Hall and Oates

Hollywood Bowl

July 2, 2011

By Victoria Joyce
(SugarBuzz Hollywood)

SugarBuzz Magazine

Who doesn’t love these guys?

Darryl Hall and John Oates have been making hit records since the 70s. They kept it up in the 80s with big hair and big videos. Since then, they have definitely dialed it down a bit with the White Boy Philly Soul mellowing beautifully. A gig at the Hollywood Bowl for the 4th of July Weekend was an opportunity we could not pass up.

The Bowl is beautiful - - seeing ANYBODY there is amazing; classical, pop, jazz, you name it. Hall and Oates could not be anything but wonderful. We just might go back for Stevie Wonder.

The personification of aging gracefully – Daryl Hall still looks good in his blue jeans and his voice is just a smidge short of what is once was for hitting high notes. But no matter – he knows how to work it. The same smooth, romantic message is delivered and his fundamental guitar twang that is sweet simplicity itself. If it ain’t broke, blah, blah, blah.

Rock and Roll Establishment much? You could say that. They’ve broken up once or twice (in 40 years?) but overall Daryl Hall and John Oates have a rep of being well behaved, mostly sane and really, really good musicians. You know you have arrived when your mustache has an app. Yes, that’s right John Oates – “J-Stache” that came and went in the 80s (memba’ that one?) has been worked into an app for your iPhone – promoting Hall & Oates’ back catalog. OMG.

On the other hand, H&O still have lots of street cred that does not usually accompany success and longevity. But not industry recognition - which to some rebels & outsiders increases the Bad Boy Thang.

Hall and Oates received a surprise Grammy nomination two years ago for (Best Duo or Group) a live version of 70s Nugget, “Sara Smile” and D&J dis’ed it. Seriously, they didn’t even go – having only been nominated twice before and never won. And they are NOT in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. From us - more bonus points.

Their show at the Bowl was just lovely. They played their hits. How could they not? H&O have a dump truck full. Opening with “Maneater,” “Private Eyes – Are Watching You,” and our personal favorite (swear to God-we sang it in the car all the way home) ‘”I Can’t Go for That – No Can Do.”

“We’ve done this song at every one of our shows” was the slow sexy intro to “She’s Gone.” One word: Swoon. This is one of the most perfect songs ever, like of all time. Who doesn’t need a drink and a quick decision? Slowed down just a touch and a little more jazzy, this song never gets old. Exquisite.

Over all, the show was serious fun with little banter and no theatrics. Small combo backing them up, really excellent and seasoned side men; percussionist, drums, keyboards, sax and bass surrounding John Hall on guitar and Daryl, back and forth on guitar and keyboards.

Opening the evening with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra – led by Tom Wilkins – doing a Military Medley to 4th of July Fireworks. Got to admit, there is a special place in my heart for John Phillip Sousa. Wilkins came back and was visibly tickled to backing up Daryl & John with his 40 piece orchestra. Rockets red glare all over the place. Happy Birthday America.

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