth it as the classic rockers came equipped with a generous and gargantuanly good 25-song set that had fans on their feet and listening to the music all night long.

The Doobie Brothers finally take the stage at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena.

The much anticipated date in Nashville was announced way back in 2019 from Music City as the four-time GRAMMY Award winners revealed their original plans at the conclusion of the band's performance at the legendary Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee, in which they played two of their iconic albums, Toulouse Street and The Captain and Me in their entirety. Longtime member Michael McDonald took to the stage to join them during the encore and gave a surprise performance of The Doobie Brothers' smash hit single "Takin' It To The Streets" before Pat Simmons said that the entire band would be teaming up for a North American tour for the first time in 25 years.

And then - it was hurry up and wait. As co-founder Tom Johnston revealed from the stage in Nashville - even though their ambitious plans were derailed for a little while the band found a number of ways to keep themselves busy. First, they recorded a new record Liberté - their fifteenth overall studio album with three songs making their way into the evening's set including "Easy", "Don't Ya Mess With Me" and "Better Days" with Simmons adding that these are now the better days post lockdown.

The big three Tom Johnston, Patrick Simmons and John McFee - have kept the band running for years.

Another milestone occurred when - The Doobie Brothers who have been known for delivering mind-blowing, roots-based, harmony-laden, guitar-driven rock and roll throughout their storied existence - received a nomination and ultimate acceptance into Rock & Roll Hall of Fame's Class of 2022. Since they boast one of the most loyal fan bases in music, have sold more than 48 million albums and secured four GRAMMY Awards one can only ask - what took so long?

You also have to ask what took so long to have the presence of R&B specialist Michael McDonald back in the band. With the white haired soul singer prominently secured in his place behind the keyboards stage left the concerts take on a more energetic feel as more bodies are in the seats when he is in the lineup. For sure many fans we ran into prior to show time were excited to see "Mr. Yacht Rock" in the house - and for that matter the band expressed excitement to be there, too.

After 25 years, Michael McDonald returns to his vaunted role in the Doobie Brothers.

"We're truly excited about our 50th Anniversary Tour, as it's a celebration of the band's entire history. We'll be performing songs from our full catalog, as well as new music," said Tom Johnston at a pre-tour press conference with his bandmate McDonald adding on NRP at a later date, "With the Doobies, everybody in the band was proud to be a Doobie Brother. And to this day, I think of myself as a Doobie Brother - all these years later."

A final feather in the cap that was begun and completed during the lockdown was putting the tale of their incredible rock outfit in print as Long Train Runnin': Our Story of The Doobie Brothers by Chris Epting, Pat Simmons, and Tom Johnston hit the shelves to great critical acclaim. Both members of your team here at MCN read the final product that captivated with ample memories of the trials and triumphs and personalities and personnel changes that impacted the rise and resurgence of the Doobie Brothers over the years. Simmons and Johnston took turns relaying their insights in a mostly chronological order with each backing the other up by emphasizing and adding to the other's recollections. They both repeatedly recalled the seminal importance of fellow California rockers Moby Grape to the development of their overall sound.

More scenes from the Doobie Brothers 50th Anniversary Tour.

Like any great book - even though it was said that this performance in Nashville was to be the last of the group's 50th Anniversary Tour - it appears that this closing chapter will come with a brief epilogue as the guys will return to the stage later in the year for a December 15 showcase in Thousand Palms, California followed by four more concerts in Australia in 2023. So, it seems we haven't seen the last of the Doobie Brothers with Michael McDonald - at least not quite yet. Sure hope they don't take another 25 years to do it all over again.

DOOBIE BROTHERS SETLIST: Nobody | Take Me in Your Arms (Rock Me a Little While) | Here to Love You | Dependin' on You | Rockin' Down the Highway | You Belong to Me | Easy | South City Midnight Lady | Clear as the Driven Snow | It Keeps You Runnin' | Another Park, Another Sunday | Eyes of Silver | Better Days | Don't Ya Mess With Me | Real Love | World Gone Crazy | Minute by Minute | Without You | Jesus Is Just Alright | What a Fool Believes | Long Train Runnin' | China Grove | Encore | Black Water | Takin' It to the Streets | Listen to the Music

In 2022, Tom Johnston and Patrick Simmons are authors as well as songwriters.

Related Links: For more information on the DOOBIE BROTHERS and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - Doobie Brothers | Bridgestone Arena


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