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Doobie Brothers ready to rock the Columbus Civic Center

Tom Johnston says after 45 years he still loves performing and getting the people in the audience dancing and singing.

“I don’t know if anyone loves the travel part of touring, but you can’t play without it,” Johnston said in an interview with the Ledger-Enquirer. “The excitement of the show makes it worthwhile.”

The vocalist and guitar player is an original member of The Doobie Brothers. The band will be playing at 8 p.m. Friday in the Columbus Civic Center.

“How a band is going to do is not something you can predict,” he said about the group’s beginning and longevity. “We did not know how it was going to unfold.”

But it has been a very successful ride.

The band has a long list of hit songs including “Black Water” and “What a Fool Believes,” which reached No. 1 on the charts.

Other well-known numbers among their 16 Top 40 hits include “Listen to the Music,” “Jesus is Just All Right,” “Takin’ It to the Streets,” “Long Train Runnin,” “China Grove” and “Rockin Down the Highway.”

“What a Fool Believes” won a Grammy for 1979 Record of the Year.

“I still hear some of those songs on the radio,” Johnston said. “That to me is a testament to the quality of the tunes and that they have something to say that resonates with people.”

The popular band has sold more than 48 million albums.

The band has released a 10-CD Boxed Set “The Doobie Brothers: The Warner Bros. Years,” which includes some of the band’s top albums from 1971-1983 containing more than 110 songs.

In 2014, the band released an album “Southbound” featuring collaborations with top country singers such as Blake Shelton and Toby Keith.

One album, “The Best of the Doobies,” has sold more than 12 million copies.

Describing the band, Johnston said, “We’re basically an American band. We cover a lot of areas. We cover blues, R&B, country, blue grass and rock ‘n’ roll. It is based on rhythms, rhythm structures, picking and harmonies. They’ve been the signature of the band.”

The stop in Columbus is one of about 90 on the tour. The band plays in Biloxi, Miss., on Saturday. In 2017, it will be performing at the Byron Bay Bluesfest in Australia.

He said fans can expect to hear the Doobie Brothers songs the way they are used to hearing them. No surprises.

Johnston, who had a successful solo career during a few years in the 1980s when the group temporarily disbanded looks forward to the shows.

“I like the relationship we have with fans. Every now and then one will come up and tell me how a particular song played an important part in their life. It might have gotten them through a rough time. It makes me feel good,” Johnston said. “We see older people, longtime fans, in the audience but we are also seeing a lot of younger people who really get into what we are playing.”

Larry Gierer: 706-571-8581, @lagierer

If you go

What: The Doobie Brothers in concert

When:Friday at 8 p.m.

Where:Columbus Civic Center, 400 4th St.

Cost: Tickets are $58.50 and $68.50

Purchase: The box office is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Thursday. The day of the show it will be open from 10 a.m. until shortly after showtime. Call 706-653-4460.

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