HOME SOUNDcheck GOhear GOview GOread GOplaces DOmore


  » Contact Us
  » Advertise With Us

  » Classifieds
  » Newspaper Ads

Concert Reviews:
John Oates regales and reveals during solo show in Ann Arbor

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

Posted: Saturday, January 12, 2019

» See more SOUND CHECK

ANN ARBOR -- "A few of you probably came tonight hoping to hear some pop songs," John Oates told a sold-out crowd Friday night, Jan. 11, at The Ark.

And the dark-haired half of Hall & Oates gave it one -- "Anytime," a 1923 million-seller by Emmett Miller. "It was on the radio, it sold a million copies, it's a pop hit, right?" Oates quippped before leading his Good Road Band into the tune.

That was the general attitude of Oates' solo show, an intimate and spirited outing that revealed a great deal more about the singer, songwriter and guitarist than usually gets an airing alongside longtime musical partner Daryl Hall. Throughout the 18-song, hour-and-45 minute concert, his first ever in southeastern Michigan, Oates was genial and funny, making sly references to his Hall of Fame (Rock and Roll and Songwriters) and multi-platinum pop career -- which he touched on musically as well -- and even to his height.

He also struck an Ann Arbor-appropriate professorial tone, without getting too academic, as Oates and his band explored his musical roots for much of the show. His latest album, "Arkansas," is an Americana gem, and Friday's show followed suit with an engaging and often fascinating troll through the works of Miller, Mississippi John Hurt ("Stack O'Lee," "Pallet Soft and Low"), Jimmy Rogers ("Miss the Mississippi and You") and Blind Blake ("That Will Happen No More"). Oates started the night on the traditional tip, too, invoking Hurt's credo to "put the Lord into the room" before playing the gospel-flavored traditional "Lord Send Me."

Opener Adam Ezra joined the part as well for a rendition of "All I Am" that he and Oates co-wrote.

About an hour in Oates, -- sporting an elaborately embroidered and sequined denim shirt and jeans -- traded his acoustic guitar for an electric and pushed the stool he'd been sitting on side. He brought his lead guitar chops to the fore, too, trading licks with Guthrie Trapp -- a first-call Nashville cat who was the instrumental star throughout the night with his offhandedly excellent solos and accents. The band jammed its way through plus-sized versions of "Dig Back Deep," the bluesy "Edge of the World" and "Pallet Soft and Deep" before getting into Hall & Oates territory, kicking off with a reggae rendition of "Maneater" (the way Oates told the crowd it was originally written), a funky take on "I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)" and a soulful, extended "Sarah Smile."

Oates also reimagined "You Make My Dreams" with a 50s vintage Sun Records-style arrangement and Chuck Berry's "Let It Rock" ended the night on a rocking note.

It was, in the end, both revelation and affirmation -- and more than anything else, proof that Oates is a rich talent with a great deal to say, and play, outside of his more celebrated and higher profile musical "day job."

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


GO & DO Michigan, an Entertainment Portal
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the written permission of the copyright holder.

© Copyright MediaNews Group, Inc. | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Policy | Arbitration