Friday, September 20th, 2013
Hall & Oates at Casino Rama in Orillia
Frank YangSo, yeah, a few people have asked if I really drove all the way up to Casino Rama (a 90-minute drive north of Toronto that never takes less than two-plus hours, for those not local) to see Hall & Oates on Wednesday night. To which I answer, “you’re damn right I did”. Not that it requires any justification, but having grown up in the ’80s and spent most of that decade glued to MuchMusic/MTV, I have a massive soft spot for the pop music of the era, and while a lot of it has not aged well, to say the least, the works of Darryl Hall and John Oates remains pretty effin’ great; had they ever toured any closer to Toronto I’d have surely seen them by now but since they basically stick to the lucrative casino circuit, it would take a perfect convergence of opportunity and company to make it happen. Which it did.
And if you equated working the casino circuit with phoning it in – which to be honest I sort of did – I’m happy to say that it was not the case. With an enthusiastic audience of around 5000 filling the theatre, Hall & Oates and their six-piece backing band opened up with “Maneater”; give the people what they want, right? But within a few songs were busting out the deep cuts, including their first-ever live performance, if they were to be believed, of “Alone Too Long” from their eponymous 1975 record. It was interesting that they’d include so many deep cuts, but perhaps that was the best way to remind folks of their old-school Philly soul credentials in addition to being pop stars.
But let’s be honest, we were there to hear the hits and they weren’t not going to play them. They emerged from the depths of their set book with the slow jams – “She’s Gone”, “One On One”, and “Sara Smile” thank you very much – before closing things out with the big guns; a jazzy “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)” with extended sax solo and two chart-topping encores comprised of “Rich Girl”, “You Make My Dreams Come True”, “Kiss On My List”, and “Private Eyes” as the finale. Yeah of course that was how it was going to go, but that didn’t make it any less enjoyable.
Performance-wise, both Hall and Oates sounded great, particularly when backed by the multi-part harmonies of their band, and were still looking pretty trim for their years and with Oates wisely sporting facial hair again. The band was loud and tight and although I’d have traded some of the extended jamming for, oh, “Method Of Modern Love”, they did a good job of playing according to score while Hall went off on vocal and keyboard ad libs – too bad they couldn’t cover up Hall’s Live From Daryl’s House-advertising guitar strap and t-shirt. Ah well. A fun show despite the amount of travel time – next time I’ll take one of those Chinatown buses – but not one I’m likely to make a habit of. Unless that Huey Lewis & The News Sports 30th anniversary tour makes a date…
Photos: Hall & Oates @ Casino Rama – September 18, 2013
Video: Hall & Oates – “Promise Ain’t Enough”
Video: Hall & Oates – “Don’t Hold Back Your Love”
Video: Hall & Oates – “So Close”
Video: Hall & Oates – “Love Train”
Video: Hall & Oates – “Downtown Life”
Video: Hall & Oates – “Missed Opportunity”
Video: Hall & Oates – “Everything Your Heart Desires”
Video: Hall & Oates – “Possession Obsession”
Video: Hall & Oates – “Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid”
Video: Hall & Oates – “Method Of Modern Love”
Video: Hall & Oates – “Out Of Touch”
Video: Hall & Oates – “Adult Education”
Video: Hall & Oates – “Say It Isn’t So”
Video: Hall & Oates – “Family Man”
Video: Hall & Oates – “One On One”
Video: Hall & Oates – “Maneater”
Video: Hall & Oates – “Your Imagination”
Video: Hall & Oates – “Did It In A Minute”
Video: Hall & Oates – “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)”
Video: Hall & Oates – “Private Eyes”
Video: Hall & Oates – “You Make My Dreams Come True”
Video: Hall & Oates – “Kiss Is On My List”
Video: Hall & Oates – “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’”
Video: Hall & Oates – “How Does It Feel To Be Back?”
Video: Hall & Oates – “Portable Radio”
Video: Hall & Oates – “Wait For Me”
Video: Hall & Oates – “Intravino”
Video: Hall & Oates – “She’s Gone”
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