VPAC Scoop column: The magnificent Michael McDonald
Editor’s note: From time to time, members of the Vilar Performing Arts Center community will provide insights into upcoming art, music and dance performances at the 535-seat theater in Beaver Creek Village. This week, the Vilar Performing Art Center’s Tom Boyd previews Saturday’s Michael McDonald show.
“Batman v. Superman”? “Captain America”? “X-Men”? No, this summer’s true blockbusting superhero is none other than Michael McDonald (and his vocal cords). Who else could have the gusto and the zest to keep churning out hits after decades as a rocker with not one, but two hit rock ’n’ roll bands?
McDonald, who will be at the Vilar Performing Arts Center on Saturday, has proven himself as a timeless and ever-evolving vocalist and multi-instrumentalist. Before his solo career, fans fell in love with him as one of the members of Steely Dan and then later as an integral part of the Doobie Brothers. As a Doobie, McDonald sang lead vocals on some of the band’s best-known songs, such as “Real Love,” “What a Fool Believes” and “Takin’ It to the Streets.” He was noted for helping the band redefine its funky R&B sound as a singer, keyboardist and songwriter. The band also helped foster a writing partnership with Kenny Loggins that earned McDonald his first of five Grammy Awards.
Following a Doobie Brothers farewell tour, McDonald began releasing solo albums, the first being “If That’s What It Takes” in 1982. What followed was a historic solo career that even outmatched his already successful band career. What other artists can say they’ve had so many prolific careers in one lifetime?
McDonald has performed on stage and on record with the likes of Van Halen, Patti LaBelle, Aretha Franklin, Elton John and Ray Charles, as well as released singles spanning the genres of R&B, Motown, soul, gospel, rock ’n’ roll and pop. A few weeks ago, he was surprised on stage by an impromptu appearance and duet with his friend Cher. Yes, that Cher.
So what’s the final review? Michael McDonald is a superhero. He’s managed to fit multiple entirely different and successful musical careers into one lifetime — and as he’s shown with his high-energy performances, he’s not done yet.
Tom Boyd is the director of public relations and communications for the Vail Valley Foundation.