When I was asked to review the Doobie Brothers show at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino on Thursday night, it took me back to my 21st birthday.
My sister gave me the gift of tickets to the show they played in 1989 at the Tulsa Convention Center in support of the “Cycles” album. Great memories. So I jumped at the chance.
First a word on the venue. The Joint at the Hard Rock
Hotel and Casino is a jewel. It’s big: 45,000 square feet in all and
2,700 seats with NO bad sight lines. State-of-the-art lighting and
sound, it’s like they took all the great qualities of the BOK Center,
Brady Theater and Tulsa PAC and put it in the Hard Rock. It makes sense
given the reputation of the Hard Rock name.
The show was very entertaining. The Doobie Brothers music is timeless and their new material off their latest release “World Gone Crazy” blended seamlessly with the classic rock radio standards like “Black Water”, “Jesus Is Just Alright”, “The Doctor” and “Long Train Runnin’”. Connecting with the audience went a little deeper on “Black Water”, when founding member Pat Simmons replaced the line “Mississippi Moon gonna keep on shining on me,” with “Oklahoma”. He did in ‘89, and he did it again Thursday night.
The great thing about Thursday’s show is that while the group was there to help celebrate the opening of the Hard Rock venue they didn’t lose the connection with the audience. Sure, the San Francisco-based band has played huge stadiums and arenas to millions of fans around the world, they still had the same connection you’d see from a band in a local bar playing for the cover charge. It was awesome.
That was never more apparent then when Tom Johnston led the crowd in a rendition of the Doobie Brothers anthem song “Listen To The Music”, which lifted the spirits and left everyone with a smile on their face. All-in-all, the show was a fitting opener for the Tulsa area’s newest music venue and a happy trip down memory lane for this writer.
It’s sappy and clichéd, but it made me feel 21 again.