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Weekend arts forecast: We’re short one Doobie, brother

Bill DeYoung



How 'bout those Doobie Brothers? Tom Johnston (second from left) is recovering from back surgery and won't be at Friday's Mahaffey Theater show. Publicity photo.

There are plenty of reasons to catch the Doobie Brothers Friday at the Mahaffey Theater, especially the welcome appearance of Michael McDonald, the great pop/R&B vocalist who was out front for a string of late ‘70s hits including “What a Fool Believes,” “Takin’ it to the Streets,” and on and on, then left for what turned out to be a lucrative solo career. He’s back for a temporary visit to commemorate the California band’s 50th anniversary.

Still there, too, is Patrick Simmons, lead guitarist since the Doobies’ earliest days, and the vocalist on “Black Water,” maybe the coolest Doobie tune of them all.

MIA on this leg of the tour is founding singer and rhythm guitarist Tom Johnston (“Listen to the Music,” “China Grove”), who’s out of commission on doctor’s orders, recovering from back surgery. “I hope for a speedy recovery and can’t wait to get back on the road and continue doing what I love,” Johnston said in a prepared statement.

Keyboard player Bill Payne, a co-founder of Little Feat, toured as a 50th anniversary Doobie in 2022 but isn’t on the current run of dates.

Present and accounted for: Guitarist John McFee, who came in around the time McDonald replaced Johnston in the original lineup. Drumroll, please: McFee is on many prime-era Elvis Costello records (including My Aim is True and Almost Blue) and, in fact, still gigs with the E-man on occasion; he did session work for the Grateful Dead, Van Morrison, Emmylou Harris, Wanda Jackson, Link Wray and others … it’s a long and impressive list.

Tickets for the Friday show are here.


Sophie B.

After a scheduled Attic at Rock Brothers performance was cancelled at the last minute in November, Tampa Bay will finally get the chance to catch up with singer/songwriter Sophie B. Hawkins (“Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover”). She’s scheduled to appear Saturday at MUSIC4LIFE Living Arts Center, 1204 Rogers St. in Clearwater. Tickets for the 7 p.m. show are here.

Sophie B. Hawkins. Publicity photo.

And more concerts

Friday night in Morsani Hall (that’s in the Straz Center for the Performing Arts), it’s Latin pop superstar Marisela, with an opening set from Florida’s Alvaro Torres. Tickets.

Hey, it’s Memorial Day Weekend! And of course that mean the Sunset Music Festival, a massive celebration of EDM (electronic dance music), returns to the North Parking Lot of Raymond James Stadium. Read everything you’d want to know (and maybe even more) in our story from earlier this week.

The Florida Orchestra takes the word “mashup” to the extreme this weekend, as conductor/arranger Steve Hackman combines the music of Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony with the melodies and lyrics of the British band Coldplay, with three vocalists in tow. It’s tonight at 8 at the Mahaffey Theater; tickets are here.

That’s all, folks: TFO ends the 2022-2023 season Saturday night with A Night at the Oscars, in the Straz Center’s Ferguson Hall. Lawrence Loh conducts – you guessed it – a program of movie music. Find tickets here.

The astonishing fingerstyle guitarist (and Tampa native) Christie Lenee is in performance Friday at the Catherine Hickman Theater in Gulfport. Find tickets for the 7 p.m. concert here.

Friday at the Seminole Hard Rock Event Center: The Used and Pierce the Veil. Tickets here.



Onstage at the Straz Center’ Shimberg Playhouse, Friday through Sunday, is the musical cabaret spectacle Jobsite’s Alice. Find details and tickets here.

Outcast Theatre Collective is at Stageworks, in Tampa’s Channelside District, with the Memorial Day military drama Beyond Glory. Find out all about it here.

Land O’ Lakes High School student Kennedy Engasser, who wrote and performed several one-act plays in Summer 2022 at thestudio@620, is back at the intimate theater space Friday and Saturday with an original play called In the Winter. Details and tickets here.

The Weekend arts forecast appears every Thursday in the Catalyst

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