|Hall & Oates in August 2013. Photo: Kelly A. Swift|
Over the course of 90 wonderful and fast-moving minutes, Daryl Hall and John Oates –backed by a solid 6-man band – offered up rousing takes on not only most of their most beloved and essential hits from the 1970s and '80s but a few rarely-heard gems too. With Hall & Oates set to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame next month, the legendary hit makers seemed especially amped up throughout the concert. Indeed a sold-out crowd of 3,500 or so seemed to love every minute of it too.
Opening with an energetic version of "Maneater," the song's infectious groove and catchy choruses were not the only attraction. Hall's smooth vocals were strong from the start, and the dynamics extended to an effective climax to the song when Oates' lead guitar leads mirrored Charles DeChant's sax lines for a sonic jolt that kicked off the show with plenty of firepower.
With Hall and Oates playing guitars (along with lead guitarist Shane Theriot), the group's sound in Indio definitely boasted a powerful edge, which was apparent on "Out of Touch," which Oates unleashing some distinctive work on his lead guitar to close the song.
Hall & Oates' concert was a lesson in offering up songs that, while mostly faithful to the studio versions, were enhanced in the live setting via artful solos, vocal breaks and harmony vocals (notably "Say It Isn't So") that never failed to work their magic.
Among the under-the-radar material highlighted by the duo was "Did It In A Minute," "Alone Too Long" and "Las Vegas Turnaround (The Stewardess Song)," the latter two '70s gems featuring Oates on lead vocals.
Hall & Oates' distinctive blend of Philly soul, pop, rock and R&B is timeless, and their best songs continue to connect as powerfully as the era when they were released. From the soaring "She's Gone" ("It always feels good, no matter how many times we play it," Hall acknowledged in his introduction) and beautiful "Sara Smile" to the funky "I Can't Go For That" and pop-infused "Kiss On My List," the sense of joy and sheer joy of music making is embedded in the pair's DNA.
Hall & Oates ended the winning night with an infectious and dance-minded "Private Eyes," yet another reminder to the sheer number of superb songs recorded by popular music's number one dynamic duo.