Michael McDonald and Boz Scaggs thrill Celebrity crowd
Hayley Ringle /Arizona Republic
Sept. 28, 2011
It was a night of classic rock and Motown covers as Michael McDonald and Boz Scaggs shared the round, rotating stage at the Celebrity Theatre Tuesday night, Sept. 27.
The sold-out crowd loved the collaboration as McDonald first arrived to showcase his work with the Doobie Brothers, his Motown covers and his iconic solo hits with his deep, soulful voice.
With five Grammys under his belt, McDonald knows how to rock a crowd, even if it's an older crowd now than when he started his career singing backup for Steely Dan back in the '70s.
At one point, he asked the crowd to "sing along if you know it and to help me remember it." The crowd, comprised mainly of Baby Boomers, sat through most of the songs. Some who stood and danced were asked to sit down by people behind them who were sitting, which is funny and ridiculous at a concert, especially because most of the time, with the rotating stage, you're staring at the performers' backs anyway.
McDonald has released three Motown albums in the last several years, so he showcased several of those songs, including Marvin Gaye's "I Heard it Through the Grapevine" and a song made popular by Gaye and Diana Ross, "Stop, Look, Listen (To Your Heart)."
McDonald also sang several Doobie Brothers songs, such as "It Keeps you Runnin' " and "You Belong to Me." McDonald was a member of the Doobie Brothers from 1976 to 1981, and was a part of seven Doobie Brothers' albums.
After one song, cheers from the crowd had McDonald saying, "I got to feeling there are relatives here. That's fine, just as long as I don't owe them money."
I was hoping McDonald would play the indie rock tune he did for Grizzly Bear, but I'm not sure if he sings that song live. He's also done backup vocals for indie electronic band Holy Ghost!
Throughout McDonald's portion of the show, he sat at a keyboard, backed by two wonderful female singers who added a gospel-like, soulful clarity to his sometimes low, indistinguishable vocals.
With saxophone and guitar solos, the backing musicians kept the show running smooth.
Scaggs used the same musicians and backup singers during his show, which made for a shorter break between sets.
Scaggs was a little more talkative between songs. He said he spent time in Georgia, drinking, fishing and playing cards as an introduction to "Slow Dancer," and explained that "Some Change" had been written before "all this talk about change" (although he added that he's "all for it").
He also said the rotating stage was a "strange sensation" and remarked that seeing yourself perform on a screen as you're rotating past it "ain't natural."
The screens turned to black soon after.
Although he sang with the Steve Miller Band for two albums, he didn't do any Miller songs.
It was time to go to New Orleans, Scaggs said, with his song, "Sick and Tired."
Ms. Monet, one of the fantastic backup singers, asked the crowd if she could make it hotter in the venue, although she added she wasn't responsible if anyone passed out. Then, she sang "Something to Talk About" while Scaggs played guitar.
For the encore, Scaggs and McDonald came out to perform three songs together, including a song they wrote together and one by Chuck Berry - or the "greatest rock and roller," as Scaggs introduced him.
It was a fun night of songs you remember from back in the day from two soulful singers who still have their amazing voices.
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