Last month, I had the opportunity to interview singer-songwriter John Oates on the phone and toward the end of the 20-minute conversation, he asked if I came to his upcoming show at the Coach House (staged on Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2008), to come say "Hi."
Typically, I don't make a point of trying to get backstage to meet well-known musicians, but being such a fan of Hall & Oates, I couldn't refuse this invitation. He was gracious and polite with a number of fans that I saw him meet with, and it really is a great reminder to a critic like me that when musicians take even a few minutes to meet with a fan, it does mean so much to them and can build an even stronger bridge between musicians and their loyal listeners.
But as wonderful as it was to meet and talk for a few minutes with John, it was his subsequent show that was what I will most remember. He and his semi-acoustic trio were wonderful in a 16-song set that included many choice Hall & Oates classics from the 1970s, as well as the strong material off his 2008 album "1000 Miles of Life."
For fans of early Hall & Oates, John Oates' set list fully delivered. He kicked things off with "Lady Rain," the first of several songs he would play off the 1973 album "Abandoned Luncheonette." His expressive voice, wonderful use of rhythm and lead guitar work on his acoustic guitar and skillful arrangements extended throughout the 1 hour, 50 minute set.
Highlights of the concert were an upbeat and soulful "She's Gone," "Las Vegas Turnaround (The Stewardess Song)," "Change of Season" and "Sara Smile" representing his work with Hall & Oates, while the sparse protest song "Ravens" and alt-county flavored "I Found Love" off his recent solo CD were equally strong.
He closed the night with the title song off his new album, before returning for a well-earned encore to play "Circle of Three," written about the strong love he shares with his wife and son.