Sunday night featured an interesting mix of people in the lawn section at Ravinia. From twenty-something hipsters wearing t-shirts displaying their typically ironic brand of “humor” (at Ravinia the shirts featured Hall & Oates influenced phrases like “Haulin’ Oats” and “Oates > Hall”) to babyboomers and beyond, Sunday’s show ran the gamut. The “Live in ’85!” themed wearables were surely selling well.
With a lack of recent material, Hall & Oates stuck to the hits on Sunday night… and the hits were plenty. With the shortage of relevant new stuff, it’s easy to forget just how many hits Daryl Hall & John Oates recorded. But of the 14 songs they performed Sunday during their hour and a half set at Ravinia, 13 reached the American top 40, 12 charted in the top 10 and 6 went all the way to #1.
Hall & Oates’ singles career can be divided into two distinct eras: Their Philadelphia soul rooted 70’s tracks and their equally soulful but more pop oriented 80’s material. And the main set list reflected as much beginning with 4 straight songs sampling the 80’s output (opening with arguably their biggest hit, “Maneater”) and continuing with 5 in a row from the 70’s (including one of their oldest hits “She’s Gone” from 1973 and “Rich Girl,” their first #1 in 1977).
What has always helped the group’s tracks to stand up so well after so many years (and often despite such a heavy dose of 80’s studio production) is the strength of the duo’s backing band. All of the group’s biggest hits were cut live in the studio with a band who had cut its teeth touring together for over a decade, a fact that always allowed the songs to thrive in a live setting. This was especially evident as the band (led by longtime saxophonist Charlie DeChant who has remained in the band since the early 70’s) jammed for nearly ten minutes on “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)” to close the main set. 65-year-old Daryl Hall’s vocal range remained impressive throughout.
The 80’s tracks held up well and were recreated live in an impressive fashion that moved away from studio instruments like synthesizers and drum machines and toward more keyboards and even a flute.
Despite new material, Daryl Hall & John Oates remain busy. Oates promoted his newest solo album (Mississippi Mile) while Hall mentioned the fact that his highly acclaimed internet television show “Live From Daryl’s House” has been picked up by WGN to air soon nationally on the WGN America superstation.
It was on Hall’s aforementioned show where local alternative four piece Company of Thieves got one of their biggest breaks. The band (touring in support of the new album Running From A Gamble and opening for Hall & Oates on this tour) mixed more rocking fare from their new album (like the first single “Death of Communication”) with previous hits like “Oscar Wilde” from 2009’s Ordinary Riches during their half-hour set. The lead vocals of Genevieve Schatz were just as striking live (the new “Queen of Hearts” was outstanding) as they are on record.
Hall & Oates – Sunday, June 26, 2011 at Ravinia
Maneater (Reached the top 10, peaked at #1)
Method Of Modern Love (Top 10 #5)
Out Of Touch (Top 10, #1)
Say It Isn’t So (Top 10, #2)
It’s a Laugh (Top 20)
Las Vegas Turnaround (never charted)
She’s Gone (Top 10, #4)
Sara Smile (Top 10, #7)
Do What You Want, Be Who You Are (Top 40)
I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do) (Top 10, #1)
Rich Girl (Top 10, #1)
You Make My Dreams (Top 10, #5)
Kiss on My List (Top 10, #1)