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Rocking Doobie Brothers take it to the Clay Center

By Autumn D. F. Hopkins
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Dueling drum kits thundered through the Clay Center auditorium Sunday night as the Doobie Brothers played to an almost sold-out house. It was classic rock 'n' roll show. Sitting near back, on the floor, you could feel the bass reverberate in your chest as the music swept through the crowd.They opened the show with their 1972 hit, "Jesus is Just All-Right." In addition to two sets of drum the band had four guitars, a keyboardist and an intermittent saxophone player.They were everything you would and should expect from a '70s rock band. There was a little bit of blues, a whole lot of funk, a few Jamaican beats, some psychedelic melodies and a wealth of instrumental segues. That is what you get when you have a talented group of musicians, some of whom have been playing together now for more than 30 years.At just a little over an hour and a half it wasn't a long concert, but the audience got their money's worth. The band played through all their classic hits like "Take Me in Your Arms," "Rocking Down the Highway," "Takin' It to the Streets," and "Black Water."
Probably the most spectacular moment of the evening, though, came when the band performed one of their lesser-known songs off the 1973 album "The Captain and Me." The song, "Clear as the Driven Snow," is a psychedelic '70s masterpiece, the quintessential epic, a tale.A song written to be a warning of the pitfalls of substance abuse it is interwoven with everything that makes the rock 'n' roll of that era great: acoustic guitars give way to electric solos and each instrument is highlighted in an almost six-minute song interwoven with beautiful four-and five-part harmonies. It is easy to get lost in the music and hard to believe it was written as a cautionary tale instead of an enticement.But all of the Doobie Brothers' songs are long, written in a time before the two-minute radio edit, when there was still time to be a storyteller and a musician.All in, the entire concert was fantastic. You don't need to be a huge fan of the Doobie Brothers to enjoy their show as long as you're a fan of music there was something for everyone. The band has enough hits to draw in even the casual listener and enough talent to keep you in the seat once you are there.Reach Autumn D.F. Hopkins at or 304-348-1249.
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