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Boz Scaggs and Michael McDonald to perform at Wolf Trap

Legendary Team Up

By Keith Loria/ViennaPatch

July 20, 2011

Whether it was providing harmonies for Steely Dan, fronting the Doobie Brothers in the 70s with hits such as “What a Fool Believes” and “Taking it to the Streets,” or the ensuing decades as a successful solo artist, Michael McDonald has been a fixture of the American music scene for more than 35 years.

Boz Scaggs has been a musical icon for just as long, both as a member of the Steve Miller Band and with his solo classics, “Silk Degrees” and “Middle Man.”

On Wednesday, the two legendary performers will team up at Wolf Trap in a double billing that is sure to entertain any music lover.

“There’s something about Boz and I touring together that’s special. It seems to be a really good fit,” five-time solo Grammy winner McDonald said. “It’s more than the sum of the parts. We have been playing together over the last few years and we have refined it and enjoy it all the more and hopefully that translates to the audience.”

McDonald and Scaggs have been trading the opening slot from date to date, but they both come out for an encore set that’s more than your typical goodbye.

“It’s not your typical encore. We come out for something that’s almost like a third set and we give the audience a little break and let them know we are coming back so they don’t need to stand there and stomp,” McDonald said. “We do a couple of things together that are kind of surprising. The encore is really fun for us. We do a version of the Leonard Cohen song ‘Hallelujah” that’s just me and Boz together without the band, then we do some oldies and end with ‘Taking it to the Streets.’

McDonald is no stranger to the Wolf Trap stage, having played Vienna’s Filene Center numerous times through the years.

“I remember the last time we played there it was one of the hottest days, but it’s a beautiful venue and a real prestigious venue and we always look forward to playing outside in the summer and Wolf Trap is special,” he said. “We are doing the kind of show that we are anxious to get out and play for as many people as we can and we look forward to seeing all the folks in Virginia.”

McDonald previews that he will play tunes from his solo career, his days with the Doobies, and some of the Motown stuff he has done.

“The show is  kind of an example of ’70s pop R&B for sure, which I think gave way for hip hop shortly after. Like a lot of bands in that era, we went from funk to R&B to rock and it’s a capsule of that time and era,” he said. “We have a great bunch of guys in the band and we have so much fun, and I only hope it’s half as much fun for the audience as it is for us. The songs every night have a great chance of sounding even better than the records. It’s more of a musical experience than anything and the audience seems to really enjoy that.”

Reflecting on his career, McDonald isn’t sure what the secret of his longevity in the business has been, but is sure happy to have lasted.

“Good fortune has played a hand for sure,” he said. “I sometimes marvel at the thought that as I am getting close to 60, I would still be touring, but I never saw any other alternative. I have been blessed with good health and this has been my existence for a lot of years. I just enjoy doing it and I feel like keeping my chops up and doing it as much as I can.”

Scaggs chimed in about the subject as well.

“I never worried about making it big, I just wanted to be able to play for a living, and I was doing that,” Scaggs said. “There were ups and downs and bigger ups and bigger downs, but that’s just part of being in the business and you have to be able to have a handle on it all, which I think I did.”

For his part on stage, expect early hits like “Lowdown,” “Jojo” and “Lido Shuffle” to be apart of the mix.

“I enjoy playing and I don’t think that I am going to stop unless they make me,” Scaggs said. “I know I may be out of the mainstream a little now, but I am exploring the music that I love.”

The Wolf Trap show begins at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $25 to $42 and can be purchased here.

 

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