Michael McDonald & Boz Scaggs

31 July 2016, Greek Theater, Los Angeles, CA

Boz continues to maintain his buzz. Sounding every bit as good as he did when I saw him in 2013 (LA) and in 2009 (Philadelphia) and way back in 1978 (Sydney), it’s fitting that he tours with Michael McDonald – they are two of the most distinctive voices in popular music and their smooth rock infused with blues and soul, along with consummate musicianship, makes for a perfect pairing. It’s a shame they don’t do an encore together. Still, for the first half of this wonderful double bill, Boz made it all look effortless. And “Lido Shuffle” is still one of the best sing-along numbers you’ll hear on a warm summer night at the Greek Theatre. Splendid.

Michael McDonald is so cool. Since I last saw him in Philadelphia with Boz in 2009 he’s just gotten cooler. His voice sounds better than ever, and he plays around a lot with the phrasing, almost improvising where the lyrics will go over the music, making those old Doobie Brothers songs like “It Keeps You Running” and “Minute By Minute” like whole new songs.

But the melodies are gold, and “Takin’ It To The Streets” and “What A Fool Believes” will always be two of the greatest pop songs of the second half of the ’70s. Mike’s voice and his signature piano riffs are embedded in the musical psyche of that era, but how he loves to dive into the pool of great Motown hits and how perfect is his voice for those songs too.

His stage patter included impassioned pleading for people to pay attention to what’s going on politically and in the wider world, and vote accordingly, and his version of the Bacharach/David number “What The World Needs Now Is Love” was just beautiful. At the end of the night he brought Cher – yes, Cher – onto the stage to sing, or maybe just to look great (I wasn’t sure I actually heard her vocals). You will have to look through the gallery to see the pics I took of her. Such a great night!

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