One of the best package tours of 2017 was the keen pairing of Philly-soul icons, Daryl Hall & John Oates (Hall & Oates) with another exceptional duo, Tears for Fears, which turned out to be both a critical and commercial success.
Changing things up for 2018, the current Hall & Oates outing pairs them on a co-bill with the pop-rock ensemble, Train, which performed at the Xfinity Center in Mansfield, Massachusetts on June 7, 2018.
Fronted by tenor vocalist Patrick Monahan, Train opened their set nicely with 2009s, “Parachute.” Nicely, however, quickly became frantic, as a blistering take of “50 Ways to Say Goodbye,” Trains tongue-in-cheek tune, which has Monahan lamenting that a lover, who gave him his walking papers, has falsely died (and gives several over-the-top and different versions concerning her demise), rather than admit he was actually just dumped. An infectious number, which was given added tang due to a more accentuated mariachi band flavored licks, which the band incorporated live.
A new song, “Call Me Sir,” also employed some humorous overtones of a once ignored man, now gathering respect and being called “Sir,” all due to his apparently attractive new beau, was followed up with an unanticipated, yet exquisite, cover of Led Zeppelins “Black Dog” – where Monahan clearly showed his vocal chops remain as remarkable as ever.
While Train has been covering “Free Fallin” this tour, as a tribute to Tom Petty; they substituted that with a rendition of Aerosmiths “Dream On”- which was an appropriate (and geographically appretiated) nod to the “Bad Boys From Boston.”
Not wasting any time getting to their hits, Hall & Oates appeared onstage and quickly started off with their biggest smash of their career, “Maneater” (“Maneater” spent a quartet of weeks at the number 1 spot on Billboards Hot 100 chart in 1982) – and so began the inaugurate of the duos pretty much non-stop jukebox of hits. 1984’s “Out of Touch” (which was the only track performed from the album, “Big Bam Boom,” this night) is now less synthesizer laden than the original, now being more electric guitar driven, as was 1983’s gem, “Say It Isn’t So.”
Harking back to their initial hit single successes, “She’s Gone,” and “Sara Smile,” were performed simultaneously. “She’s Gone,” which is a genuine duet between the two partners, with Oates recreating his booming, yet very emotionally pained, delivery of feelings ones age after a split, while Hall effortlessly recreated his iconic falsetto on “Sara Smile” (both songs were Top 10 hits in 1976).
Not just staying with the obvious smashes, the lesser known, and very cool, “Is It a Star,” was once again pulled out for diehards of the band, before an extended take on “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do),” regained the crowds full attention. Long-time saxophonist, Charles DeChant, who has been with Hall & Oates since 1976, (and easily the most popular onstage member, besides, Hall & Oates), charismatically recreated his iconic saxophone solo on “I Can’t Go for That,” and stole the spotlight for a few minutes.
At this point, Monahan was called back to perform “Philly Forget Me Not,” a joint collaboration between Hall & Oates (and is actually their first new song in 15 years) and Monahan. Nodding to influences from Philadelphia and Detroit, “Philly Forget Me Not,” is a most welcome return to new music from the most popular duo ever. Monahan stayed on to duet with Hall on, “Wait For Me,” before crooning out a polished delivery of Trians, “Calling All Angels.” After Monhan absented himself, the set was closed perfectly with a pair of early 80’s paragons, “Kiss On My List” and 1981’s “Private Eyes,” before returning for a heavier than usual “Rich Girl,” which transitioned into “You Make My Dreams Come True,” and sent the crowd away as ecstatic as if they had just witnessed the show at Daryl Halls actual house!
The generational mix in the crowd was similar to last year, but there appeared to be even more younger faces this time. As the legend and talent of Hall & Oates continues to expand, their sometimes unfair “80s” affiliation (which was never justified or even accurate, as the duos debut album was released in 1972), has now been re-branded with a “timeless” label.