Yacht Rock Concert Log: Michael McDonald/Austin, TX/11-06-17
By Dennis Cahill
Yacht rock was in full sail at Austin's Moody Theatre on Monday. The Godfather himself Michael Mcdonald headlined with an exceptional set by Marc "Walking in Memphis" Cohn to open. And there was a surprise guest waiting in the wings.
McDonald took the stage opening with "Ya Mo Be There." He and the band came out strong and kept the crowd into it with "I Keep Forgetting" early in the set. Mid set he began to showcase some of the new material from "Wide Open", his current release. Often times, crowds are not overly receptive to new material from artists with long careers full of classic hits. Tonight was not one of those nights. The new songs were received warmly and need to be heard by anyone who claims to be "yacht".
After going back to the classics "Sweet Freedom" and "On my own", which he dueted with his backup singer Drea Rheenee (who filled Patti LaBelle's shoes quite nicely), he showcased more of the new material PLAYING GUITAR!! Yes, the Captain of the Keys got out from behind the piano and played guitar for 4 songs and proved himself a very capable rhythm player to the leads of longtime sideman Bernie Chiaravalle. The first set closed with top rate renditions of the Doobie's "Minute by Minute" and "What a Fool Believes."
The happy crowd, composed of both 60/50 somesthings to some in-the-know hipsters in their 20/30s, called out for more. No one was streaming to the exits to "beat the traffic". The Godfather obliged. And he brought Marc Cohn with him to cover the Box Tops classic "The Letter". Again playing guitar alongside Cohn and Chiaravalle with Patrick playing keys. Then, Van Morrison's epic "Into the Mystic" sharing vocals with Cohn throughout. An already ecstatic crowd was overwhelmed by the incredible music they witnessed.
And then Christopher Cross came out.
The central Texas native busted straight into the rocker "Ride Like the Wind" with MM providing the "Such a long way to go" and the whole band doing "Bah dah dah dah/ dah dah dah daaaaah" The brilliant and unexpected surprise could not have been a better way to bring the night to a close, but not before bringing Cohn back, along with Cross, to finish with the rallying cry stomper "Takin' it to the Streets". A true Yacht-stravaganza that this writer will not soon forget.
Have you just seen a Yacht Rocker blow your mind in concert and can't wait to tell the world? Please let us know all about it. Maybe you'll get featured on the Captain's Blog. -JD