The Doobie Brothers

By Eve Cheesmur

Artist:  The Doobie Brothers

Date / Venue:  Friday April 25th, Civic Theatre, Auckland

The Doobie Brothers showed the Civic audience last night why they're still legends. 40 years on and their singing and clothing sense is unwavering.

With only two of the band's originals still performing (Pat Simmons and Tom Johnson), the rest of the Doobie alumni were just as experienced and tied in nicely with matching 501's and 505's littering the stage - Levi Strauss would have been proud.

Originally formed in California in 1970, the Doobies' have undergone more makeovers than Joan Rivers. With the band constantly fracturing, new members coming into alliance and the Doobies' even disbanding from 1982 - 1987, it was nice to see them all playing nicely last night in the picturesque setting of Auckland's Civic theatre.... quite different to previous stages they held at Hell's Angels gang hangs.

Known for their trademark sound, the Doobies' are an amalgam of Country, Bluegrass, Hard rock, R&B, Roadhouse and lest we forget (no Anzac pun intended) Rock and Roll. They were still holding on to that Rock and Roll mentality, but it seemed like age had caught up with them a touch - rather than beers on stage, lead singer Tom Johnson politely sipped on a herbal tea.

Jesus Is Just Alright started the night and finger dancing continued from the seated fans frivolously from there. More hits came with Rocking Down the Highway & Eyes of Silver.

Each member of the band had their moment, Marc Russo the saxophonist ripping it up to Takin' It To The Streets. While the duo of Simmons and Johnson duelling the guitar was as delight. The talented John McPheeglided his way from harmonica to slide guitar, violin and back to the guitar, playing each instrument with amazing ease and skill.

The crowd was pleased, and took to standing finger dancing (SFD) for the encore where the Doobies' played the classics. Showing off their duel percussion two kit drums with talented drummers on each - they signed off to an elated audience with Black Water, China Grove and Long Train Running.

Technically speaking, the venue of the Civic was extraordinary. I could not complain one iota about the sound, it was mixed perfectly. The band held harmonies like a choir and didn't miss a beat. Tom Johnson did miss a few notes, but hey, that's just me being picky.....

I'll be dusting off my old Doobie Brothers record and finger dancing for the rest of the afternoon