Bone Bash: Boston, Doobie Brothers, Don Felder
August 2, 2014
Shoreline Amphitheatre

Don Felder (Eagles) started off the festivities for Bone Bash 2014.

After four decades of being on the road and racking up over 40 million in album sales,  the Doobie Brothers don’t have to tour anymore–they just love it! And the love showed as soon as the eight members took the stage and started the crowd’s engines with “Jesus is Just Alright” and then took them on a ride, “Rockin’ Down the Highway.”

Powerhouse Tom Johnston (vocals/guitar) approached the mic to introduce the next song, “Neal’s Fandango,” as John McFee was getting himself situated behind the pedal steel guitar. John danced on those pedals while still caressing his steel strings! Sax player Marc Russo pulled off an incredible, super funky solo on “Eyes of Silver,” followed by keyboardist Guy Allison’s exceptional piano intro to “Taking It to the Streets.” From here on out, the crowd’s stamina was put to the test as the Doobies rolled up their set with four back-to-back “fatties.” The velvety, Southern-tinged vocals and slick pickin’ of Pat Simmons started off the run with “Blackwater” (which included a ripping extended jam at the end), and then“Long Train Runnin’,” “China Grove,” and “Listen to the Music.” The crowd was in a frenzy – it was a phenomenal set. 

The music of the Doobie Brothers has raised us all. Whether you were there to witness every release or introduced a few years down the road (like me, who got my first taste from the Doobie Brothers albums emanating through the wall of my big brother’s bedroom), all of us have continued to pass it down to the next generation. The Doobie Brothers legacy of music not only endures, it inspires both memories from our past and new fans for the future. That long train just keeps on runnin’ and rockin’ us down the highway!
BAM had the privilege of having a sit-down with Doobie Brothers founders Tom Johnston, Pat Simmons, and John McFee, prior to their set at Shoreline – check back to BAMmagazine.com for the live, video interview, to be posted soon.

Doobies touring lineup: Tom Johnston(vocals/guitar), Pat Simmons (vocals/guitar), John McFee (guitars/strings/vocals), Marc Russo (sax), Guy Allison (keyboards), John Cowan (bass), Tony Pia (drums), Ed Toth (drums)
Setlist: Jesus Is Just Alright | Rockin’ Down the Highway | Depending On You | World Gone Crazy | Neal’s Fandango | South City Midnight Lady | Eyes of Silver | Taking It to the Streets | Don’t Start Me Talkin’ | Blackwater | Long Train | China Grove | Listen to the Music

We haven’t seen Boston here in the Bay Area for too long. In this most recent version at the Shoreline, the band featured only one original member, guitarist Tom Scholz. While the founders may be gone, it didn’t stop fans from buying the tickets to fill the seats. And these fans were “antsy,” most raising to their feet minutes before the band took the stage. Appropriately, they began their set with “Rock and Roll Band” (written by Scholz), and the fans went wild!  Three large video screens served as the stage backdrop, showing a pilot’s eye-view from inside an aircraft, displaying some of the various scenes he encounters on his mission.

I don’t envy new vocalist Tommy DeCarlo for having to step into the mighty shoes left behind by former vocalist Brad Delp, but I have to commend him for the superb job he did in filling them. That goes for the other members, too. Guitarists Gary Pihl and Kimberley Dahme, Tracy Ferrie (bass), and drummer Jeff Neal all gave stellar performances throughout the night. The crowd was on their feet the entire set as the band burned through their hits, ending with a surprising encore of “Walk On” and a sensational jam within. Boston put on an extraordinary show technically, with all members playing their parts impeccably and the fans raging all the way.

Boston’s touring lineup: Tom Scholz (guitar), Tommy DeCarlo (vocals), Gary Pihl (guitar), Kimberley Dahme (guitar), Tracy Ferrie (bass) and Jeff Neal (drums)

Boston setlist: Rock and Roll Band | Smokin’ | Last Day of School | Life, Love and Hope | Peace of Mind | Cool the Engines | Surrender | Don’t Look Back | Something About You | Amanda | The Launch | To Be a Man | Walk On