Leave it to Eagle Vision to put together this fabulous look at the career of one of the most important American rock acts of the last 40 years, The Doobie Brothers. From their humble beginnings as a leather clad biker band back in California in the early 1970s to a worldwide sensation as the decade wore on, this Blu-ray takes a look at it all, dissects it every which way, with first hand commentary from almost everyone involved. Complete with a wealth of recent interview segments with current and former band members Patrick Simmons, Tom Johnston, Michael McDonald, John McFree, Tiran Porter, Jeff 'Skunk' Baxter, manager Bruce Cohn, producer Ted Templeton, assorted writers and family, this is the official, authorized story any fan has been longing to see.
At about 90 minutes for the documentary, Eagle Rock really has covered all the bases here. Most longtime fans will be happy that a lot of emphasis is given to the early years, with Simmons, Johnston, and Porter giving insight as to how the early struggles gave way to almost overnight success after their single "Listen to the Music" took off on radio airwaves around the country. Much of the discussion centers around the albums and the non-stop touring, which eventually led to Johnston having the leave the band due to illness and exhaustion. With his departure, the band brought in some new blood in the form of McDonald, who helped morph the bands rootsy, hard rock sound into a more streamlined, commercial California style that earned them even greater success. All the success in the world however couldn't solve the fact that the band were completely burnt out from all the touring, and some of the members just weren't quite happy with the new musical direction the band had gone in. The film goes into the breakup of the band in the early '80s, the yearly charity events, and the eventually reunion later in the decade and what they've been up to since, including the more recent recordings and tours. Along with all the interview clips, there is a wealth of live footage spliced throughout the documentary, and a good chunk of them are included in their entirety in the bonus feature section. Wait till you see the absolutely scorching live clip of the early hard rock classic "Without You", probably filmed in 1973, as well as other vintage clips from the early years of "Listen to the Music", "Black Water" and "Takin' It to the Streets".
Overall the Blu-ray features a spectacular presentation, with crystal clear picture quality and sterling sound. The older footage is cleaned up as good as possible, so it's not too jarring when mix them into the high-definition interview segments. A nice little booklet comes with the set, featuring rare photos and a history of the band. Once again, a fantastic product from the always dependable folks at Eagle Vision.
Bonus Live Tracks
Rainy Day Crossroad Blues
Listen to the Music
Takin' It to the Streets
Rockin' Down the Highway
Long Train Runnin'