Daryl Hall and John Oates, the purveyors of their own self-created genre, 'rock n' soul,' have quite a career to look back on. A catalog of recorded music that dates back to the early 1970s and includes several well-crafted, memorable albums and a string of hit singles that seems never-ending. The duo also has the dubious honor of retaining the loyalty of many long-time fans as well enjoying a new-found wave of hipster credibility that has kept them and their music in the consciousness of cool indie kids who have fun clapping along to 1981's "Private Eyes" when it blares from a jukebox at any given dive bar. [Text by Gabe, photos by James.]
So, it's no surprise that Daryl and John's most recent appearance at Clearwater's Ruth Eckerd Hall was an instant sell-out, with 2,180 Hall and Oates fans of all ages occupying every possible plush, comfy seat at the venue, and prepped for a night of the unique brand of rock/pop/soul the co-lead singers are known for cranking out.
Taking the stage at 8:45 p.m. and opening with one of those many mega-hits, 1984's "Out of Touch," the show got off to what should have been a rousing start. Although the sound and the acoustics inside the building are always spectacular, something seemed to go incredibly sour with Hall's monitors from the onset; beginning with the opening number into at least the first half-dozen numbers, Hall seemed particularly perturbed as he motioned for a sound tech from side stage and delivered what seemed to be a pretty heated mouthful, if body language is any indication.
Daryl Hall, who is also riding a new crest of notoriety thanks to his highly successful Live from Daryl's House food-and-music TV program, sounded great, as always. His smooth, blue-eyed soul croon is his mightiest weapon and his delivery and re-invention of many of Hall and Oates' best-known hits always adds something new to his performances.
Although his personal sound problems seemed to affect this demeanor and the occasional squeal of feedback seemed to plague the evening's performance, the duo still managed to elate the packed house.
Clad in black jacket, t-shirt, jeans and shades, the shaggy-haired Hall led the six-piece backing band through a virtual history book of FM pop radio hits from the last four decades.
Focusing on their impressive string of 1980's radio and MTV singles, Hall and Oates sailed flawlessly from "Family Man" right in to "Say It Isn't So" without missing a beat. Audience members sang along loudly with the familiar tunes and many were inspired to jump from their seats to dance furiously along.
While the band stuck mostly to their best-known hits, a nice change of pace came from the deep album cut "Las Vegas Turnaround," which hails from their highly renown 1973 ground-breaker, Abandoned Luncheonette.
The wildest responses came from the classic "She's Gone," the perfect vehicle for the duo's well-honed brand of smooth, slick harmonizing and their clever interchanging vocals.
As the show progressed, the hits kept coming and the excitement level from the crowd seemed to swell.
An extended workout of 1981's often-sampled "I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)" turned into a percussion-filled, groove and featured the always stellar work of longtime sax player Charlie DeChant.
Hall seemed happier with his monitors and his personal sound levels as the night wore on and his mood and demeanor seemed to change for the better, which was obvious by the time the band launched into "Rich Girl," another one of their staple tunes.
Unfortunately, as the duo and the band were really hitting their stride and after a couple of encores, the performance was surprisingly over. An 85-minute set seems a little paltry for a band that has such a vast catalog to choose from, but the audience seemed elated and satisfied as the houselights came up, proof of how highly regarded and well-loved the duo remains among its legion of fans.
Out of Touch
Say It Isn't So
How Does It Feel to Be Back
Las Vegas Turnaround
I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)
You Make My Dreams Come True
Kiss On My List
Tyler- I can't believe how talented of a writer you are. This article was beautifully…
Great interview! Give the interviewer a full time job! He's great!
The DJ was actually The Castle's very own DJ Tom Gold :)
Fabulous review Gabe! Too bad I missed it.