Michael McDonald is into his 60s, and has been performing since 1970, so while he didn't go all-out through a full 90-minute set on Saturday night at Summerfest, he sounded crisp and provided his patented mix of pop and soul with gusto and even mixed in some different covers at the Uline Warehouse stage.
He took the stage promptly at 10 p.m., and he exited following a spirited encore at 11:23 â€“ and in between he took some vocal breaks to feature his band and accompanying vocalist Drea Rhenee, while also talking to the crowd.
The former Doobie Brothers front man began his set with two of the groupâ€™s tracks, "Here To Love You" and "It Keeps You Runninâ€™" which led right into "Sweet Freedom," his 1986 single off the "Running Scared" movie soundtrack.
He paused after these three songs to introduce his band, which included Bernie Chiaravalle on guitar, Dan Needham on drums, Tommy Sims on base, Pat Coli on keyboard and Mark Douthit on saxophone and keyboard.
McDonald is known to pay his group compliments and allow them to shine individually with solos, but he also took the time to thank his stage crew before making a joke heading into his next song: "As I get older, it came to mean something totally different â€“ this song is â€˜I Keep Forgettin.â€™"
It was well rehearsed, but the crowd laughed and roared with approval as he played his 1982 hit, which was originally recorded by Curtis Jackson 20 years prior.
After "You Belong To Me" he transitioned into covers.
This is where he seemed to hit his stride, beginning with "I Heard It Through The Grapevine." Prior to that, I wasnâ€™t sure if his mic was a bit low, or if it couldnâ€™t quite catch all of his notes as he bounced behind his keyboard.
But, perhaps he was gearing up for a song he clearly loved to sing â€“ as he introduced it as "one of the prettier songs to ever come out of Nashville" â€“ Ray Charlesâ€™ ballad "You Donâ€™t Know Me."
This song was all McDonald, with Douthit assistant on the sax. He was …Read more...