Doobie Brothers hit St. Catharines for 50th anniversary tour with all of their lead singers


Published March 14, 2023 at 9:45 am

In this 2015 photo is, from left, Tom Johnston, Michael McDonald, John McFee and Pat Simmons of the band the Doobie Brothers onstage receiving an award. Between Johnston, McDonald and Simmons, that represents ALL the singers the band has seen over the past 50 years.

With a Doobie Brothers concert coming to Niagara, concert-goers can’t be faulted if they’re wondering which version?

After more than 50 years, the Doobie Brothers are almost a Jekyll and Hyde allegory, having two distinct sounds over the many decades.

However, when they land in St. Catharines at the Meridian Centre on October 19, there’s little question which version the audience will see. They’ll see all the incarnations with all the singers for one of the biggest rock shows to come out of the 1970s and 1980s.

Their 50th Anniversary Tour is actually a couple of years late as they started in late 1970s. While plans were in place for their big birthday tour, a worldwide pandemic saw the whole thing sidelined.

When the band formed, it was initially just a quarter that featured lead vocalist and guitarist Tom Johnston, guitarist and second vocalist Patrick Simmons, bassist Dave Shogren and drummer John Hartman.

The hits from this early incarnation, which featured a original, guitar-driven sound, are still in regular rotation for classic rock stations, songs such as China Grove, Long Train Runnin’, South City Midnight Lady, Black Water and, of course, Listen to the Music.

However, singer-keyboardist Michael McDonald was recruited in April 1975, initially as a temporary replacement for their lead vocalist Tom Johnston after he became ill during a national tour. McDonald’s work with the band, which was heavily infused with a R&B and soul sound, proved so successful that they decided to retain him as a full-time member.

McDonald’s addition kept the hits coming with tunes like It Keeps You Runnin’, Minute by Minute, What a Fool Believes and Takin’ It To The Streets.

Since the Doobies were uniquely and widely successful in both version, it seemed only fitting that the band decided to celebrate their 50th anniversary by combining the best of both worlds and having McDonald join their lineup for the celebratory tour.

They’re taking the 50th anniversary Tour world-wide and will be stopping into the Meridian Centre on  October 19 with tickets going on sale tomorrow (March 15). You can find them HERE

Here’s a clip that has McDonald, Simmons and Johnston all sharing the same stage, something that will be repeated in St. Catharines.

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