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The Doobie Brothers packed the house in Alpharetta: When age trumps youth

Doobie Brothers Tom Johnston and the band's saxophone player.
Doobie Brothers Tom Johnston and the band's saxophone player.
Courtesy of Constance K. Morris

It was wall to wall baby boomers at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre on Thursday night, but there were some members of the younger generation present too, kicking up as much of a fuss to see the hot rock and roll band as the seniors in the seats next to them. And the Doobies didn't disappoint either group on July 17, which is a good thing, since the outdoor venue was packed all the way out to the lawn.

Tom Johnston and John McFee of the Doobie Brothers flank drummer in this 2014 tour photo.
Courtesy of Constance K. Morris

The Pit had photographers and reporters represented from the Associated Press, CNN, Creative Loafing, the Examiner and more, all vying for that one great shot, while also enjoying the night. And yes, there appeared to be groupies present too, but they were not trying to rush the stage, just swaying to the music in total adoration.

The Doobie Brothers have been playing rock and roll music since the band formed in 1969. But despite 45 years of it, they aren't slowing down. And if you thought age would bring these guitar-playing masters under its control; think again. Pat Simmons, Tom Johnston and John McFee were dynamic and as full of youthful zeal as a young Peter Frampton, who just happened to take the stage before they did. And his show wasn't for the faint of heart either.

Kicking off their appearance with one of their most popular songs--"Jesus is Just Alright With Me"--the dynamic band drew the audience to their feet without uttering a word, and the enthralled mass continued to stand and clap and dance through the groups first three consecutive songs. And no one wanted to sit down even then.

One thing that stood out to this concert attendee was the way the show was layered. For example, the show wisely began with the youthful 19-year-old Matthew Curry and his band, who opened the night with stellar guitar playing that says this guy (a fantastic talent for his very young age) will one day pack in the fans Doobie-style for his own show. But he's no doobie yet, and no one expects him to be, as it takes 45 years to make the kind of Doobie heard tonight.

Next up, the powers that be chose to have Peter Frampton perform. And everyone knows he has been at this business far longer than Curry, so fans expected more, and rightly so. And he proved he is just as much alive now as he was back in the day. And the fans ate it up. When his performance had to eventually end, Frampton came back to do an encore, like the consummate professional he is, giving devoted fans one last taste of his musical power, because they were begging for it.

But after the top-notch musical appetizers they had been served, this huge crowd was chomping at the bit for the main course. So finally, at around 9:30 p.m., after all the air guitar playing by aging male fans was over, the lights dimmed and the crowd went wild, rising to their feet in anticipation of an act Georgians would only get the chance to see once this entire year. And that explains why fans turned out en mass to be at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre on Thursday night to see the Doobie Brothers.

If you missed the chance to see this rock and roll legend of a band in Georgia this week (a band that has sold millions of albums and made countless concert venues rich since they began touring 45 years ago), then you owe it to yourself to check out their 2014 tour schedule for a date and location you can attend. After all, some things are like fine wine: they just get better with age. And this is one band that does thanks to Tom Johnston, John McFee, Pat Simmons and the rest of the band.