Near the beginning of the Hall & Oates concert at the Santa Barbara Bowl last Sunday, Daryl Hall promised songs from “lots and lots of different eras,” and they delivered with a set ranging from the 1973 album track “Las Vegas Turnaround (The Stewardess Song)” and the “song that took us out of Philadelphia,” 1974’s “She’s Gone,” to their last No. 1 hit, 1984’s “Out of Touch.”
I think I can speak for many in the audience in saying that it was amazing to realize in real time how much the music of Hall & Oates has penetrated our collective psyche. When virtually every song began, there was a wave of recognition, especially (for me at least) for the hits from the 1980s — just consider the starting lineup: “Maneater,” “Out of Touch,” “Did It in a Minute,” “Say It Isn’t So” and “Family Man.”
Hall’s soulful and versatile voice has held up wonderfully well, and the band nailed the brilliant arrangements that have kept the songs so catchy all these years. Particular mention goes out to longtime Hall & Oates saxman Charlie “Mr. Casual” DeChant, whose playing added color to the songs throughout the evening.
John Oates provided understated but tasteful guitar, and took the singing spotlight for the ’70s songs “Back Together Again” and “Las Vegas Turnaround.”
Hall moved from rhythm guitar to the keyboards for “Do What You Want, Be What You Are,” which had many in the audience (slowly!) rushing the stage. This morphed into “I Can’t Go For That,” at first slow and soulful before hitting a smooth groove. This was followed by two encores full of hits — “Rich Girl,” “You Make My Dreams,” “Kiss On My List” and “Private Eyes” — which had the crowd joyfully dancing and singing along.
Hall & Oates have been described as one of the most successful musical duos in the history of popular music, and this year were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, something considered overdue by their many fans. As this concert reminded us, they have certainly been a big part of several eras of pop music, creating a song catalog that has stood the test of time.
Out of Touch
Did It in a Minute
Say It Isn’t So
Back Together Again
Las Vegas Turnaround (The Stewardess Song)
Do What You Want, Be What You Are
I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do)
You Make My Dreams
Kiss On My List
— Jeff Moehlis is a Noozhawk contributing writer and a professor of mechanical engineering at UC Santa Barbara. Upcoming show recommendations, advice from musicians, interviews and more are available on his web site, music-illuminati.com. The opinions expressed are his own.