Mother’s Day this year took place on May 13, 2018. Overcast skies and a light breeze coming off the river made for a perfect day to attend an outdoor concert at Daily’s Place Amphitheater. With The Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan on the bill, both with over 40 years of making music under their belt, the Jacksonville crowd was guaranteed to travel on a nostalgic journey through time.
The Doobie Brothers wasted no time, diving right into their extensive catalog of hits and crowd favorites. Between Patrick Simmons’ impeccable guitar riffs on his hot pink Fender, to Marc Russo’s fierce saxophone display, these guys took us through hit after hit. They got funky and even a little blues-y, as they ran through numerous chart toppers, including “Takin’ it to the Streets,” “Long Train Running,” and “Listen to the Music.” With the crowd acting as The Doobie Brothers’ backup singers through their entire 1.5 hour set, “Black Water” became the standout song of the evening. The song seemed to actually come alive, as every audience member sang along, grooving to the beat.
After a breathtaking sunset and a short, 20-minute set change, the audience was ready for round 2. And boy did Steely Dan came out with a bang! They fired right out of the gate with two of my favorite songs – “Black Cow” and “Aja.” A few songs in, Donald Fagen addressed what was on everyone’s mind – the absence of Walter Becker. From that moment on, it was clear that these consummate professionals were on a mission to honor him through a set rich in history and songwriting magic. The audience was awestruck as SD pulled out all the hits. From “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number” to “Peg” and “Home at Last,” everyone on that stage gave it their all, proving why Steely Dan has maintained their staying power after all these years.
It was a true honor to watch these guys onstage. While this was primarily a sit-down crowd, everyone was very responsive. It’s always fun to watch the diverse crowd that is drawn to a show like this. Mothers and their “children” of all ages, all brought together through one common love – music.