Classic Rock Review

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The Doobie Brothers Farewell Tour (1983)


The Doobie Brothers have just released the tasty “Farewell Tour” 1983 album again, as a remastered, expanded collection. The original concert recording of their final show on the 1982 farewell tour includes a bonus four tracks from the Berkeley, California Greek Theatre date that wrapped up the Doobies for a brief time.

What you get on this newly released CD and DVD is a beat-down of Doobies hits that starts out “eighties-fast” – that… unusual phenomenon where most live acts from the seventies had those blazing fast versions of their classics throughout the eighties. Many of the songs seem to have that feel, as you relive the original album’s majesty, and relearn these sped-up live tracks that in some cases drastically rework the originals.

“Listen to the Music” leads the way, and the energy is on fire through the next track, “Sweet Maxine;” it continues with Doobie standard “Rockin’ Down the Highway,” which always is a crowd favorite of the biker-heavy audience. This was not just The Doobie Brothers, of course, but Michael McDonald, too.

Mike had joined the line-up in the mid-seventies and brought along a lot of melody, great vocals, keyboard playing, and a string of hits. His first real mark on this record is the “You Belong to Me” which pours out the soul, reminding this listener of the raw power Michael McDonald consistently brings to the table. The version of this jam is easily one of the stand-out tracks of the album.

The band blisters through “Take Me In Your Arms (Rock Me)” with a kind of energy that shows off the tightness of the group at that moment; what you have here is the final date on a tour, plus being performed in their hometown, so the precision level is high. Everybody is firing on all cylinders from the get-go. “Long Train Runnin’” keeps the frenzy at full-tilt, with ferocious playing all around. “Black Water” delivers the sing-along session of the night, though at a Doobies show, there are a lot of moments to join in.

“Minute By Minute” is another chestnut of the Michael McDonald years; it leads into the “Slat Key Soquel Rag” and “Out on the Streets,” which is a nice dip into slightly deeper Doobie territory. What the album keeps doing is maintain the hit atmosphere, but occasionally take you on a deeper ride, like with these last couple of gems.

“What A Fool Believes” has always been one of my favorite Doobie Brothers songs. Maybe it’s the lyrics you can relate to, and put yourself into, through tales of missed opportunities and squandered love; maybe it’s the catchy phrasing and familiarity of the song, bringing you back in time via the nostalgia invariably created. It’s a dead-on smash live on this farewell tour recording.

The old classic spiritual remake “Jesus Is Just Alright” and “Takin’ it to the Streets” burn with the soul of the band at high, with soaring guitar solos and climactic vocals. “China Grove” with Tom Johnston doing that legendary appearance he made with the boys, nailing his song, and the raging reunion with Porter, Hossack and Hartman on “Listen to the Music” as the finale.

Bonus tracks fill-out the disc, including the absolutely lifting version of “Real Love” included. Such soulful vocals, and everyone shining, especially showcasing how much our Maui ohana, guitarist and good friend Pat Simmons and brother Michael McDonald, bring to the Doobies party. Nice work boys.

January 3, 2014 Posted by | The Doobie Brothers Farewell Tour | | Leave a comment

The Doobie Brothers Farewell Tour (1983)


Review The Doobies’ Farewell Tour CD (from 1983) is an terrific live album that contains many fan favourites from their catalogue of hits – it’s just not long enough! As mentioned in an earlier review, there’s enough material for a double CD, but Warner Bros. decided to limit the concert to a single disk. Too bad!

Consequently, some of the cuts are a little shorter than I would like (“China Grove” and “Don’t Start Me Talkin'”, in particular), but this deficit is made up for by extended cuts of “Long Train Runnin'”, “Jesus is Just Alright”, and a great lengthened version of “Steamer Lane Breakdown”.

On the positive, though, the band is in fine form with Michael McDonald and Pat Simmons doing most of the vocals, the talented John McFee on his array of stringed instruments, Keith Knudsen on drums, Bobby LaKind on the congas, and Cornelius Bumpus on the sax, synth., & organ, plus a cameo by Tommy Johnson on “Long Train Runnin'” and “China Grove”. The renditions of their songs have all been updated without losing the appeal of the original versions. (Much like later their later live CD’s “Rockin’ Down the Highway – The Wildlife Concert” and “Live at Wolf Trap” – both outstanding, by the way!)

I found the going tough when I tried to find this CD and would suggest getting it quick if you want a copy. For years, it was just in available in Japan, but is now making it’s way to the states. The price is becoming somewhat inflated over the past few months, though, so “buyer beware”!

For Doobie “complete-ists”, like myself, you’ll want to search until you can find “Farewell Tour”, for fans those who want something similar to this CD, but easier to find, you’ll be just as happy with either (or both) of the two aforementioned live albums.

Review I Bought the Vinyl and Cassette in 1983, Sometime later paid high dollars for the Japanese CD edition. Now all of these years later it finally makes a US CD debut, but no Bonus tracks. What a disgrace. A lot of critics or fellow DB’s fans have put this album in the back of there closets. Some would say overly produced or what ever there reasons are.

My opinion is the cuts that were chosen from the live shows for this album were not the best ones. The actual shows were 2 + HR’s, now I understand you could only put so many songs on vinyl. But if you saw any of the video broadcast HBO and A&E 60 min and 74 minutess you would’ve seen better live versions that should’ve ended up on this set. Also songs like “Here To Love You, Take Me In Your Arms, It Keeps You Running, Real Love, Keep This Train Rollin. The long jam version of Listen To The music from the Berkley show with all members on stage and many others that could’ve made this a 2 CD set. Or at the very least add 2 or three extra songs.

It seems as though the DB’s have not gotten the respect that many other bands from the 1970’s have gotten, in terms of RE:issues of there original albums IE remastering or bonus tracks, demos and Unissued songs from that session. Minus the box set Disc 4, there is really not a lot available on the DB’s. And to think Blondie is in the Rock-N-Roll Hall Of Fame and no DB’s as of yet HMMM. Anyway, I think this is a good live album, great arrangements of the songs live, yes lacking volume levels or a better remastering and extra songs. A good live album by quality artist, at least Rhino put out and maybe they will put a full 2 HR+ DVD out sometime down the road, from this Tour, the DB’s deserve it…You know the WB vaults are full of rare live/studio stuff -Mike Sippie

Review It’s good that this album is finally available on CD in the US. From what I’ve seen this album has been slammed by critics and treated as almost a non-entity in the Doobie catalogue.

That’s just unfair, because this is a GREAT live album. Every Doobie fan (except maybe those who are Johnston-era only fans) needs to have this. This is everything a live album should be. Many live albums have versions of songs that are just carbon copies of the originals, adding nothing to them and sometimes even subtracting from them. But you won’t hear that kind of thing here. Many tracks on this album add new twists to the originals, and some (Steamer Lane Breakdown, You Belong To Me) are actually more definitive versions of the songs.

Of course this is a historically important collection as well, in more ways than one. There are two Doobies originals that were first heard here (including “Olana,” which later appeared in studio form on the box set, but the definitive version is on this album). There is the lead vocal debut of (the late) Keith Knudsen, on “Don’t Start Me Talkin'” (sounding a lot like Pat Simmons and a lot UNlike Keith’s vocals on SIBLING RIVALRY).

The second Doobies live album, Wildlife Concert, repeats most of the songs that were on this album. With only a couple exceptions, it is the FAREWELL TOUR versions, not the WILDLIFE CONCERT ones, that I listen to.

If you’re a McDonald-era or “all-eras” Doobies fan, get this.

May 5, 2013 Posted by | The Doobie Brothers Farewell Tour | | Leave a comment