MASHANTUCKET, Conn. — It was a soulful night at Foxwoods on Sunday as Chaka Khan and Michael McDonald shared the bill in the Grand Theater.
They performed separate sets but joined each other on stage for some songs, making for one special show that spanned about three hours.
McDonald, 67, is best known as the main voice of The Doobie Brothers for a few years but has had his share of solo songs, several which charted.
Starting off with “I Keep Forgettin,’” which hit No. 4 on the charts in 1982 and is on his first solo album, McDonald moved from guitar to a grand piano for the remainder of his brand of blues rock.
A five-time Grammy winner, McDonald has one of the more distinctive, soulful voices, and the saxophone player also stood out along with the lead guitarist.
The singer-songwriter dedicated “Yah Mo B There” to James Ingram, whom he did the song with in 1983.
“Sweet Freedom” from 1986, “Real Love” from the Doobie Brothers, and “Just Strong Enough” off McDonald’s new album, “Wide Open,” varied the song list. He and a female backup singer sang the duet, “On My Own.”
Khan stepped on stage for a few duets with McDonald, including Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” which McDonald covered, and “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing.”
Khan also performed Gaye’s ode to social consciousness, “What’s Going On.”
Three Doobie Brothers songs closed the show, “Minute by Minute,” “What a Fool Believes” — a No. 1 song from 1979, and “Takin’ It to the Streets.”
McDonald’s band was supplemented by a bassist, two keyboardists and drummer, and the lead guitarist also supplied some vocals.
Khan, 66, a 10-time Grammy winner, opened the show, showcasing her high-energy music and far-ranging voice as usual. She kicked things off with “This Is My Night” and “Do You Love What You Feel.”
A highlight was her performance of the funky “Tell Me Something Good,” which Stevie Wonder wrote and Khan had a hit with in the 1970s with the group Rufus. She followed that up with another Rufus number, “Everlasting Love.”
It was then back to a solo number, “What Cha’ Gonna Do for Me,” before revisiting Rufus with “Sweet Thing,” which charted at No. 5 in 1976.
After a break with the bassist in the spotlight, Khan returned for “Through the Fire.”
McDonald appeared on stage for the duet, “You Belong To Me.” The crowd was told it was the first time the two sang the song together live.
“Super Life” was followed by Khan’s 1984 cover of Prince’s “I Feel for You,” which got many in the audience out of their seats.
Kahn, who has been called the Aretha Franklin of the 1980s, closed with the punchy Grammy winner “Ain’t Nobody” and showed she can still hit some truly high notes.
Opening for the two legends was Jeff LeBlanc, 33, a singer-songwriter-guitarist from Long Island who put on an entertaining set with original and cover material.