The Essential Doobie Brothers Live Album Playlist

Here's why The Doobie Brothers' live LPs are special.

Written by Emilee Lindner • Photography by Live Nation Staff • June 16, 2017

The Doobie Brothers will bring their beloved hits to The Classic this July, along with Journey, The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Earth, Wind & Fire and Steely Dan. And while you can grab tickets to the two-day concert, which will go down in both Los Angeles and New York, you'll definitely want to revisit some of the songs now, right?
 
From “Black Water” to “Long Train Runnin’,” The Doobies have ditties for days, and if you’ve haven’t seen them live before The Classic, you can be sure to get a preview of their live-music goodness with any of the band’s five live albums. Below, we’ve documented some of the best moments of their many special live albums, so when you hit up The Classic this summer, you can be fully ready to witness history in the making.

Rockin' Down the Highway: The Wildlife Concert (1996)

After a long history in the 70s, a farewell tour in 1982, the Doobie story was still just beginning.The Doobie Brothers didn’t stay apart for long: after an impromptu reunion in 1987, the guys started to kick things back into gear, with a lineup that resembled that of their second and third albums, and with some additions. Their second live album documented a concert held in support of the Wildlife Conservation Society in the spring of 1996. The double album shows off every facet of their instrumentation, from full-effect pedal guitar to more grungy strumming to acoustic finger picking. Those world-famous vocal harmonies were on display, too, especially with the hefty lineup present. On this set, you’ll find old favorites like “China Grove,” to their comeback hit, “The Doctor,” to two new tracks that were never recorded before: “Slow Burn” and “Wild Ride.”

Best of The Doobie Brothers Live (1999)

Going into the new millennium, Sony released another live album, except this one only featured their most well-known hits. Many of the songs were recorded during the Wildlife Concert as well. The best-of LP starts off with the ramblin’ jam sesh that is “Jesus Is Just Alright,” complete with a raucous organ solo and incredible electric guitar riffs. It blazes through “Slack Key Soquel Rag” and “Black Water” and ends with an equally jammy “Without You,” which, in the past, had climbed up to 15 minutes of improvisation, but this recording condenses the rockin’ to under seven minutes.

Live at Wolf Trap (2004)

The Doobie Brothers headed to Virginia for a show at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts in 2004. The recordings ended up in a joint CD/DVD package called Live At Wolf Trap. They include their hits, of course, but they also dish out some of their songs that had previously never been recorded live. Not only that, but they busted out some covers -- Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Don’t Start Me Talkin’” (which appears on their 1972 album, Toulouse Street), Bobby Day’s “Little Bitty Pretty One” and Holland–Dozier–Holland’s “Take Me In Your Arms,” which the Doobies had made famous in 1975. The recordings mark their last ones with drummer Keith Knudsen, who died shortly after in 2005. The set was also reissued in 2013.

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