Michael McDonald still running, recording, performing

Tahoe Onstage
Michael McDonald and his band thrill TJ’s Corral at the Carson Valley Inn on Aug. 18, 2017.
Tahoe Onstage images by Conrad Buedel

Michael McDonald seems to have discovered the fountain of youth. His voice is as powerful and smooth as his early career with Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers. Maybe it comes from touring with Amy Holland, his wife of 34 years, who is also an excellent vocalist. The 65-year old singer, songwriter, keyboardist and guitarist is still relevant and filling concert halls across the country. McDonald and his powerful band delighted a sellout crowd with an unforgettable outdoor concert at TJ’s Corral at Carson Valley Inn.

McDonald’s current band features Holland, singing backup vocals along with Drea Rhenee, Bernie Chiaravalle on guitar and vocals, Dan Needham on drums and percussion, Mark Douthit on saxophone and keyboards, Pat Coil on the Hammond B3, and Jacob Lowery on bass and vocals.

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Husband-wife duo Michael McDonald and Amy Holland.
Conrad Buedel ? Tahoe Onstage

McDonald deftly mixed classic Doobie Brothers hits with new music from his forthcoming album, “Wide Open,” which will be released on Sept. 15. It is McDonald’s first release in nine years. He opened the concert with “Yah Mo B There,” a classic R&B song he wrote with James Ingram that won a 1985 Grammy Award. McDonald followed that with another ’80s standard, “I Keep Forgettin.’ ” The party started in earnest when the band played the Doobie Brothers hit “It Keeps You Running” and the fans starting dancing in the aisles. Next up: “Find It In Your Heart,” a soulful love song from the new album.

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Mark Douthit on saxophone.
Conrad Buedel / Tahoe Onstage

The band left the stage as McDonald performed a poignant solo version of “I Can Let Go Now.” They returned for “Just Strong Enough,” another song from “Wide Open” that featured outstanding guitar solos from Chiaravalle and Douthit’s powerful saxophone. A groovy version of “Sweet Freedom,” a hit from McDonald’s 1986 album “Running Scared,” was next.

McDonald showed his versatility and strapped on a guitar for the next three songs. The crowd was rushing the stage for the final two songs, “Minute By Minute” and “What A Fool Believes,” both well known hit songs by the Doobies. The area in front of the stage was full of gyrating bodies dancing and singing.

The first encore was an extended version of “What’s Going On,” a song McDonald said “was more relevant than ever.” The band closed with the Doobie Brothers’ “Takin’ It To the Streets” and the crowd went wild.

  • Michael McDonald
    Carson Valley Inn, Aug. 18, 2017
    Yah Mo B There
    I Keep Forgettin’
    It Keeps You Runnin’
    Find It In Your Heart
    I Can Let Go Now
    Just Strong Enough
    Sweet Freedom
    Hail Mary
    Beautiful Child
    Half Truth
    Minute By Minute
    What A Fool Believes
    Encore
    What’s Going On
    On My Own
    Takin’ It To the Streets

    Tahoe Onstage
    Michael McDonald: Blue-eyed soul at the piano.
    Conrad Buedel / Tahoe Onstage

ABOUT Conrad Buedel

Conrad Buedel
Conrad Buedel was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. He moved to Nevada in 1987. Conrad is a professional writer and photographer in the Lake Tahoe area.

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