Hall and Rundgren: Brotherly love at Borgata

Posted: May 30, 2011

Daryl Hall probably never conceived of taking his monthly Internet show, Live From Daryl's House, on the road when it started in 2007. Shot primarily in the barnlike rehearsal space of his self-restored Colonial in Millbrook, N.Y., the show has welcomed Hall friends old and new, musicians who inspired him as well as younger players he and longtime partner John Oates influenced.

Players who visit Daryl's House chat, joke, prepare food, and make music. They include Travie McCoy, Nick Lowe, Sharon Jones, Smokey Robinson, and fellow Philadelphia pal and onetime producer Todd Rundgren, with whom Hall humorously made sausage during their show's cooking segment.

The Internet show is a hit, so much so that come autumn it will air as a syndicated television program, with CBS3 jumping on board. On Friday night, Hall brought his Web vision - barn slats and all - to the Borgata Music Box in Atlantic City with Rundgren as his guest.

"Welcome to my house," Hall said with a grin to the appreciative throng before welcoming Rundgren to the stage.

"I hope we screw up," joked Rundgren. "It'll make everything more real."

The pair and backing musicians and vocalists did lots of teasing but little botching. In their roles as blue-eyed-soul avatars, Hall and Rundgren started the evening with a Philly song, a hammering take on Gamble and Huff's "Expressway to Your Heart," immortalized by the Soul Survivors. They also took on Thom Bell and William Hart's Philly-riffic "Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)" with velvety charm.

As they did throughout the too-short show, one vocalist took the first verse, the other the next, with the smooth operators joining harmonically on the chorus. Though their versions of Sound of Philadelphia classics were heavenly, the evening's heights came as they tackled each other's catalogs, rarities included. It was cream-cheesy bliss to hear Hall take on the lower notes of Rundgren's cool-R&B "Can We Still Be Friends" and the cosmopolitan gospel of "The Want of a Nail."

Rundgren pulled out his wailing falsetto for Hall songs such as the tenderhearted but screechy "Wait for Me" and teased about oversinging the likes of "Beanie G. and the Rose Tattoo," from Hall & Oates' Rundgren-produced War Babies album of 1974.

Their subtle, fluid dynamic burned brightest when they joined in Möbius strip harmonies for Rundgren's "It Wouldn't Have Made Any Difference."

Magnificent.

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