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Concert Reviews:
Hall & Oates fills DTE with rockin' soul sounds

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

Posted: Tuesday, July 19, 2016

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INDEPENDENCE TOWNSHIP -- Daryl Hall & John Oates coined the term Rock & Soul for their sound a good three decades or so ago, aptly describing the Philadelphia-formed duo's tightly synthesized sonic amalgam of styles.

And on Monday night, July 18, at the DTE Energy music Theatre they had plenty of help on both the rock and soul sides.

Thanks to hot opening sets by Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue and Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, the night had the vibe of a revue, and rather than merely supporting the headliner the two -- Trombone Shorty with his hard-edged New Orleans funk and Jones, defying recent cancer battles, with spry New York R&B -- contextualized what Hall & Oates had to offer, specializing in the raw edges that the duo polished during the 70s and 80s for its formidable arsenal of state-of-the-art hits.

On Monday, however, Hall & Oates -- wrapping a week-long stretch of 80s juggernauts that also included shows by Duran Duran, Def Leppard and Culture Club -- let some of smoothness slide and a little more rough and tumble flavor its 14-song, 90-minute set. There was still no mistaking the pop sophistication of favorites such as "Maneater," "Out Of Touch," "Did It In a Minute" and "Say It Isn't So," but deft rearrangements by Hall and Oates and their six-piece band -- featuring longtime saxophonist Charlie DeChant -- incorporated an organic looseness that suited the material just as well as the Teflon sheen of the original recordings.

The net effect was songs that breathed and were often extended with soulful vamps, particularly vibey takes on "She's Gone" and "Sara Smile" and an emotive rendering of "Wait For Me" that Hall played nearly solo until the end, when the rest of the band brought the song to a swelling close. "I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)," meanwhile, was probably as long as some early Hall & Oates album sides, expanded with a long solo by DeChant; But while that was all well and good, most of the DTE crowd, which filled a healthy portion of the venue, would probably have preferred another song.

Nevertheless, the proven hits didn't fail to deliver. Hall & Oates' cover of the Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" won the show's biggest ovation, while the audience competed for volume with the band during the encore run of "Rich Girl," "You Make My Dreams," "Kiss On My List" and "Private Eyes." "Las Vegas Turnaround (The Stewardess Song)," was the night's token deep cut-- and a good one, though most of the crowd treated it as a sit-down moment between the hits.

Hall & Oates reveled in a bit of additional history, too, noting that DTE -- aka Pine Knob -- was one of if not the first place they played outside of Philadelphia during the early 70s. Back then, of course, they weren't the behemoth they became a few years later, and particularly in the 80s, but more than three decades on Hall & Oates made their glory days still sound fresh and exciting.

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