Not too many of the bands that started making hit music in the 1970s are still around. And not too many bands of any era have had as many hits as the Doobie Brothers and Chicago.
The two durable bands, who between them have released 69 albums (not including compilations) are touring together, and they’ll be at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa on Thursday.
They’ve both had tons of personnel changes over the years, but both still include several key members. Patrick Simmons has been a Doobie since the beginning, and founding member Tom Johnston has been back in the band since 1987 after a 10-year break. Chicago still includes its entire original horn section plus founding singer/keyboardist Robert Lamm.
They’ll both undoubtedly do tons of their hits, and they have enough to fill an entire concert with familiar songs.
These days, the Doobie Brothers generally don’t perform their songs that Michael McDonald sang lead on, simply because his voice is so distinctive that those songs don’t sound right without him. So you’re unlikely to hear “What a Fool Believes,’ “Takin’ It to the Streets,” “It Keeps You Runnin’ ” “Minute by Minute” or “You Belong to Me.” Some of those are among the biggest hits the Doobies ever had, but they’ve created such a large volume of great songs that they’ll have more than enough hits left over to fill a crowd-pleasing set.
Chicago, whose early music included a lot of pure rock augmented with horns (they opened for Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin), is best known for such soft-rock hits as “If You Leave Me Now” and “Hard to Say I’m Sorry.”