If you believed that someday the Doobie Brothers would reunite with former band member Michael McDonald, it turns out you were not a fool.
At the end of their show Monday night at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, the smoky vocalist surprised the crowd by joining the band to perform the classic “Takin’ it to the Streets.” As the audience offered a standing ovation, guitarist-vocalist-songwriter Pat Simmons announced that the band would be embarking on a tour with McDonald. The 30-city trek, kicking off June 9, will mark the group’s 50th anniversary.
The Bay Area-spawned rockers, who are also nominees for the 2020 class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, haven’t played a full tour with McDonald in nearly 25 years. The silver-topped singer-songwriter will rejoin his former bandmates Simmons, guitarist-vocalist-songwriter Tom Johnston, and multi-instrumentalist John McFee.
Founded in 1970, the Doobie Brothers were a successful outfit prior to McDonald’s arrival, scoring a passel of hits like “China Grove,” “Listen to the Music,” and “Black Water.” When McDonald brought his blue-eyed soul to bear on the Brotherhood in 1975, he attracted a new group of fans with hits like “What a Fool Believes,” “You Belong to Me,” and “Takin’ it to the Streets.” (That latter number taught some kids named Raj, Dwayne, and Rerun an important lesson about bootlegging concerts in 1978.)
The group broke up in 1982 and McDonald went on to have a very successful solo career with hits like “I Keep Forgettin’,” “Sweet Freedom” and covers of classic Motown and soul hits. He occasionally popped in on his old pals over the years, who reunited in 1987 and continued to tour and record.
The Doobie Brothers kick off their 50th-anniversary tour June 9 in West Palm Beach, Florida. Tickets go on sale Friday, Dec. 6.