Doobie Brothers Resume Reunion Tour With Michael McDonald

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The Doobie Brothers’ Patrick Simmons, Tom Johnston, Michael McDonald and John McFee (Photo: Clay Patrick McBride; used with permission)

The Doobie Brothers have resumed their 50th anniversary tour and reunion with Michael McDonald, following the postponement of several shows after a member of their touring personnel tested positive for Covid-19. (It’s believed to be McDonald himself; he sat out their August 31 date, their sixth show of the tour. The tour then came to a temporary halt following that performance.)

The classic rock legends returned to the stage on Sept. 14 with a 29-song set at the Starlight Theatre, in Kansas City, Mo. Watch several performances below.

[Seven dates, from Sept. 2-12, were postponed. The band’s social media notes “rescheduled and new dates will be announced shortly.”]

The run was originally set to start on June 9, 2020, but was delayed due to the pandemic and postponed for roughly a year. It finally began on August 22, 2021 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds for the first of 32 dates that’ll keep them running through October. It will then resume in summer 2022.

See the complete itinerary below. The classic rock legends had originally announced the celebration with their former lead vocalist and keyboardist on Nov. 18, 2019.

When the tour resumed on Sept. 14, the band played a 29-song set that included such classic rock favorites as “Rockin’ Down the Highway,” “China Grove” and “Listen to the Music,” plus deeper cuts like “South City Midnight Lady” and “Neal’s Fandango.”

Watch McDonald sing “What a Fool Believes” at the Sept. 14 concert

Watch them perform “China Grove” at the same show

On Jan. 15, 2020, the Doobie Brothers were finally chosen for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2020.

Watch Patrick Simmons sing “Black Water,” their 1974 #1 single, at the Sept. 14 concert

Watch McDonald sing their 1976 hit “Takin’ It to the Streets,” on the tour’s second show on Aug. 24, in Milwaukee

The group’s Fall 2019 original surprise reunion announcement was at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium when the former frontman joined the band on stage. The tour reunites McDonald with founding members Tom Johnston and Patrick Simmons, and longtime member John McFee, for a North American run to celebrate the group’s 50th anniversary.

As they finished the Nov. 18, 2019, encore of “Black Water,” Simmons said to the audience, “You might remember him from, well, he has his own band these days… But you might remember him from his band, the Doobie Brothers… Mr. Michael McDonald.”

Out came McDonald who led the band on a performance of “Takin’ It to the Streets,” the group’s first single with him as lead vocalist.

Following the song, Simmons revealed the news of the reunion tour.

Michael McDonald performing “Takin’ It to the Streets” with the Doobie Brothers, Aug. 24, 2021

McDonald, born Feb. 12, 1952, joined the band in 1975 as a temporary replacement for Johnston who had been in poor health. It is Johnston who provides the classic rock lead vocals on many of the Doobie Brothers‘ early hits including “Listen to the Music,” “Long Train Runnin'” and “China Grove.” Simmons sang lead on their first #1 single, “Black Water.”

A greatest hits collection, Best of the Doobies, released in October 1976, contained songs from both lead singers. Though it peaked on the chart at only #5, it has over 10 million copies.

Watch Johnston perform one of his signature songs, “Long Train Runnin'” during the Aug. 24, 2021 stop of the reunion tour

And here he is singing lead on their 1975 cover of “Take Me In Your Arms (Rock Me a Little While)” on Aug. 29

Related: “China Grove” – Admit it, you don’t know the lyrics

The Doobie Brothers’ Minute By Minute album was #1 for 5 weeks in 1979

McDonald’s soulful voice soon led to such hits as “Minute By Minute,” “Real Love” and the group’s second #1, “What a Fool Believes.” The group’s Minute By Minute album was a huge seller, topping the album charts for five weeks.

The band’s career soared to even greater success and when Johnston returned, briefly, he had a diminished role. Several years later, when Simmons also departed, the Doobie Brothers disbanded.

Related: Our interview with Johnston and Simmons

When the Doobie Brothers were finally inducted into the Rock Hall, the following members were included: Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, John Hartman, Michael Hossack, Johnston, Keith Knudsen, McDonald, McFee, Tiran Porter and Simmons.

