Michael McDonald and Boz Scaggs gently rock the Celebrity
By Randy Cordova - Jul. 11, 2009
The Arizona Republic
During his concert on Friday at the Celebrity Theatre, Michael McDonald joked about being a "card-carrying member of the AARP."
The ex-Doobie Brother turned 57 on his last birthday, and co-headliner Boz Scaggs is a weathered 65, so seasoned maturity was definitely on display. But that seniority often worked in the concert's favor. A mellow, low-key affair, it was the kind of show you may not remember in a year, but it was pleasant while it lasted.
Scaggs' creamy tenor was instantly identifiable in the '70s. His voice sounds remarkably unchanged, especially on such summery tunes as "Georgia" and the lovely "Slow Dancer," the title track from his 1974 album.
Perhaps his energy level flagged a bit on the "Silk Degrees" classic "Lido Shuffle." Then again, he has been singing it for more than three decades. It didn't seem to matter to the crowd, which jumped to its feet as soon as the song's chugging rhythm began.
Scaggs' understated demeanor meant he gave his six band members plenty of room to shine. There may have been a little too much of his background singer, Monet, who had a tendency to mug to the crowd. But during "Miss Sun," she would sing a line and Scaggs would echo it on his guitar. The result was sweetly rewarding.
McDonald's time on stage felt less vital. It could be because he sat at the keyboard for the whole show. A setlist filled with overexposed cover tunes didn't help any. He has recorded three collections of R&B oldies, but he doesn't do anything with "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" or "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing" to claim them as his own. A good Vegas lounge band would produce the same results.
On the other hand, McDonald took Eddy Arnold's "You Don't Know Me," slowed it to a crawl, and created something that felt mournfully alive. It was the high point of his set.
At the halfway mark, McDonald began to rush through the songs, as if he couldn't wait to get off stage and head back to the hotel. It was distracting, though there was no arguing with his solid versions of Doobie tunes "Minute By Minute" and "What a Fool Believes," plus a muscular reading of Teddy Pendergrass' "Love T.K.O."
Sick and Tired
Until You Come Back To Me (Monet solo)
Look What You've Done To Me
Loan Me a Dime
I Keep Forgettin' (Every Time You're Near)
Yah Mo Be There
You Don't Know Me
Stop, Look, Listen (To Your Heart)
You Belong To Me
Ain't No Love To Be Found
I Heard It Through the Grapevine
Minute By Minute
Ain't No Mountain High Enough
Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing
What a Fool Believes
It Keeps You Runnin'
Takin' It To the Streets
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