Front Row Focus | Concert Review: Michael McDonald (August 16, 2016)

Concert Review: Michael McDonald (August 16, 2016)

September 01, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

ARTIST:  Michael McDonald

VENUE:  Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NC

DATE:  August 16, 2016

Review & Photos By:  David Simchock

Michael McDonald 2016-08-16 (Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NC)Michael McDonald 2016-08-16 (Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NC)© Copyright David J. Simchock It could not have been a more beautiful evening in the Blue Ridge Mountains as the annual Biltmore Concert Series presented a mid-August split-bill featuring Michael McDonald, followed by Boz Scaggs -- two 1970's music icons who have managed to maintain a loyal following over the years. Mother Nature was more than happy to cooperate with the 3,000 or so folks who made their way to the outdoor stage on the South Terrace of the world-famous Biltmore House as she delivered a stunning cloud-infused sunset as Michael McDonald finished up his opening set.

Of course, even with this colorful bonus, the evening remained all about the music. Though I would have personally thought (and hoped) that McDonald would be placed in the second slot for the evening, he settled in during daylight taking center stage behind his keyboard to pave the way for his long-time peer, Boz Scaggs.  Though I was initially told that McDonalds set would be a mere 30 minutes long, this proved to be false info as he entertained the Asheville crowd for at least an hour.

As expected, McDonald's repertoire of hits spread across both his solo career and his stint with the Doobie Brothers. Until you see him in concert, McDonald is one of those artists who you often forget had so many big hits. Though I have been a fan of his work since his days with the Doobies, I didn't remember how many popular songs he has put out over the years, all of which were included in this special Biltmore performance.

Michael McDonald 2016-08-16 (Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NC)Michael McDonald 2016-08-16 (Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NC)Michael McDonald
16 August 2016
Biltmore Estate
Asheville, NC

© Copyright David J. Simchock
The set list included solo hits such as  "Sweet Freedom" and "Keep Forgettin'", and also tapped into his Doobie Brothers catalog with "Here To Love You", "Minute By Minute" and "What A Fool Believes", as well as some older songs like the funky version of "It Keeps You Runnin'" and the final encore, the much-anticipated "Takin' It To The Streets". McDonald also peppered the set list with a few notable covers, including Marvin Gaye's "Heard It Through The Grapevine" and his sentimental call for more peace and love in this world with Burt Bacherach's "What The World Needs Now Is Love".

Though I was a little disappointed that McDonald wasn't given the top slot for the evening, I left the venue more than pleased with his show, reminiscing about singing along to many of his songs in the 1970s and 80s. Whether your a fan of his unique, raspy voice or not, it was in perfect form, and he had a solid band to back him along the way. I wasn't able to attend any of the other Concert Series shows this summer at the Biltmore Estate, but I'm glad that I was able to make this one. Now, to see what the folks at the Biltmore (and Mother Nature) have in store for us in 2017.

Blue Ridge Sunset 2016-08-16 (Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NC)Blue Ridge Sunset 2016-08-16 (Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NC)© Copyright David J. Simchock





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