Watch Simmons sing “South City Midnight Lady” on Aug. 29

The group have announced their 15th studio album, titled Liberté, which arrives Oct. 1. (McDonald didn’t participate.)

Listen to the uptempo “Don’t Ya Mess With Me” with Johnston singing lead

Tickets for the 2021-2022 reunion tour are available at and here.

The Doobie Brothers 2021 Tour

Aug 22 – Des Moines, IA – Iowa State Fair
Aug 24 – Milwaukee, WI – BMO Harris Pavilion
Aug 26 – Green Bay, WI – Resch Center
Aug 28 – Moline, IL – Taxslayer Center
Aug 29 – Tinley Park, IL – Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
Aug 31 – St. Paul, MN – Minnesota Stair Fair
Sep 02 – Clarkston, MI – DTE Energy Music Theatre (postponed)
Sep 04 – Burgettstown, PA – KeyBank Pavilion (postponed)
Sep 05 – Toledo, OH – The Zoo Amphitheater (postponed)
Sep 08 – Cincinnati, OH – Riverbend Music Center (postponed)
Sep 09 – Cuyahoga Falls, OH – Blossom Music Center (postponed)
Sep 11 – Noblesville, IN – Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center (postponed)
Sep 12 – Grand Rapids, MI – Van Andel Arena (postponed)
Sep 14 – Kansas City, MO – Starlight Theatre
Sep 15 – St. Louis, MO – Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
Sep 27 – Denver, CO – Pepsi Center
Sep 29 – Salt Lake City, UT – USANA Amphitheatre
Oct 01 – Spokane, WA – Spokane Arena
Oct 02 – Seattle, WA – White River Amphitheatre
Oct 05 – Ridgefield, WA – Sunlight Supply Amphitheater
Oct 08 – Chula Vista, CA – North Island Credit Union Amphitheater
Oct 09 – Los Angeles, CA – The Forum
Oct 11 – Fresno, CA – Save Mart Center
Oct 13 – Mountain View, CA – Shoreline Amphitheatre
Oct 14 – Wheatland, CA – Toyota Amphitheater
Oct 16 – Phoenix, AZ – Ak-Chin Pavilion
Oct 19 – Irving, TX – Toyota Music Factory
Oct 21 – Houston, TX – The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
Oct 23 – New Orleans, LA – Smoothie King Center
Oct 25 – Nashville, TN – Bridgestone Arena
Oct 28 – Uncasville, CT – Mohegan Sun Arena
Oct 29 – Allentown, PA – PPL Center

Jun 02 – West Palm Beach, FL – Coral Sky Amphitheatre
Jun 03 – Tampa, FL – MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre
Jun 05 – Jacksonville, FL – Daily’s Place
Jun 07 – Alpharetta, GA – Ameris Bank Amphitheatre
Jun 08 – Charlotte, NC – PNC Music Pavilion
Jun 10 – Bristow, VA – Jiffy Lube Live
Jun 11 – Raleigh, NC – Walnut Creek Amphitheatre
Jun 13 – Virginia Beach, VA – Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater
Jun 14 – Holmdel, NJ – PNC Bank Arts Center
Jun 16 – Saratoga Springs, NY – SPAC
Jun 18 – Darien Center, NY – Darien Lake Amphitheater
Jun 19 – Syracuse, NY – St. Joseph’s Health Amphitheater
Jun 21 – Wantagh, NY – Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater
Jun 23 – Camden, NJ – BB&T Pavilion
Jun 25 – Mansfield, MA – Xfinity Center
Jun 26 – Gilford, NH – Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion
Jun 29 – Toronto, ON – Budweiser Stage
Jun 30 – London, ON – Budweiser Gardens

Related: Listings for 100s of classic rock tours

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17 Comments so far

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  1. Ratbone
    #1 Ratbone 20 November, 2019, 00:35

    Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! Don’t tour with McDonald! He single-handedly destroyed The Doobie Brothers! McDonald took a rockin’ band and turned it into shit!

    Reply this comment
    • LakeCity Leroy
      LakeCity Leroy 25 November, 2019, 22:19

      Agree 100%. I was excited to get tickets until I saw that travesty. I never cared for the band while he was a member.

