Live Review: Hall and Oates Bring the Magic to Baltimore

Published on June 7th, 2010

June 6, 2010 – There are few musical groups lucky enough to have not just one, but six number one Billboard smash hits to choose from in a live set. Hall and Oates are one of those special groups, and although the majority of chart successes encountered by the duo took place many years ago, the magic has not been lost in the live setting. Daryl Hall and John Oates, both industry veterans now in their 60s, poured their heart and soul into last night’s show in Baltimore, delivering an energetic set of pop-rock masterpieces to a crowd that was more than ready to take part in the good times.

It was a warm night on the harbor at the Pier Six Pavillion when the group’s backing band emerged on stage to a growing applause. Once Hall and Oates joined them in jamming on the groove to “Maneater“, the sold-out crowd was instantly captivated by the familiar sounds. Immediately noticeable was the enthusiasm in the band, especially so in Daryl and John, who clearly still are thrilled when they are able to play together. Hall was all smiles as he strummed and sang with shades on, his now trademark mane of hair being blown by the fan on stage. Although less facially expressive, much of Oates’ passion emerges in his creative playing.

The two musicians jammed with guitars in hand for the first set of songs including “Out of Touch” before Hall abandoned that instrument in favor of the keyboard, a vital and recognizable element of the Hall & Oates sound. Although the aforementioned hits give the group a certain luxury in song selection, some lesser known songs entered the show. One of the non-hits played was “Las Vegas Turnaround“, a cut that’s also featured on the freshly released box set titled “Do What You Want, Be What You Are: The Music of Daryl Hall and John Oates“.

This isn’t just another box set that’s randomly thrown together,” Hall informed the crowd. “We put lots of time into it as we picked songs, photos, wrote liner notes.” The current tour is given its name from this box set, which takes its name from the song originally released in 1976. The performance of that very song was a highlight of the show, and saw Hall give what was perhaps his most intense vocal.

It’s only natural that Daryl Hall would be under a certain degree of vocal scrutiny at this point in his career, but there’s little sign of weakness in his voice, and no change in its unmistakable tone. But even if he were losing his voice, at times the lyrics were so memorable that the show could have been sustained by the sing-a-long crowd. The performance of “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do)” was one of those times. Full sounding voices arose from all corners of the pavillion as the band alternated from the mega chorus to extended instrumental play.

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Stunningly tight at all times was saxophonist Charles DeChant, who has been with the duo for over 30 years. Monster saxophone solos are indeed a cornerstone of any Hall and Oates show. The rest of the band was nothing to sneeze at either, including bassist Zev Katz, who replaces the late Tom “T-Bone” Wolk, and guitarist Paul Pesco, who earned cheers when he touched off a guitar solo with his teeth. The stage was abandoned after a 10 minute ‘No Can Do’, but that was hardly the end.

Hall and Oates came back to give a rendition of “Rich Girl” that was, well, rich. The benefit of an 8-member band came through in the crisp vocal harmonies featured during the song, producing a sound that was eerily close to its original recording.

American Idol audiences were treated to a performance of “You Make My Dreams” just a few short weeks ago, and the classic hit has lost none of its bite. Hall teased fans for a brief moment before breaking into its familiar chords. The band left stage once again before being cheered back for “Private Eyes“, which put the polish on the night.

The songs are timeless, and so are the shows. Hall and Oates are still together, and still giving crowds all the magic they can muster. Find out the latest on the duo at their website,

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  1. Posted by Jan Woods on June 7th, 2010, 13:30 [Reply]

    Fantastic review and photos! This was a great show

  2. Posted by Todd on June 7th, 2010, 13:38 [Reply]

    Great pictures of one my favorite groups. I am hoping to see them tour this summer!


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