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McDonald, Scaggs make a familiar touring pair

for Journal Register Newspapers

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Michael McDonald and Boz Scaggs had been touring partners a few times before last year’s Dukes of September trek with Steely Dan’s Donald Fagen. But doing that show has made an impact on McDonald and Scaggs’ joint outing this year.

“The last time Boz and I toured we didn’t necessarily always do the encore section (together). We just kind of felt it as we’d go,” says the St. Louis-born McDonald, 59, who logged tenures with Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers before starting his solo career in 1982. “Now we’ve built the encore kind of as a third act, if you will. We always wind up with the two of us on stage doing four songs — which may grow exponentially as the tour wears on, because we’re having so much fun.”

The duo’s joint set includes Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” as well as songs by Chuck Berry, Curtis Mayfield and Joe Simon. McDonald and Scaggs are also performing plenty of their own solo hits, and the former promises a selection from his pair of Motown covers albums.

“I don’t think we’ll ever stop doing the Motown stuff. It’s just too much fun to play,” says McDonald, who’s working on a new album with guitarist Robben Ford and also expects to be back out with the Dukes in 2012. “We try not to lay claim to it in any way, but the fact we did those two records we feel at least gives us license to play the stuff in the show.

“That music is ... really more fun than work. We get to those songs and it’s hard not to smile and really be in the moment with them.”

Michael McDonald and Boz Scaggs perform at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 27 at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $45 and $28 pavilion, $10 lawn. Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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