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The Doobie Brothers with special guest Mark Newman at the Paramount

Mike Perciaccante By

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The Doobie Brothers with special guest Mark Newman
The Paramount
Huntington, NY
October 13, 2016

The Doobie Brothers were formed in California in 1969 after the band called Pud disbanded. Guitarist/vocalist Tom Johnston began jamming with guitarist Patrick Simmons and the guitarists decided to form the group that is now known as the Doobie Brothers. By 1971 the band had signed with Warner Brothers Records and released its eponymously titled debut album. During the past 45 years, the group has featured a staggering number of official members (including Jeff "Skunk" Baxter, Tiran Porter, Keith Knudsen, the late Mike Hossack and Michael McDonald) and an even larger number of unofficial members. The Doobies sound is a musical gumbo mixing rock, pop, swamp-pop, country, funk, jazz, gospel, blues, Americana, R&B and boogie-woogie. During its long and storied career, the Doobie Brothers have sold over 40 million albums worldwide, won numerous Grammy Awards and have released numerous studio, live and "Best Of" albums. The Doobie Brothers are currently comprised of founding members Simmons and Johnston on guitar and vocals, longtime member John McFee on guitars, electric violin and vocals (as well as harmonica on "Long Train Runnin'"), John Cowan on bass, Little Feat co-founder Bill Payne (who has played on many Doobie Brothers albums and tours) on keyboards, Marc Russo on saxophone and drummer Ed Toth.

New York's own Mark Newman is an accomplished singer, songwriter and guitarist. During his career he has shared the stage with a veritable Who's Who of musical legends. Newman has worked as a sideman for and/or opened for Hall & Oates, Jim McCarty (the Yardbirds), Willy DeVille, Sam The Sham, Sam Moore, Sting, Elvis Costello, Travis Tritt and David Bromberg. His solo discography released on Danal Music includes The Brussels EP (2015), Walls Of Jericho (2010) and his 2006 debut Must Be A Pony.

On a pleasant Thursday in mid-October, the Doobie Brothers along with Newman touched down in Huntington, Long Island for what proved to be a high-energy endeavor. With a packed house comprised of Baby Boomers, Gen-Xers and a few Millennials, the Paramount was configured with seats in the main orchestra area as well as its normal seating areas in the loge and balcony. At the back of the main area and on the sides close to the two bars flanking each side of the venue, audience members could stand, commiserate and dance (if they chose).

Newman was up first. He announced himself as a force to be reckoned with via his strong seven song set that included "Under The Sun," "Fire On The Water," "Walls of Jericho," "Scapegoat" and "Goin' Underground." Newman's set incorporated flavors of rock, pop, blues, folk, funk, R&B, roots/Americana and soul. His music, obviously influenced by among others, the Rolling Stones, Sam & Dave, Little Feat, Allman Brothers and Ry Cooder, was vibrant, alive and powerful.

After a short intermission the Doobie Brothers stormed the stage, opening with a electrifying version of "Jesus Is Just Alright." The band delivered a big set chock full o' hits. The musical onslaught was a raw, energetic, powerful rock 'n' roll statement. Simmons and Johnston along with McFee led the way while the band and the audience followed. The joy on the faces of the main band members was infectious, spreading through the crowd to the point where everyone was on their feet, cutting loose, singing along, dancing and bopping to the music.

The performance was highlighted by a ferocious "Rockin' Down The Highway," "Take Me In Your Arms (Rock Me A Little While)" featuring Russo on sax, an amazing version of "The Doctor," "Takin' It To The Streets," a fantastic keyboard interlude supplied by Payne, and the main set closers "Black Water," "Long Train Runnin'" and a bigger-than-life version of "China Grove."

The two song encores were "Without You" and what some fans who claimed to be members of the Doobie Brothers' fan club referred to as "a life changing, full-on party version" of "Listen to the Music."

Photo Credit: Christine Connallon
[Additional article contributions by Christine Connallon].

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