By the late ’70s, when Tom Johnston was unable to perform with the band for health reasons, the sound changed when Steely Dan alum Michael McDonald joined the band. The already tight vocal harmonies of the Doobie Brothers found a “blue-eyed soul” groove with songs like “What A Fool Believes” and “Taking It To The Streets.” The result added a sophisticated following among the Doobies fans, which I’ve always seen more as “wine and brie” rather than “bikers and beer.”
Both types of Doobie Brothers fans will be very pleased to see the Doobies reunite with Michael McDonald on stage. In 2010, he contributed the track “Don’t Say Goodbye” to their 2010 World Gone Crazy release, which brought back that classic intertwined sound; but this is the first time in many years that McDonald will be on stage with the band.
And so Saturday’s show will bring things full circle, musically, for the Doobies. Always a unique combination of musical acts, the first day of the festival also features War, The Turtles, Lara Johnston, Scars on 45, and legendary blues guitarist Buddy Guy.
Sunday’s show, on Oct. 7, will also star the Doobies, but without Michael McDonald. Rounding out the bill are Kenny Loggins, Dave Mason, The Turtles, Zen Road Pilots, Tyrone Wells, and Pat Simmons, Jr.
The Amphitheater at the B.R. Cohn Winery, surrounded by olive groves, is unique in itself, and the spectacular lighting of the late afternoon sunlight shimmering off the vineyards on the hillside behind the stage always gives the Doobie Brothers’ set a special glow.
There are always great musical guests at Annual Fall Music Festival. Just take a look at some of the artists who’ve played in the 25-year history of the show, helping raise millions for local charities. There’s even a special two-day ticket available this year.