My friend Mike set up tonight’s first. A few weeks ago he asked about artists I’d seen in concert. My list is short: Michael Jackson, years ago when they were the Jackson Five, and Michael Bolton, twice. That was it. Mike bought tickets for himself and his friend, Peggy, and for Greg and me as a special treat and to contribute to my year of firsts. This evening, we all piled into Mike’s vehicle and headed to Downstream Casino, for an outdoor concert featuring the Doobie Brothers.
I came into an appreciation for music later in life than most people. While I listened to the radio some as a teen, and had a few pop favorites, I was not a big fan of anyone. I was familiar with musical artists. I just didn’t rush out to buy their albums! As an adult with small children, I finally began to listen more to music. I tended toward the ballad style of Michael Bolton, and then came to love the genre of soundtracks. Listening to a movie score brings back memories of all that I love about a film.
Mike, on the other hand, is a musical genius. He began listening to a small transistor radio while still a small boy. He enjoyed a variety of music. As a youth he worked in a music store for a time, familiarizing himself even more with artists, their songs, their backstories, and who sang with which group and for how long. If I ever want to know something about music or an artist, I just ask Mike. He knows. And he enjoys music, at a heart level. It’s not just the facts. It’s the way music invades his soul and moves him.
So to attend a music concert with Mike was not only a first, it was a privilege. He made sure we had great seats. The concert was held at the outdoor theater at Downstream Casino, just a few miles over the Oklahoma state line. After a series of storms moved through the area yesterday, the temperatures dropped drastically into the 40’s as the sun set. That didn’t hamper the enthusiasm of the crowd or of the performers as they took the stage. Leading with the familiar song, “Jesus is Just Alright” the Doobie Brothers delighted the audience with a mix of newer songs from their last release and old favorites. We enjoyed them all, clapping, cheering, getting to our feet often. Well, they all did. I stood occasionally, giving my still aggravated Achilles tendon a rest by staying off my feet!
The Doobie Brothers, founded in 1969, have become an important part of American music with their unique blend of musical styles. They continue to write and record new material and tour the world. Some of their top hits include “Black Water”, a favorite of mine which was performed tonight, “China Grove”, “Long Train Runnin’” and “What a Fool Believes”. They have formed a relationship with Nashville and have an upcoming release with a country-based theme. For this project they have paired with some of Country music’s biggest names. Singer, songwriter, guitarist Tom Johnston of the Doobie Brothers says, “We’re basically an American band – we cover a lot of areas. We cover blues, R&B, country, bluegrass, rock ‘n’ roll. It’s based on rhythms, rhythm structures, picking, and harmonies. That’s been the signature of the band.”
That flow of music was present tonight, and in spite of the chill in the air, the Doobie Brothers delivered an outstanding performance. I had such a fun time, watching the band, watching the crowd, watching Mike as he leapt to his feet to sing along with his favorite songs. The four of us finished the evening with a late dinner, great conversation and laughter. I appreciated that Mike not only suggested a first for me, he made it happen. I am grateful!