      Reply this comment
    • Bolt Backer
      Bolt Backer 23 May, 2021, 21:55

      Your comment sounds so uneducated, you did not like the McD. Era that’s fine, but it sure was not shit, they were 2 different sounds and allowed a great band to continue and expand there musical sounds. If 4 Grammies and multi amount of top singles is shit, then I guess shit is good. Your opinion is your own, but to define thu music as shit is very narrowed minded. Give the McD. Era it’s credit if you like it or not. It’s still has its value and many fans agree. M. McD. Is one of the greatest vocalist/Song writers /Keyboard player who created a style of music that was copied by many of artist. I’ll be at a few of the shows rocketing out and appreciating both era’s of the DB’s. —Peace…

      Reply this comment
      • Natasha
        Natasha 28 August, 2021, 04:39

        Well said, friend. I for one like pre-McDonald and with him.

        Reply this comment
      • Jarmo Keranen
        Jarmo Keranen 11 September, 2021, 04:41

        I agree that he is a great songwriter and keyboard player. But his voice is nightmare to me. Every record he made with the Doobie Brothers would be much better, if someone else sings those songs!

        Reply this comment
      • NinjaPilot212
        NinjaPilot212 17 September, 2021, 09:01

        Thank you! McD held band together when Johnston had bleeding ulcers…with Tom’s blessings. And the band has endured.

        Reply this comment
    • Lola
      Lola 17 September, 2021, 11:24

      Michael McDonald made the Doobie Brothers. Minute by Minute, Taking it to the Streets, What a Fool Believes, all classic hits.

      Reply this comment
      • Greg Brodsky
        Greg Brodsky 17 September, 2021, 14:27

        Lola… McDonald joined the group after their first 5 albums. While his contribution is significant, the band had already had plenty of success with 3 Top Ten albums and pop hits with “Listen to the Music,” “Long Train Runnin’,” “China Grove” and more, before he joined.

        Reply this comment
  2. DD Dillard
    #2 DD Dillard 20 November, 2019, 03:34

    Doobies HOPE to make it to The RR Hall of Fame? What a travesty. I mean NWA and The Beastie Boys are there. Which is a fucking JOKE. RRHOF has lost all credibility.

    Reply this comment
  3. Bomber
    #3 Bomber 20 November, 2019, 13:48

    When I was in junior high our entire class won their greatest hits album.Hope Skunk Baxter takes some time off to tour with them

    Reply this comment
  4. Curly
    #4 Curly 1 June, 2021, 21:49

    This will be a great 50th tour. I have my tickets. I have been talking to Michael on line about the tour. I’m really looking forward to the show.

    Reply this comment
  5. Hazyguru
    #5 Hazyguru 8 June, 2021, 21:10

    Would love to see them tour down under in Australia. No covid here!

    Reply this comment
  6. Dee
    #6 Dee 29 August, 2021, 19:37

    McD kept them going for many years!! Definitely had a better sound WITH HIM!!

    Reply this comment
  7. Da Mick
    #7 Da Mick 11 September, 2021, 10:44

    They were, essentially, two different bands that both sounded great in their own ways. But McDonald certainly did not “destroy” the Doobie Brothers. If anything he kept it going after Tom Johnston jumped ship. The band probably would have disbanded were it not for McDonald. Instead, they had some of their greatest success. Also, with regard to Bomber’s comment, they have no room for Skunk Baxter in the band as they already have three guitar players. Plus, Johnston pretty much wants to play lead all the time, so their other excellent guitar player in John McFee has to just play rhythm (along with Patrick Simmons) and some steel. Johnston is the voice of all those iconic early Doobies hits, but for a guy who left the band high (no pun intended) and dry, at one point, he’s pretty much reclaimed it as HIS band. Adding McDonald for this tour is a nice touch, which will make their shows a lot more interesting. For as many hit songs as they had, a night of listening to almost all Johnston’s voice gets wearisome, even if you’re a fan,

    Reply this comment
  8. Paco
    #8 Paco 16 September, 2021, 00:37

    Surprised there was no mention of Little Feat keyboardist Bill Payne in the article. He’s been accompanying The Doobies on tour quite frequently for the past 2 years or more…

    Reply this comment

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