Hall & Oates at the Hard Rock Live December 5, 2011

It’s hard to believe Darryl Hall and John Oates have been recording together for nearly 40 years; Hall is 64 and Oates 62. Their prolific partnership was never more evident than during the 1980’s. To say that they ruled radio would be an understatement. Hit after hit came from the duo and topped the #1 slot on the music charts. “Maneater,” “Sara Smile,” “Rich Girl,” “Out Of Touch,” “Family Man,” the list goes on and on. Though their shows together are fewer and far between, both musicians have their own side projects and solo endeavors, it was evident this evenings show was going to be a treat; not only for the audience but for the duo themselves. For this particular December evening they left no hit un-played.

John Oates took the stage first walking on with the rest of the band. Dressed in black jeans and a casual white shirt he appeared relaxed and ready to play as he greeted and waved to the crowd. Darryl Hall followed suit looking like a ‘total rock star.’ Dressed in a black leather jacket, blue jeans and sporting shades his blonde locks looked very familiar and cool. Opening the show with the smash hit “Maneater,” Hall’s blue-eyed soulful voice rang through the theater like crashing thunder in the night time sky. His voice is stronger than ever complimented by Oates guitar riffs. Hall can still hit the notes probably better now than he ever has. It was clear he loves live performing and gets into his own groove whether he’s playing the guitar or sitting behind a keyboard (which is where he sat during the second half of the set). John Oates however is not to be out done or outplayed. His harmonies were right on the mark and the duo’s six piece band played as tight as a drum. Paul Pesco (guitar), Brian Dunne (drums), Charlie DeChant (Saxophone – looked like a sharp dressed man in a purple suit), Zev Katz (bass), Eliot Lewis (Keyboards) and Everett Bradley (percussion) round out the band’s line-up.

The audience of the Hard Rock was on its feet more this evening than they were sitting down particularly during the second half of the show. Their mini 1970’s set was a great highlight. Joking they were doing to begin with a song from the 70’s, Hall & Oates joked back and forth about what song they would start with. Hall chose “I Am Woman,” and began singing the first bar as a baritone. Of course their own material faired much better. “She’s Gone,” a fan favorite – “Sara Smile,” showcased Hall’s soulful voice and developed a groove all on its own. “I Can’t Go For That,” “Rich Girl,” You Make My Dreams Come True,” “Kiss On My List,” and “Private Eyes,” had the audience on its feet dancing in the aisles. There was a great familiarity hearing and living these songs again so many years after their initial releases. The show was a blast and Hall & Oates 40 years on show no signs of slowing down. And that’s a good thing for their fans.

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