DFW Music News

Michael McDonald's Yacht Rock Ship Sails in for "Night of the Proms" at Verizon Theatre

Remember three years ago when your workplace productivity levels plunged because people kept sending those Yacht Rock videos around the office? It's quite possible that in the wake of watching parodies of the incestuous early '80s careers of dudes who had recorded with Steely Dan, you wasted all of 30 seconds before downloading a number of greatest hits albums from the days of (apparently) hanging out with James Ingram and chugging Malibu right out of the bottle.

Above all, the series' thrust was the importance of striving for smooth music. But by the last episode, when it's 1985 and Michael McDonald is shut out of the "We Are the World" sessions by, of all people, Michael Jackson, the more salient narrative undercurrent switches to artistic relevance.

Long story short, McDonald gets his groove back after Dan Akroyd admits to stealing his laminated invitation to sing on "We Are the World," and immediately writes "Sweet Freedom" (referred to as "the theme to a Gregory Hines movie") before helping Loggins and Giorgio Moroder save a planet from falling into a black hole.

Nearly 30 years after plinking out the melody to the theme for Running Scared, McDonald is still going strong. Tonight, he's bringing his sweet, baritone pipes, silver mane and blue-eyed soul to Verizon Theater for the epically named "Night of the Proms" showcase. So how is it that McDonald is still, well, kind of current?

1. Michael McDonald can still sing. If we're being honest, Michael McDonald's aforementioned sweet pipes might be a tad rusty, but geez, he's 62; it's what happens after hitting the high notes of "What a Fool Believes" for 35 years. Even still, the man can belt it out. Even a fussy perfectionist like Donald Fagen still gives him his due.

2. Nobody sings like Michael McDonald Let's face it. Michael McDonald is blue-eyed soul. Sure, that phrase is supposed to also describe people like Steve Winwood and Hall & Oates, but nobody embodies it more, and certainly not any contemporary pop star. Justin Timberlake might be remembered someday for the distinctive qualities of his voice and the various phases of his career, but not in the singular way Michael McDonald is.

3. Women dig Michael McDonald Taking a date to see Michael McDonald is no guarantee for romance, but it can't hurt. Maybe it's his songs, maybe it's his voice, maybe it's because he reminds women of their dads. Whatever the reason, a Michael McDonald date night is at the very least a thoughtful alternative to dinner and drinks. Play "I Keep Forgetting" on a jukebox at a bar and look around at who's nodding their heads. Probably the ladies.

4. You liked The 40 Year Old Virgin Paul Rudd having enough of a Michael McDonald concert DVD at the fake Best Buy he and Steve Carrell worked at in the 2004 Judd Apatow comedy is one of the flick's signature scenes, leading you and millions of others to threaten to "ya mo blow this place up".

5. Michael McDonald is in everything You probably recognize Michael McDonald's voice from Doobie Brothers songs, and it's easy to pick out his background vocals on Steely Dan songs. (Take three-and-a-half minutes to listen to "Peg". We'll wait, because it's awesome and hilarious when you hear them). There's also his frequent collaborations with Toto, Kenny Loggins, Carly Simon, Christopher Cross and plenty of the other soft rock hit machines you recognize from the soundtrack to the dentist's office. But did you know he also co-wrote "I'll Wait" by Van Halen? Yep. He sure did, and that song rules, too.

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Steve Steward
Contact: Steve Steward