SEVEN individuals took to the York Barbican stage but from the first beat they fused into one wall of sound.

The band and crew had set up the day before for the opening night of their UK tour and their preparation was apparent in all areas as they revisited material unplayed for years. This wasn’t a set menu of greatest hits; this was something special.

Where many bands have a focal point frontman, the Doobie Brothers are a 14-legged relay team throwing your attention across the stage as each voice astounds more than the last without a single clunky changeover of the baton.

Resembling the current Man City team, any of this front four could score wonder goals. Their harmonies could make the Eagles or the Beach Boys grab their coats and their playing would make many guitarists head back to the practice room licking their wounds.

With a setlist containing Long Train Running and China Grove, they delivered blues, country, rock, funk and even the most sublime folk guitar in Soquel Rag, where the Barbican almost stopped breathing to hear the intricacies of these virtuosos.

Every member of this line-up could shine in any band, not least Little Feat pianist Billy Payne. I’m sure John McFee could get a tune from a kettle as he excelled on guitar, pedal steel, fiddle and harmonica, all with effortless grace.

This band of brothers adore what they do, making the evening fly by. As we enjoyed a masterclass in musicianship, I couldn’t help but laugh at the ludicrous arrangements that would have many bands run to the hills in fear, yet they played them as if on rails.

Some bands are jacks of all trades but masters of none; the Doobie Brothers are masters of all. The closing encore explains all you have to do for two hours to disappear with a smile in their company: “Listen To The Music”.