For many people, Hall and Oates epitomize the music of the late 1970s and early '80s. And there were more than a few of those among the 4,000 or so fans who packed Allen Event Center Monday night to see Daryl Hall, John Oates and their bandmates try to recapture the magic of that era.
Both members of the duo, at least from afar, appear to be defying age. Hall, resplendent in his leather jacket, dark sunglasses and long blond hair, and Oates, missing only what used to be his signature mustache, look almost exactly like you remember them from their music videos. Backed by a six-piece band and simple fabric backdrops, the set-up suggested this pair was more interested in music than fancy showmanship.
The crowd was more than appreciative of the chance to see them live, especially after things kicked off with arguably their biggest hit, "Maneater." However, if time hasn't touched the men themselves, it has been a tad unkind to some of their work. Although songs like "Kiss on My List," "She's Gone" and "Rich Girl" can still rightly be considered classics, other less familiar tunes seemed tethered to the years in which they were released. Not helping matters was a wonky sound mix that often left Hall muffled under the booming music.
Hall and Oates tend to stray a bit from the recorded versions of their songs, which is not surprising, considering they've been playing the same songs for more than three decades. Many were given a lounge-y, jazzy spin, indulging the whims of Hall and saxophonist Charles DeChant. The most egregious example was the finale of the regular set, "I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)," which was transformed from a svelte four minutes into a bloated extended remix, making it a song to be endured rather than enjoyed.
Although Hall and Oates have a catalog that easily can fill up several hours, they kept things short and sweet, singing 10 songs during the regular set and two songs in each of two encores. Ninety minutes after they started, the pair sent the crowd on their merry way, but not before finishing with one of their biggest hits, "Private Eyes." That rousing number all but erased any previous sound or performance issues.
At their best, Hall and Oates remain one of the most memorable pop duos in music history. Longevity has to count for something, right?