Live Review: Hall & Oates – Irving Plaza, New York
Mon, 09 Mar 2009 08:53:24
Daryl Hall & John Oates Videos
NYC's Irving Plaza is a general admission venue for most of its concerts, so it was odd to see rows of folding chairs lined up on the hard wood floor that usually hosts circle pits! It was an intimate, "for the fans" experience where legendary songwriting duo Hall & Oates recreated the cozy, comfy LA Troubadour show that was captured and recorded for their recent DVD. Tonight's show evolved into a jam session that emanated endless heart and soul, thanks to H&O and their phenomenal backing band.
When Daryl Hall and John Oates took the stage, they were seated on wooden bar stools and cradling acoustic guitars. A shades-and-goatee sporting Hall was cloaked in a black leather bomber jacket and a mustache-less Oates was casual in jeans and a t-shirt. As soon as they took their stools, the crowd went absolutely nuts. An evening with H&O was packed with moms, middle aged couples and young girls such as myself with a hankering for nostalgia and some flawless pop gems that ooze soulful, R&B sexiness.
"Maneater" opened the show, and that Top 40 anthem comes across as much more funked out when stripped down to acoustic guitar. Even with the full backing band that played in front of an exposed brick wall, giving the club a jazzy feel, the compositions felt more streamlined yet just as powerful. For most of the set, Oates played electric against Hall's acoustic guitar, and they were backed by a saxophone, keyboards and assorted percussion. "Out of Touch" resonated as well as a jammy, guitar-driven number in this intimate environment.
"Everything Your Heart Desires" was the night's third song, and it quickly established the fact that this was going to be a parade of hits for fans who crave familiar and beloved tunes, not deeper album cuts. "Family Man," a twangy "Say It Isn't So," a contemplative "How Does It Feel to Be Back," "She's Gone" and "Sarah Smiles" comprised the meat and the bulk of a the set list. "I Can't Go For That," replete with Hall playing the keyboards and indulging in excellent, falsetto vocal drama, closed the regular portion of the show.
H&O bounded back on stage for not one, but two encores that yanked asses out of the seats. People were restless from sitting and the infectiousness of the encore songs had everyone standing and dancing. The longtime tandem sailed through high-octane versions of "Rich Girl" and "You Make My Dreams Come True" for the initial encore. The second encore consisted of "Your Kiss is on My List" and the clap-happy "Private Eyes." It was a perfect set list. The only notable exclusion was "Method of Modern Love."
Hall's shaggy, blonde locks remain as lush and full as ever, while we feel compelled to issue this memo to Oates: Oates, we love you. You're an incredible soft rock guitarist, but the 'stache is missed more than you could ever know. Bring it back or we'll be forced to start a petition.
— Amy Sciarretto