Hall & Oates - Hard Rock Live, Hollywood - March 8
That's not to mention the soulful pop rock stars themselves, aged 66 and 63, respectively, who still manage to make hips gyrate and girls squeal with their seemingly endless catalogue of infectious and time-tested mega hits.
Nearly filling up the arena-sized venue on night one of their two-night stint in South Florida, the duo proved that, even after nearly 40 years, their funky, white boy style of rhythm and blues is just as relevant today as it was back when your parents were doing lines of coke off mirrored coffee tables and staying up past 9 p.m.
Backed by a full band, including a saxophonist/flutist sporting a silver ponytail down to his butt and a tambourine player with an Aladdin vest and some of the smoothest dance moves I've ever seen, Hall & Oates bounded on stage, feathered hair bouncing, with the pure, irreverent energy of truly seasoned rock stars.
They opened the show with the 1984 single "Out Of Touch," the band's last Billboard Hot 100 number one song, setting the tone for an evening of crowd-pleasing hits with a just a few more lackluster newer tunes mixed in.
"Sara Smile," "Maneater," "Rich Girl," and "She's Gone" were all memorable highlights from the show, which breezed by in just about one and a half hours. In between songs, a sunglassed and snug-jeaned Hall would pause for brief commentaries, explaining in his soft and earnest voice, "It feels like just yesterday we recorded this one."
The band concluded the their main set with "I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)," which featured an extended break down with Hall on the keys, and made most of the seated audience get out of their chairs, dance, and do the over-the-head stadium clap. In the past decade, the 1981 song made a comeback in DJ sets and nightclubs, getting the full remix and re-edit treatment. It was a refreshing change to experience the smooth dance anthem in all its live glory, complete with saxophone solos and Hall & Oates's perfect, soul-infused harmonies.
But was that all? It was only just past 9, and there were so many hits left unplayed. After a brief exit, the band returned to the stage to play out a few more songs, including a bouncy rendition of 1981's "You Make My Dreams," which kept the booties shaking for a few minutes longer and managed to retain its fresh, youthful energy despite its age and pop culture ubiquity.
Still, the whole thing came and went a little too quickly, and even though the show left me amped and ready to spend the rest of the night dancing, I couldn't help but feel a little cheated as we walked out of the venue. No "Kiss On My List," no "Private Eyes," no "Portable Radio"? It would have felt more complete had they played a full two hours, but perhaps they saved a few favorites for the next night's set. That, or Hall & Oates just have that special gift of knowing exactly how to keep their fans coming back for more.
If you plan to attend a Hall and Oates show, be prepared for extremely cute people who look like your parents wiggling their butts in their chairs and to possibly boogie down with one of the grandma ushers on your way back from getting a beer at the concession. But really, you didn't have to be alive in 1976 to close your eyes, snap your fingers, and enjoy the funky, soulful pop bliss that is Hall & Oates.