Music industry veteran Michael McDonald arrived at the State Theatre toting his first album of new material in nearly a decade and a full band of crack musicians who probably couldn’t play a stray note if they tried.

Despite the fact that McDonald’s music has come back in fashion – his slick aesthetic permeates indie-pop and R&B, and earlier this year he collaborated with renowned contemporary bassist Thundercat – the crowd skewed to the baby boomers who grew up listening to him in the Doobie Brothers, with Kenny Loggins and on his smattering of 1980s solo releases. Maybe the price tag on the tickets ($45-$75) scared off the younger generation.

In the time since that peak on the pop charts, comedians have roped him into their comedy routines, from Martin Short to Jimmy Fallon to the goofy “Yacht Rock” YouTube videos. This is easy pickings for comics, reliant on the fact that he has a voice – like other male singers such as Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Eddie Vedder – so singular that, when he sings, he often sounds like someone else doing an impression of him. It’s a shag carpet of a voice, evocative of the 1970s smooth, sensitive man sporting feathered hair, trimmed beard and a top button undone.

Yet there’s something undeniably joyful about his voice, which he is still capable of bringing down to soulful lows and surprisingly soaring highs. If there is an element to his singing that people can eke humor from, then that playfulness also teases out the sexiness of his compositions – the subtle funk of his rhythms, snaky guitar lines and smooth saxophone solos. Never was this more evident than in his performance of his 1982 hit “I Keep Forgettin’ (Every Time You’re Near),” which he sang with the two women on stage (one of whom, songwriter Amy Holland, is his wife of nearly 35 years). The song seemed to slither into being, conjuring the sultry, mid-tempo soul that artists such as Sade would later build upon and transform into entire careers.

The sound in the theater was robust and crystalline – almost to studio perfection – with all the professionalism of someone who got his start as a touring and session musician for Steely Dan. Even 40 years later, the Steely Dan influence has never left his style, which shines with polished jazz touches and a strutting backbeat. It was a bit unfortunate that the concert was an assigned seating affair, as the music often begged to be danced to; the crowd only rose to its feet for older material such as his 1986 hit “Sweet Freedom” and the towering duo of Doobies classics that closed the set: “Minute By Minute” and “What a Fool Believes.”

His current album, “Wide Open,” is an exquisite late-career work and the songs translated very well live, particularly the delectable chorus of “Hail Mary” and the funky drive of “If You Wanted to Hurt Me.” The middle of the set was overly stuffed with these songs, and their lack of familiarity among the audience members cooled off the show’s momentum.

The concert also felt brief but may have unofficially been a co-headline show with Marc Cohn, who played a stout opening set and then joined McDonald for an encore suite of covers that included Van Morrison’s “Into the Mystic,” with both men on acoustic guitars, and a full-band take on Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On.” Even though the original is such a towering song, McDonald’s rendition was, to nobody’s surprise, immaculately performed, respectful of Gaye’s songwriting and not a speck of dust on it.

Robert Ker is a freelance writer who lives in Portland.