MUSIC: Doobie Brothers Rock + Roll Newport

Monday, July 22, 2013


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The Doobie Brothers brought Newport back to the '70s with their legendary rock and roll sound.

The Doobie Brothers rocked the Newport Sunset Music Series last Wednesday evening. Known for their three guitar attack and three part harmonies, the Doobies are Rock and Roll legends who ruled the FM airwaves in the 1970s.

From the celebrated opening riff to “Jesus is Just Alright,” to the encore reminding all to “Listen to the Music,” the band played a tightly knit set of classic originals, a few covers, and a couple of new tunes from their recent album World Gone Crazy.

Show highlights included the acoustic psychedelic rocker, “Clear as the Driven Snow,” which featured great harmonies and standout solos from all three guitarists. The mellow California sound came through loud and clear on “South City Midnight Lady.” And saxophonist Marc Russo blew away the crowd with his playing, especially on the well known intro to “Takin’ It to the Streets.”

“The band lived the rock 'n roll lifestyle,” noted guitarist and founder Tom Johnston. “It was a lot of fun, but there were some rough times, too.” In an interview with GoLocalProv, Johnston remembered a near death experience on the “Doobieliner,” their touring plane. While on tour in 1975, the plane hit a lightning storm and almost crashed near Detroit, eerily similar to the classic scene from movie “Almost Famous.” “These days,” he laughed, “we ride the tour bus.”

It’s on covers like Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Don’t Start Me Talkin’” where the band really shines. Their extended jams show off their enormous talent – and they clearly enjoy playing the Blues. They shared two from the new album, World Gone Crazy, a session heavy on New Orleans rhythm and blues. “A Brighter Day,” “about a guy from Jamaica,” has a steel drum/reggae vibe, and the title song is NOLA inspired vintage Doobies.

Although the crowd did more sitting than standing, this wasn’t an oldies show. The band is still strong and their songs are universally loved. Their sound literally defined rock 'n roll in the 1970s when other genres were threatening taking over. They’re survivors–be sure to check them out next time on tour.


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