By Darrell Shelley
Quebec City Summer Festival Day 5 - Boston and The Doobie Brothers brought the classics back to The Plains Of Abraham but it was a strange brew.
Pairing up The Doobie Brothers with Boston is like pairing a 1993 Chateauneuf Du Pape with a Tuna Salad from the local grocery store, you just don't do it!
I'm not comparing one band to a Tuna Salad and another to a delicious Wine, but together it didn't work.
Boston clearly rocked out and rocks on levels much higher than The Doobie Brothers. While, The Doobie Brothers did a fine job of bringing out the older baby boomer demographic, Boston kept the boomers happy, drew in a new legion of fans and basically did what was done and more.
Both performances were good in their own right. Let's take a look.
The Doobie Brothers line up Quebec City Summer Festival/Festival D'ete 2015
Attendance: 15,000 (start) - 35,000 (end)
Set length approximately: 1hr 30min
TOTAL SCORE 6.5
Patrick Simmons Vocals/Guitar
Tom Johnston Vocals/Guitar
Guy Allison Vocals/Guitar
John McFee Guitar/Strings/Vocals
John Cowan Bass/Vocals
Marcn Rusoo - Saxophone
Tony Pia - Drums
Ed Toth - Drums
Visual/Sound Presentation: 3
Besides the few changes in stage back drop logos there really wasn't alot goin on. Overall, you could hear the sound but it was way too loud for their 7:30pm start time.
Stage Presence: 7
These guys can still rock around a stage better than most guys half their age.
Musical Ability: 9
With a 45 year history spanning 28 members, The Doobie Brothers were introduced into the vocal group hall of fame in 2004 and are some of the tightest musicians around.
In their prime and heyday these guys were considered innovators. But by today's standards The Doobie Brothers live sound like a mature blues jam with a few hits thrown in.
Crowd Reception: 7
The middle of the set dragged on forever. After 50 wanka-licious mood minutes, they finally rocked out with 'Long Train Running' and a strong encore including 'China Girl', 'Road Angel' and 'Listen To The Music' finally warming up the crowd for Boston.
Wow Factor: 6
I really enjoyed the idea of experiencing this legendary band for the nostalgia. However, in 2015 the legend just doesn't live up to the hype. They also announced that they were playing a relatively new song 'World Gone Crazy' from the 2010 release of the same name. It was bold of them to add in the newer material.
Overall: Patrick Simmons has the best vocals of the bunch, with notable parts on the opening number 'Jesus Is Just Alright By Me'. Marc Russo also had some impressive sax solos on 'Depending On You' and 'Eyes Of Silver'.
The Doobie Brothers are worth putting on your bucket list but shouldn't have opened this show.
Boston line up Quebec City Summer Festival/Festival D'ete 2015
Set Length Approximately: 2hrs
TOTAL SCORE: 9
Beth Cohen Keyboards/Vocals/Rhythm guitar
Tracy Ferrie Bass guitar/Backing vocals
Tom Scholz Lead/Rhythm guitar/Bass/Keyboards/Percussion/Backing vocals
Jeff Neal Drums/Percussion/Backing vocals
Tommy DeCarlo Lead vocals/Keyboards/Percussion
Gary Pihl Rhythm/Lead guitar/Keyboards/Backing vocals
Curly Smith Drums/Percussion/Harmonica/Backing vocals
Visual/Sound Presentation: 10
Whoever designed the visuals for tonight's show should win an award for ability to think outside the box and execute next level designs. I imagined some tech or team of technicians who had the sole function of just punching in manual cues on a video mixer for 2 hours. The non stop video transitions and thousands of lighting cues on the 224ft wide x 86ft high UNISSON stage were mind numbing.
The sound mix was perfectly on point throughout the night and everything sounded clear and full, without being too loud or harsh.
Stage Presence: 8
Frontman Tommy DeCarlo worked the massive stage from end to end/front to front several times. There was nothing weak about Boston's most recent addition and secret weapon Beth Cohen either. Cohen handled some lead vocals on 'Cool The Engines' and held up all the high parts, while utilizing the stage during a near 15 min epic version of 'Walk On'. The rest of the band looked lively throughout, with maestro 68 year old (founding member) Tom Scholz being the tamest of the bunch.
Musical Ability: 9
The musical ability of the current line up is stellar.
"Hello Festival De Quebec, we have a lot more Boston hits for ya" - said Tom Scholz at the beginning of the night.
He wasn't kidding; I need your love, We're ready, Amanda, Feelin' Satisfied, Don't Look Back, Peace Of Mind, More Than A Feeling. Added to that were 4 segues, an extended Jam in E after More Than a Feeling and a very extended Walk On. The band spent more time blending and testing out new textures on old ideas and less time banging out carbon copy hits. There was a well thought-out fine tuned silver lining which Scholz laid out on a canvass for himself and the others to explore.
Influenced by the early stadium rock sounds of Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, Boston managed to steer Rock N Roll on a more textured and progressive course through the difficult disco craze of the late 70s. They were a direct influence on bands like April Wine, Def Leppard, Bon Jovi and Triumph, which helped bring stadium rock to a whole new level in the 1980s. Staying relevant into the 90s they also indirectly influenced young musicians in 90s punk, garage and grunge movements, ultimately shaping the early guitar riffs of Billy Corgan from Smashing pumpkins and Kirk Cobain from Nirvana.
Crowd Reception: 9
Tommy DeCarlo knows how to work a crowd. There were multiple clap alongs and a few singalongs, most notably on the bands 1986 hit Amanda, in which the entire Plains of Abraham held up their phones and sang along.
Wow Factor: 10
Quote from our Managing Editor: "When this legendary band I didn't even know existed until today - Boston - came on, to what Festival d'ete built to be Canada's largest stage… My jaw dropped from the photo pit as the lights and projections lit… These AV guys deserved an award for what they did tonight. Oh, and I can definitely say that Boston, is EPIC AS F---."