Classic Rock Corner

Doobie Brothers Say Farewell... For The First Time

The Doobie Brothers 1982 Farewell Tour, Live at the Greek Theatre Eagle Rock Entertainment, $14.98

As most classic-rock fans know, in hindsight, this title is a bit misleading. That's because the band enjoyed a reunion tour five years later before reforming for good in 1987, playing Houston as recently as last month.

But at the time of this show, this octet version of the Doobies assumed it was the last hurrah, and they blast through 16 numbers in front of an enthusiastic audience, many of them classic-rock-radio warhorses like "Listen to the Music," "Rockin' Down the Highway," "Long Train Runnin'" "Black Water," "Minute by Minute," "Takin' It To the Streets," and "What a Fool Believes."

And while husky-voiced Michael McDonald is ostensibly the front man and lead vocalist, he almost blends into the ensemble behind his keyboards, allowing saxman Cornelius Bumpus and Keith Knudsen (both of whom have since died) vocal spotlight time.

Co-founding singer/vocalist Patrick Simmons, perhaps also wanting to finish off with a bang, is unusually animated throughout. And he's forgiven for his early-'80s fashion of fedora, suit jacket, and skinny tie.

A surprise for the fans comes at the end, when four former Doobies - including original singer/guitarist Tom Johnston - join the lineup for a blow-out on "China Grove" and revisiting of "Listen to the Music."

So while it seemed at the time that this show was cause for sadness, it actually turned out to be one raucous farewell party at whose aftershow event many fine Doobies were probably indeed smoked.

Bonus features on the DVD include five additional tracks (mostly McDonald-sung) and extensive interviews with bandmembers at the time of the show. A companion CD features all of the tunes from the DVD except "No Stoppin' Us Now" and the McDonald solo hit "I Keep Forgettin'."

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Bob Ruggiero has been writing about music, books, visual arts and entertainment for the Houston Press since 1997, with an emphasis on classic rock. He used to have an incredible and luxurious mullet in college as well. He is the author of the band biography Slippin’ Out of Darkness: The Story of WAR.
Contact: Bob Ruggiero