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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Doobie Brothers

Live At The Greek Theater 1982

Review by Gary Hill

Here’s a killer live album from The Doobie Brothers. It’s amazing how many hits these guys had. And, it’s amazing how good the music sounds live. I’ve already reviewed the DVD of this in the previous issue, so this review focuses mostly on the individual songs.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Listen to the Music

This arrangement feels more funky than I remember the studio version. It also seems to have some added energy to my ears.

Sweet Maxine
Keys start this and they modulate out into the song proper after the introduction. This is a bouncy rocker with a real classic sound. It segues straight into the next tune.
Rockin' Down the Highway
A high energy Doobie Brothers classic, this one works very well in this live telling. This seems closer to the studio version than the live version of “Listen to the Music” did.
You Belong to Me
A funky, rather discofied sound is heard on the mellower, soulful groove. Michael McDonald’s voice is unmistakable. There’s a tasty saxophone solo in the midst of this.
Take Me In Your Arms (Rock Me)
Here’s another Doobies classic and it’s delivered with a lot of energy and style and feels a lot like the studio rendition. It’s a killer. They do take it out in jammy directions later that feel a departure from the original.
Long Train Runnin'
The percussion seems to have a bigger role in this live rendition. The keyboards are incredible, too. This is a high energy Doobie Brothers classic that just plain rocks. There’s a percussion solo section, too. It’s quite an extended jam that works extremely well.
Black Water
Here’s a real show stopper. They weave all the down home sounds into the cool mellow rock motif. It’s got everything, some nice violin, lots of harmony vocals and a powerful arrangement. This is one of the highlights of the set.
Minute By Minute
Another Doobies classic, this soulful tune works well in this live telling. Michael McDonald handles the lead vocals here. It becomes quite an involved jam as it continues and there’s a smoking guitar solo.
Slat Key Soquel Rag
A pretty, powerful and involved acoustic guitar solo, this is killer.
Out on the Streets
This powers out as one of the hardest rocking tunes on the set. There’s a killer vocal arrangement and a great hard rock groove to this piece.
What a Fool Believes
Here’s a Michael McDonald era hit that is bouncy and soulful. It’s good, but I really think it feels a bit light-weight compared to the studio rendition. There’s a tasty guitar solo, though.
Jesus is Just Alright
Now, here’s a classic that seriously rocks! I think this version might be better than the original. The slower, bluesy section is a real powerhouse here – and far bluesier than the original. It includes some smoking hot guitar soloing.
Takin' it to the Streets
A cool saxophone solo opens this, then they take it to the familiar groove. This is another awesome live rendition of a Doobie Brothers classic.
China Grove
There’s some more real rock and roll thrown into this classic Doobies tune.
Listen to the Music
I don’t think too much about the vocal performance on the introduction to this one, but once it launches into that familiar chorus, all is right with the world. They take it out later for some killer, multi-layered guitar soloing.
Little Darling (I Need You)
Take an old school rock and roll song and mix it with the blue eyed soul of the Michael McDonald era of The Doobie Brothers. This song is good, but not one of my favorites.
One Step Closer
The general musical concept isn’t seriously altered here from the previous one, but while I liked that one somewhat, I’d consider this the opportunity to hit “skip.” It just doesn’t work for me at all.
Dependin' on You
Here’s a real non-descript song from the R & B meets Doobies side of the spectrum. That said, the guitar soloing is especially tasty.
Real Love
While this is sort of in line with the last couple tracks, it works better than those did. Still, it’s understandable why these are all bonus tracks. They aren’t nearly as strong as the material presented on the “main” album.
 
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