Music has always been a part of my life. From the time I could walk, I’ve been told that I was always looking for a way to dance. The same remains true today and my mother is the reason for this behavior. Two of the bands that helped influence my love for music are Chicago and the Doobie Brothers. Naturally I jumped all over the opportunity to cover these two acts at Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, FL when it was presented to me. I’ve seen both bands previously but with musicians of their age coming closer and closer to calling it quits, you never if you’ll get the opportunity again.
With both band’s careers spanning 40 years, it came as no surprise that we were going to hear all of the hits from both bands. The Doobie Brothers kicked the night off with their rendition of the Art Reynolds Singers tune ‘Jesus is Just Alright’ which quickly lifted the nearly sold out crowd to their feet. The gospel tune that was written by Art Reynolds in 1966 and covered by the Byrds in 1968, was brought to it’s famed status in 1972 when the Doobie Brothers included it on the Toulouse Street. With the crowd now jumping, the group continued their set with ‘Rockin’ Down the Highway,’ which was also on Toulouse Street.
As I looked around the packed venue I couldn’t help but laugh at the evident age difference between me and the rest of crowd. That being said, I wasn’t surprised at all to see the majority of the crowd, including my mother, on their feet and ready for tunes from the soundtrack of their lives. The band sprightly and gracefully worked their way through their archive of classics like ‘Taking It to the Streets,’ ‘Blackwater’ and ‘China Grove’ before closing their set with raucous ‘Listen to the Music’ that left the crowd thinking they were back in their heyday.
After a short intermission, Chicago took the stage as the night’s main act. Because of my fun-loving and constantly rocking mother, I was lucky enough to see this exact bill in Chicago just a couple years earlier. Because of that, I knew that the crowd was in for even more of the classics that helped shape its memory bank.
Opening with ‘Questions 67 & 68,’ James Pankow and crew let everyone know that they could expect nothing short of an incredibly executed set full of Chicago’s hits that span 40 years. Playing tracks like ‘Dialogue (Part I & II),’ ‘Call on Me’ and ‘You’re the Inspiration,’ the jazz influenced band that brought horns to rock and roll, showed why they’re still a force in the music world after 40 years on the road.
Halfway through their set I was pleasantly reminded, just as when I saw them in Chicago, just how much both of these bands helped shape who I am as a music fan. So much of the music that I listen to derive influence from both the Doobie Brothers and Chicago and it was comforting to see that both bands still have the same chops as they did decades ago.
Chicago continued with their hits like ‘Beginnings,’ ‘Saturday in the Park’ and ‘Felling Stronger Every Day’ before taking a much deserved break. Of course the crowd knew they were coming back for an encore but that didn’t stop everyone from begging the hall of fame band from coming back for even more. The members of Chicago obliged and closed with a raucous ’25 or 6 to 4′ that floored even my mother. Once again, I witnessed Chicago gracefully wow a packed house as they’ve done so many times before.
It’s easy to take music and its musicians for granted throughout the years. We get caught up in our lives and the music on the radio seems to fade into more of a background tune. Thankfully, my mother has never allowed me to let those songs become background noise and I’m forever grateful for her. One thing that helps prevent that music from disappearing further and further in the distance is to see those musicians prove that their music is still here and can influence you just as it did decades ago. The Doobie Brothers and Chicago did just that and I highly suggest that anyone with the chance to see them, do so.