Hall and Oates come home

Posted: March 20, 2006

Mayor Street declared Saturday Hall and Oates Day to coincide with the duo's homecoming show at the Tower Theater, and Daryl Hall thought he would read the proclamation to the packed crowd of 40- and 50-somethings (and some of their children). Hall requested a copy, but somewhere between Street's office and his hotel room, it disappeared.

"It got stolen. That's a real Philadelphia story, isn't it?" Hall laughed when he recounted the anecdote.

It was a backhanded compliment, for sure, but all was forgiven when the duo and their five-piece backing band followed it with a rendition of "Fall in Philadelphia" from their 1972 debut Whole Oates. Even though the song itself expresses frustration with being stuck in the city, it was a sterling example of the classic Philly soul tradition that Hall and Oates embodied early in their career, rich with vocal harmonies and spiked with a twangy John Oates guitar solo.

Before they turned into '80s hit-makers and adult contemporary/soft rock mainstays, Hall and Oates blended doo-wop harmonies and easygoing backbeats to create archetypal blue-eyed soul. Hall remains one of the great white soul singers, and he seemed most invested in a handful of covers, including compelling versions of Teddy Pendergrass' "Love TKO" and the Stylistics' "You Are Everything," and early H&O songs such as "Rich Girl" and "She's Gone."

Hall showed off his agile falsetto in a coda to "Sara Smile" that segued into "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)." With its disco beat and interminable sax solo, the song flashed back to the pointless extended remixes of the '80s.

Drawing heavily on audience requests, the two-hour show jumped abruptly from era to era. Oates seemed to enjoy shooting guitar picks into the audience as much as he did playing, and there was little interaction between him and Hall, suggesting that the partnership is now a marriage of convenience. Along with "Maneater" thongs, CD recordings of the show were sold immediately afterward. Maybe that entrepreneurial spirit is the real Philadelphia story.

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|