Pros: excellent song selection, great performance, good extras
Cons: none unless you aren't a fan of theirs
Daryl Hall and John Oates were mainstays of pop radio in the late 1970’s and 1980’s. The popularity of their music gave them a series of #1 song on the charts as well as a few crossovers onto the R&B chart - a rarity for white artists. By 1990 they had faded from the charts. They weren’t even seen performing together until 2003.
Hall & Oates: Live in Concert originally aired on A&E in 2003 as part of their Live By Request series. In this series, people request them to play songs, usually by phone. The result is a casual mix of some of their best songs as well as a few covers.
While watching this, I was really surprised by just how good they were musically after all these years. Other acts seem to lose their energy and the music sounds tired after all the years had passed. Hall & Oates still sounded energetic. I think the setting helped quite a bit, as well as the fact that they hadn’t been trying to reunite and stay together for many years. Coming back at a time when their songs and style were appreciated rather than feeling like they suddenly had to re-invent themselves for the pop charts was a smart move.
I have to say they look good as well. Darryl Hall still has the long-ish blond hair and there's not a bit of gray in John Oates curly dark locks. That could be artificial, but overall they have stayed looking fresh as well as sounding fresh. It’s a change from other acts where hard living has taken its toll on the artist many years later.
If you’ve only seen this aired on A&E, the DVD is a much better presentation. While preserving the audience interaction, the commercial breaks have been omitted as have the phone requests in between the songs (they are included in the special features section of the DVD). The music flows very well and all of the songs are sired in their entirety, including a few that were performed for the audience but never made it to the air.
I enjoyed seeing them playing guitar side by side in addition to the traditional line-up with Daryl Hall singing and occasionally being behind the keyboard. There was a section of acoustic selections as well including Say It Isn’t So and Out of Touch. The majority of the musicians behind them are people who played with them for years such as Charlie DeChant on saxophone and Tom Wolk on bass.
Also included on the DVD is an interview with Daryl Hall and John Oates that really goes a long way to showing their easy-going nature and why they were content with how things were for many years until the time was right for them to resurface. The phone calls in this section are nice and there’s one from a celebrity who’s voice you might recognize before it’s revealed just who it is (I did).
This is a great DVD for those who were fans of theirs many years ago like me. Unlike other acts who try to recapture what they once have and never quite make it, Daryl Hall and John Oates still have an amazing spark. Their casual interaction with their audience makes for a concert that has an easygoing nature to it. Rather than bore their audience with new material no one knows, the songs here are some of their biggest hits and best music. There are 14 songs which were aired on the A&E special as well as five songs that didn’t make it to the airwaves. All are excellent.
The Dolby digital 5.1 sound is great and it played nicely on the sound system with my widescreen television. It really had the feeling of someone performing right here in my living room as they manage to reach through the screen and create an intimate setting with the DVD audience as well as they did with their live audience. If you’ve been craving hearing She’s Gone live once again, this does not disappoint. Daryl’s voice is still that good after all these years.
Do It For Love
Every Time You Go Away
Out of Touch
Say It Isn't So
You Make My Dreams
Me and Mrs. Jones (cover)
Forever For You
It's A Laugh
I Can't Go For That
• Bonus Songs (Family Man, Life's Too Short, Getaway Car, One on One, Kiss On My List)
• Phone Calls
© 2008 Patti Aliventi