Live Review: Daryl Hall’s House Pulls into Atlantic City

Published on April 16th, 2012

April 14, 2012 – Daryl Hall has taken his house on the road. Literally, he’s packed up the antique wood floors and walls along with all of the musical instruments from his upstate New York home for a 7-city trek across the United States. Or at least that’s what the stage show at his Saturday night gig in Atlantic City was trying to convey. The walls may be styrofoam and the windows just a sheet of vinyl, but the feel and aura of Daryl’s House is definitely out on the road with him.

For those who are still asking themselves what Daryl’s mahogany flooring has to do with anything, let’s make sure everyone’s up to speed. Daryl Hall started a monthly web series four years ago, each show performing with a different, mostly contemporary artist. In the 53 episodes that have come and gone, the show has evolved from the land of primitive webcasts to a full-production, high definition feast for the eyes and ears that has a lot of people talking.

It even has a theme song, “Bring It on Home to My House”, that Daryl used to start up the concert at the Borgata this night.

And so it began. Four years in the making, Daryl’s House logged its third but perhaps most interesting night on the tour in Atlantic City.

Joining in this excursion are two guests: Sharon Jones and Allen Stone. Jones is a fiery, pint-size soul queen from New York City, while Allen Stone is the newcomer, a twenty-something kid from Washington with a shy demeanor. Jones couldn’t control her sassy and suggestive attitude on stage to the delight of the crowd, while Stone could learn a thing or two about stage presence from Hall. But together, their voices are unreal.

Hall begins the show solo, introducing a series of songs from his new and ecclectic work “Laughing Down Crying”. A slower way to start it off, but things picked up speed once his guests joined in.

The Borgata has become a second home for Hall, and he readily admits it between songs. In fact it’s his fourth time performing here in just 12 months.

Surrounding Daryl and the band is a true to life, and almost eerie recreation of the home studio that functions as the filming spot for “LFDH”. Even the instruments seem to be set up in a similar way. Anyone who watched a few episodes of the series before coming to the show surely felt like they were stepping inside while the latest episode was being filmed. What’s funny is that given the presence of three no fewer than four HD cameras, it’s quite likely that Episode 54 was born in Atlantic City this night.

Allen Stone was first to partner with Daryl on stage with his upbeat soul renditions, but it was Sharon Jones who quickly stole the show. Screaming out onto the stage at 100 miles an hour in every direction, Jones surprised the crowd and even the band with an unbelievable amount of energy. Her regular demands for the band to “break it down” made for a wildly entertaining three-song stretch. She commanded Brian Dunne’s drum kit with her hip thrusts, kicked off her shoes, and managed to get Daryl Hall flustered with her suggestive dialogues.

What’s clear is that Daryl is enjoying this time spent living out his dream of unrestrained artistic freedom, and he’s not ready to make it into another greatest hits fest. There was only a scattering of Hall & Oates songs to be heard throughout the night. But while the set may have been missing “Maneater”, songs about “eating” were not out of the question.

To re-create the show’s cooking segment in a way that was perhaps too real, Atlantic City chef Tony Luke came on stage unexpectedly to lead the band in singing “The Philly Cheesesteak Song”. It was a period of true indulgence in Philly-land that can be accepted by fans at a show within an hour and a half’s drive from there. How well the Cheesesteak bit will play in other cities if attempted might be another story. Although Luke was surprisingly not lacking in the voice department, maybe they should have stuck with “Maneater”.

Taking this show on the road was a natural step, but still an ambitious idea. Daryl’s House follows a raw format – there are mistakes, and the home audience sees them. There was no shortage of mistakes in Atlantic City, but it worked to the show’s advantage. Although he’s performed “live” thousands of times, there’s nothing quite as live as putting a house on a stage.


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  1. Posted by Bill Jones on April 21st, 2012, 22:02 [Reply]

    Wow, great live performance review. Daryll Hall was having a good time at the event and played more alive than before.


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