One of my first stitched tea towel sets was Daryl Hall and John Oates, mostly because I wanted to stitch John’s mustache. A year later, I still love stitching them as a duo, and each day my love for their music reaches a new level. With that said, I saw them live last week. A friend requested that I do a “mini review” after the show, so the following is my best unbiased report of the concert.
The show was scheduled to start at 7:30 on Thursday night. They were late hitting the stage, which gave me time to silently judge the audience. I was expecting a mix of Gen Xers and ironic Millennials; however, my partner and I were of the youngest in the crowd, by at least 10 to 20 years. A man two rows in front of me was bald and wiry, wearing a t-shirt that claimed “OLD GUYS RULE” across the back. A woman to my left clanked her dentures on her plastic wine cup and appeared to be at least 83, although her severe anorexia could have added a few unkind years to her facial features. I did spy one youngster who hobbled in on crutches with a broken leg sporting a “Deck the Hall and Oates” shirt, and he was probably in his mid 20s. God bless him, he was standing up and rocking out for the duration. It did finally dawn on me that college students are not likely to pay this much for a ticket just to be kitschy. Buying a dollar copy of H2O on vinyl is a far cry from current ticket prices.
Without much ado, they opened at about 7:45 with Maneater. It was thrilling to hear those familiar beginning notes, and I will likely remember that moment for quite some time. The sound quality for the first few songs was pretty awful though. Hall was motioning to stage left, clearly dissatisfied with the levels. Although, he did this throughout most of the show, so I’d say he’s either a perfectionist or a micromanaging bastard. I bet Oates might have something to say about that if given the chance.
At a certain point, after a couple of songs, they seemed to hit a groove. Then, suddenly, Hall abandoned his guitar station and moved back to center stage to keyboard. This is when all hell broke loose. Let’s take a look at the stage set up:
John is over on the right, sans mustache, which I expected but it still made me sad. For most of the show he stood there, playing unassumingly and smiling.
Behind Oates was an old guy in a shiny suit. The audience loved the hell out of him. He reminded me of the guy from My Name Is Earl who wanted to be in Jason Lee’s band, Fish Taco. Hence, all night, I referred to him as Fish Taco. (I know that is a random, obscure reference, but it’s worth including even if only one person gets it. If you are interested in joining the joke, find the “Van Hickey” episode of the second season of Earl. You won’t be sorry.)
On the far left is some other guitarist. I don’t know his name, yet he had more attention and jam time from Hall than Oates did, which is total bullshit.
That brings us to center stage, Daryl Megalomaniac Hall, on keyboard. This is when they went into Do What You Want, Be Who You Are and segued beautifully into I Can’t Go For That. Amidst the excitement, Hall began to have a sleeve malfunction. Panic ensued. I could only imagine the curse-out he was giving that sleeve in his head. Goddammit, I am Daryl Fucking Hall you piece of shit sleeve! Get back into place, NOW.
This was a turning point in the show. The crowd had been standing for over five minutes, rocking hard, and they were tired (and old). Hall, despite being 3 to 4 minutes into I Can’t Go For That, showed no signs of slowing or wrapping it up. He just kept jamming. And jamming. And jamming. People began to sit down, essentially waiting for him to move on. He did, eventually, but it was clear that he really just wanted to be at home playing in his backyard with his friends. Oh, wait…he does that every day on Live From Daryl’s House, and we can all watch it for FREE online.
A few other observations:
- Hall loves to touch his hair, flip his hair, stroke his hair. He loves his hair. I wanted to jump on stage and put a headband on him.
- There was zero banter between Hall and Oates on stage. They appeared to tolerate each other and play their hits, as a means to an end (getting paid).
- After playing for maybe about an hour, there were two encores. Lights out – clap clap clap. Two songs. Repeat. Oh, the games we play.
- I know my expectations were unrealistic, but I really hoped they would bring Kevin Bacon on stage and play When the Morning Comes. I also hoped for a cover of Backstabbers. Neither of these things happened, although they did do a cover of You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling. I’m not crazy about that song, but the aforementioned anorexic 80-year-old nearly snapped a vertebrae she was grooving so hard to it.
My review probably sounds less than glowing, and if I were more impartial, I’d say the show was mediocre at best. Still, was it worth it? You bet your ass it was. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. I also want to mention, Thursday night was close to a full moon. The bike ride from downtown to my near-east home, fireflies flashing in the periphery, was a wonderful end to the evening. More than anything, I was thankful to be following my partner in crime, who was equipped with a headlight, because if he’s not there to share everything with me it’s as though it never happened. And that is the sappiest shit you’ll ever get out of me, because I can’t go for that, no, no, no can do.