Live At The Greek Theatre 1982

The Doobie Brothers

Not that any band really ever retires after a so-called “farewell tour,” but the Doobie Brothers tried in 1982 when they played a blistering greatest hits show at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. Almost 30 years later, Live At The Greek Theatre 1982 is available on both DVD and a companion 20-song CD. Now, you can hear and see why this American band so mesmerized audiences way back when and racked up so many hits.

There is funk here, rock and roll there; there are swampy, acoustic moments — and even a few surprises. Opening with a funkier take on “Listen To The Music,” the band just rolls through their catalog without pausing for a breath. “Rockin’ Down The Highway” does just that, driving with some great piano work from Michael McDonald. ”Long Train Runnin” falls into an odd funk meter but it works, with a nice conga and drum break from Keith Knudsen and Chet McCracken. “Black Water” is spot-on prefect, with guitarist and vocalist Patrick Simmons and multi-instrumentalist John McFee trading tasty acoustic licks here as the audience sings and claps their loudest.

McDonald does his semi-sexy, semi-unintelligible best on “Minute by Minute,” with its cool backbeat and, of course, on the rousing “Takin’ It To The Streets,” maybe the liveliest tune here, with the smoking sax of Cornelius Bumpus blasting through the middle section. The bonus tracks fare very well on this set with the 50s style “Little Darling,” another great vehicle for McDonald’s voice, and some fine guitar leading on “Dependin’ On You.” What’s extra special about Live At The Greek Theatre 1982 is the appearance of not only original Doobie Brothers frontman, guitarist and vocalist Tom Johnston on the ultra speedy “China Grove” — but also for a reprise of “Listen To The Music,” seeing the band’s original drummer John Hartman come up, along with former one-time bassist Tiran Porter.

~ Ralph Greco, Jr.

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