TALENT IN ACTION
DARYL HALL & JOHN OATES Beacon Theatre, New York
NOT LONG into Hall & Oates' two-hour show here, it
became obvious why the whole is often greater than the sum of its parts. Together, they
offer a textbook case of near-perfect Pop songwriting and delivery; alone, their
weaknesses are glaringly apparent.
This concert worked gleefully weIl in such an intimate
setting as the 2,400-seat Beacon. The use of only acoustic instruments, the subtle yet
extremely effective lighting, and the shrouded curtain backdrop created the cozy
appearance of the band playing in a large living room.
The show opened with a rousing a cappella tune that segued
into "Out Of Touch," the first of several hits, as well as numbers from the
duo's new Arista album, "Change Of Season." Unlike other bands with such a deep
repertoire, Hall & Oates never seemed to be going through the motions when singing
such oldies as "Sara Smile," "She's Gone," or "I Can't Go For
That." Time and again, Hall's supple voice urged the audience into spontaneous
For the show's first half, Hall & Oates sat on adjacent
stools, as equals. Their guitar play and cascading harmonies, accompanied by two other
guitarists, an uprightbass player, drummer, saxophonist, violinist, and cellist, created a
virtual wall of sound that no electric instruments could break through.
Unfortunately, the warm atmosphere was broken when the band
left the stage, and Oates, followed by Hall, spun a few solo tunes. Whether it was egos or
artistry that encouraged such action, the sets seemed more an exercise in indulgence than
an attempt to establish individual identities.
The whole timbre of the concert changed after the solo
stints: Oates seemed like little more than a sideman, even though he wasn't doing anything
different than before except for standing in another spot. However, when he and Hall
encored with their soaring rendition of "You've Lost That Loving Feeling," each
voice wrapping around the other as inseparable yet distinctive as strands of a serpentine
chain, it was clear why, like the Righteous Brothers, the pair has carved out its unique
and enduring niche as one of Pop music' s top duos.