Hall & Oates
Casino Rama, Orillia ON June 24
Sure, most of the packed house at Casino Rama was present back in the band's heyday, but thanks to their resurgence over the past half-decade (viral sensations like Live from Daryl's House and the hipster-baiting Yacht Rock series), Daryl Hall and John Oates are as relevant to many now as they were during their time as chart-toppers and arena rockers in the early '80s.
And while they've each entered their 60s, the "best-selling duo of all time" hardly acted like it when they strutted out on stage in front of 5,000 strong. With their steady backing band, Hall and Oates launched right into a set that included most of the biggest hits in their 42-year career.
When Hall replaced the bass-and-drums intro to opener "Maneater" with some jammy guitar strumming, it was a sign that the studio versions we've known and loved over the past few decades were replaced with looser, band-spotlighting renditions. At times, it felt as if the show was being handed over to longtime member Charlie DeChant (whose retro purple suit was hard not to miss) and relative newcomer Paul Pesco. Their talents on saxophone and guitar, respectively, were put in the forefront repeatedly to play off each other with leads and even battle on the exhausting version of "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)."
But nothing was unrecognizable, largely due to the fact that Daryl Hall has managed to mostly keep his blue-eyed soulfulness intact -- not to mention his golden, feathered locks. He did have to lower his register and hand over high notes to backing singers, but he relished every moment behind the mic and you better believe he went for that high falsetto towards the end of "You Make My Dreams" -- and nailed it.
Favourites "Rich Girl," "Kiss on My List," "She's Gone" and "Method of Modern Love" were all executed with perfection throughout the 90-minute set (though "Private Eyes" was mysteriously absent), some even featuring glow-in-the-dark tambourines.
Their recent appointment as headliners for Seattle's Bumbershoot festival confirmed their relevance in pop culture, and on this night just outside of Orillia, ON, Hall and Oates proved they're far from being "out of touch."
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