FILE PHOTO: Daryl Hall and John Oates performing at a concert in 2012
RALEIGH, N.C. – As the bass line to “Maneater” thumps, the best selling duo in music history emerge on stage with wide smiles on their faces.
Daryl Hall and John Oates usually start their show this way, but those grins are a bit wider this time as they saunter out to a packed house at the Walnut Creek Amphitheater.
For the first time (save for the ceremony three weeks prior), they are performing as members of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
While they never sought or expected the distinction, with Hall going as far as to say “I didn’t think this would happen as long as the people who were in power stayed in power”, surely it still counts for something to have yet another notch in the belt for a career which has already shaped and conquered the music world.
Their latest notch aside, the two musicians have a lot more to be smiling about.
They’ve arrived at 2014 relatively unaffected by the passage of time.
Hall at 67 is a conundrum. He does not look this number of years, nor does he act it. And let’s be honest here, no man at this stage in life has hair as good as Hall’s.
Oates isn’t much different, hardly showing his 65, and playing a mean guitar.
After their opening number stirred the crowd to life, the pair wasted no time tearing right into the R&B infused pop chart toppers which in the 1980s put a cherry on top of the stardom they had already achieved in the decade prior.
First the jamming “Out of Touch”, then the slinky “Say It Isn’t So”, followed by the funky “Method of Modern Love”. It was whammy after whammy of infectious beats, controlled guitars, and Hall’s smooth delivery.
The singer beamed as he riffed on his own guitar and added the nuanced vocals which have become a trademark of his live performances.
On “Adult Education” he let out a scream which sent a wave of cheers through the amphitheater.
The show’s second half drew on the duo’s 1970s foundation which bore such cultural staples as “Rich Girl” and “Sara Smile”.
After Oates got a chance to demonstrate his perfectly mellow pipes on “Las Vegas Turnaround”, Hall abandoned his guitar for the keyboard – emblazoned with a bumper sticker for his hit web-turned-TV series, Live from Daryl’s House.
On Daryl’s House, where the singer jams with the likes of Fitz and the Tantrums and Neon Trees, it’s easy to see why the duo’s catalog has ensnared a new legion of fans – the millenials.
And when Hall tapped the keys just right for “You Make My Dreams”, they could be seen dancing in the aisles right along people who were actually around when it was written.
Although fans young and old would love these icons no matter how they sounded after 40 years, Daryl Hall and John Oates are defying time and keeping younger bands on their toes.
There’s a reason the likes of Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie and Dave One of Chromeo are still taking notes.