Daryl Hall and John Oates at the State Theatre, 12/10/10

Daryl Hall and John Oates
December 10, 2010
State Theatre, Minneapolis

A few blocks down from last night's sold-out Doomtree Blowout was another sold-out team of legend status: Hall and Oates, rocking the State Theatre with classic hits and some Christmas cheer.

Daryl Hall and John Oates are on tour to promote their 2010-released greatest hits collection, Do What You Want, Be What You Are. Their performance at State was the best sort of concert, filled with the highlights of their careers--the stuff that their age-spanning audience would recognize and was dying to hear, anyway. They started off with "Maneater," 1982's number-one hit, and, backed by an all-star 6-piece supporting band, continued the set with crowd-pleasers "Family Man" and "Out Of Touch." Everyone in the audience was clearly having a good time--and how could you not, with Hall and Oates resurrecting all the best feel-good songs of the glory days from the '70s and '80s? There was no pretense, no showy experimentation. There was no need, really, especially for established artists like Hall and Oates, who have been at the game long enough to know that all they really need to do is play what will make people feel happy.

And yes. Yes, for the record, Hall still has that funky crooner's voice for Oates' blue-eyed soul and pop fusion. The power pair has changed seemingly very little since their heyday of hit Billboard 100 songs, with Hall clad in sunglasses and a leather jacket and Oates with his dark curls and goatee (and some tight jeans, which he wore well, according to the woman behind me).

Daryl Hall and John Oates at the State Theatre, 12/10/10
Daryl Hall and John Oates at the State Theatre, 12/10/10

The duo had plenty of good memories to share, and not just in the songs they showcased. "When we first started out, this was one of the first places that embraced us, way back in the '70's," said Hall, referring to Minneapolis.

"Speaking of memories...." started Oates, with a knowing smirk on his face.

"Shut up!" laughed Hall. They launched into "Las Vegas Turnaround." Every song they started brought on louder cheers than the song before it, and it was clear that everyone on stage was enjoying themselves just as much as the audience was. Paul Pesco on guitar, who had his share of solo bits, including a lengthy part in "Kiss On My List," where he tossed his pick out at the audience and then picked his strings with his teeth. Percussionist Everett Bradley was moving to the music throughout the entire night, smiling and encouraging the audience on as he alternated between a cowbell, tambourine, maracas, and other instruments--sometimes playing them all at once. And then there was Charlie DeChant on keys and saxophone, clad in a soul king's purple suit and adding that unmistakable groove to the music. (When he wasn't playing, he was fingering an electric air guitar--and playing it very well, by the look of things.)

Hall and Oates have built their reputation partly out of melodies that remind you a summers on the beach--a feeling which everyone in the metro area is probably trying desperately to remember right now. Hall introduced the much-loved tune "Sara Smile" as "one of the first songs [John and I] ever wrote together... well not really. We have a lot of crappy songs before this one, but everyone's always happy when we play this song." Hall smiled, and as the the harmony began, the crowd erupted in screams and cheers.

Daryl Hall and John Oates at the State Theatre, 12/10/10

The first set lasted a brisk 55 minutes, but the encore was what everyone had been waiting for. The band filtered back on stage and began with the treasured song about class conflict, "Rich Girl," and it got the remaining members of the audience on their feet. Hall and Oates closed the with the highly appropriate "Dreams Come True," and there wasn't a single person in the theater who wasn't singing the chorus with them. But that wasn't all--there was a third encore, following chants from the crowd of "We Want More!" For their final set, the band sprinkled a little bit of seasonal cheer on the evening with some holiday tunes, ending with "Jingle Bell Rock." Audience members were grateful for the opportunity to keep moving, to keep singing, to continue the night regardless of whatever snowstorm might be raging outside the theater--not a bad way to start the weekend. In fact, "Dance like you're at a Hall and Oates concert" may just be my new motto for life.

Critic's Bias: My mother force-fed me Hall and Oates classics like they were a breakfast cereal. I was asking to sing "Maneater" at holiday pageants in grade school.
The Crowd: Mostly boomers having a good time, and not being shy about it--at all.
Overheard In The Crowd: "Look at the guns on Oates!" said the woman next to me. (Okay, the woman next to me was my mother.)
Random Notebook Dump: Even the bouncers were having a good time, for the most part--at least that one at stage right was, as he blocked a mass of middle-aged women wielding beer bottles from getting their shimmy too close to the stage. Some of the ladies must misinterpreted the bouncer's halting hands as an invitation to dance with him. Either way, it provided some phenomenal side entertainment.
For More Photos: See our full slideshow by Stacy Schwartz.

Family Man
Out Of Touch
Say It Isn't So
Las Vegas Turnaround
She's Gone
Sarah Smile
Do What You Want
No Can Do
Rich Girl
Kiss On My List
Dreams Come True
Son Of A Carpenter
Midnight Clear
Jingle Bell Rock

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