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Daryl Hall Made the Middle-Aged Dreams Come True (And Put on a Pretty Good Show).

April 17, 2011

Our Kevin Stairiker went to see Daryl Hall, the blond half of Hall & Oates, at the Liacouras Center at Temple University on Saturday (one week after Oates played at the Temple Performing Arts Center). Kevin filed the following report.

Images by Ben Davids.

As I treaded through heavy rain and thunder to the Liacouras Center on Saturday night, I couldn’t help but feel like the weather was a sign of things to come.

As I settled in my seat, I noticed the stage set-up, which was a mock-up of the “Live From Daryl’s House,” complete with a house background and … lots of candles. Even before the band came out, the pre-show music was enough to drive middle-aged women to dance in ways that surely would’ve embarrassed their kids had they been present.

At first I was worried that I had bought a ticket to be at a place I did not belong but that feeling ended along with the bad weather by night’s end.

Once Hall and Fitz & the Tantrums made their way out, Hall was quick to let us know that this was “not a show.” Rather, it was merely them fooling around in a similar style to “Live From Daryl’s House.”

Immediately after that was announced, it became exactly the opposite of what Hall said it would be: a completely structured show.

After kicking off with an infallibly energetic “You Make My Dreams,” the setlist went back and forth between Hall & Oates classics and cuts from Fitz & the Tantrums debut album, “Pickin’ Up The Pieces.”

As one can imagine, the audience (whose median age had to be at least forty-five) went nuts for the Hall & Oates hits, and were politely receptive to the Fitz side of the show (even though their songs sounded mostly like updated H & O songs anyway).

Hall, Michael Fitzpatrick, and co-Fitz vocalist Noella Scaggs traded vocals on every song like hot potato, and it worked nicely for songs like “Kiss On My List” which required high notes the 64-year old Hall could still hit (but not as strongly as in decades past).

Hall was in good form with his banter as well, never missing an opportunity to deride his own work.

“Dentist’s offices and supermarkets have been good to me over the years,” he quipped before performing the admittedly office and supermarket-ready “Kiss On My List.”

One of the best non-musical moments of the show was during “Sara Smile” at the “It’s you and me forever” line. Right as the word “forever” left Hall’s mouth, he let out an exasperated shrug, which had to be a reference to the fact that his decades long relationship with “Sara” ended in 2001.

I expected laughs or applause at that point, but I don’t think the general audience caught the joke.

Although roughly 99 percent of the audience likely came to see Hall, the clear star of the show was vocal-powerhouse and a half Noelle Scaggs, who killed it on every single song she was a part of. Whether it was shaking a tambourine and dancing hyper-enthusiastically on the Fitz track “Breakin’ The Chains Of Love” or singing lead on most of “Sara Smile,” it was Scaggs who elevated the show from a nostalgia-fest to a legitimate 2011 concert.

The eight-piece band supplementing the music was also top-notch, although I couldn’t shake the suspicion that the saxophonist was J Mascis without his granny glasses in disguise.

Knowing his audience all too well, Hall reached into the vaults for two older songs about the region – “Fall In Philadelphia” and “Perkiomen” – that went over well with the dancing and slightly intoxicated masses.

Truthfully though, Hall could’ve played a GWAR cover set and the audience still would have shouted out things like, “Temple loves you Daryl!”

The last song before the encore was “Rich Girl” and without hyperbole, people lost. their shit.

Lost. Their. Shit.

They also lost their bowels when any of the following occurred: Daryl talked about starting his career in Philly, Daryl mentioned something about Temple, or Daryl played a Hall & Oates song (which they knew really, really well).

The first encore song was the Fitz track “L.O.V.” which was actually the best of their songs that they played during the show. But as I looked side to side at the people around me, there was a genuine disappointment in their eyes. I could almost see them thinking, “C’mon, Daryl, just play ‘Maneater’…C’MON!”

That all changed as “L.O.V.” transformed into an absolutely smoking version of “I Can’t Go For That.”

The notoriously light 80s classic was transformed into an unbeatable groove that at times interpolated the keyboard riff from the Doors classic “The Changeling.” After eight incredibly (and really, unbelievable) minutes of the tune De La Soul borrowed for “Say No Go,” Hall put his hands up, said goodnight, and the band exited the stage.

All in all, it was an immensely entertaining showcase, the glowing combination of a man knowingly past his peak and a band on their way up in the world sharing the stage and basking in each others’ glory, past and present.Here’s the setlist:

1. You Make My Dreams
2. Moneygrabber
3. Kiss On My List
4. Pickin’ Up The Pieces
5. Perkiomen
6. Breaking the Chains Of Love
7. Girl I Love You
8. Sara Smile
9. Don’t Have To Work It Out
10. Fall In Philadelphia
11. Dear Mr. President
12.  Rich Girl
13. L.O.V.
14. I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)

One Comment
  1. Rose permalink
    June 12, 2011 2:01 am

    Hi there! I’m in Ny, and just saw H&O @ Jones Beach Theatre. I founf this by putting “hall and oates changeling the doors” in the search…sure enough, someone else noticed it too…nice! Peace xoxo

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