We know what we’re going to get at a Hall & Oates concert. All those classic and timeless hits, the ones that sound as good today as they did in the 1970s and 1980s.
There are no complaints with that. What we don’t usually hear from Hall & Oates, though, are lesser hits or deep album cuts from the vast catalog of their careers.
For that, one has to attend a solo show by either of the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers.
John Oates will tell his audiences up front that if you want to hear the greatest hits of Hall & Oates, then you should go to a Hall & Oates show.
The thing is, if you go to a solo Oates show, you appreciate the stuff that’s strictly Oates because you don’t get to hear it as much in concert. The real treats are the deep album cuts, or in Oates’ case, the new solo stuff. Inevitably though, you can’t help but miss Hall’s presence on a song or two.
It was the same thing on the final day of 2014 when “Live From Daryl’s House” presented “Daryl’s Rock ’n’ Soul New Year’s Eve,” live-streamed exclusively online at Stageit.
For $5 – and when was the last time a concert ticket was that price – one could buy an online ticket, log into Stageit, and see Daryl Hall and his band perform at the new and recently opened “Daryl’s House” in Pawling, New York.
That’s the next best thing to actually being at the concert. One can grab a cocktail in the comfort of one’s own family room, slap on the headphones, turn it up, and rock some Hall & Oates.
Mostly Hall, this time. And why not? It’s his house.
Hall didn’t disappoint, but he rarely does. It wasn’t a stretch to want to hear Oates on a couple of the numbers, but the real treat was the handful of deep cuts Hall performed.
“Dreamtime,” from Hall’s 1986 second solo album “Three Hearts in the Happy Ending Machine,” was outstanding. Hall also pulled out two cuts from his first solo album in 1980, “Sacred Songs” – “Don’t Leave Me Alone With Her” and “Babs and Babs” – the latter of which was a unique but refreshing choice for his first encore.
Hall & Oates fans will recall that the “Sacred Songs” album was deemed not commercial enough by RCA Records in 1977 because it was so different than what Hall & Oates had produced to that point. That and the fact that record officials didn’t believe the album contained a hit single and feared that the record might alienate mainstream fans kept the album on the shelf for three years. It was eventually released in 1980.
Hall said goodbye to 2014 with “I Can’t Go For That” and opened 2015 with “Auld Lang Syne.” His final two encores were “Kiss on My List” and “Private Eyes.”
For the first time that I can recall, Hall didn’t perform “She’s Gone” at a live show. Off the 1973 “Abandoned Luncheonette” album, it’s been a staple at every Hall & Oates show, every solo Oates show and every solo Hall show that I’ve seen.
But Hall said before the livestreamed show that he was going to do something different for this New Year’s Eve bash, and he did. No complaints from where I sit. I have the “Abandoned Luncheonette” album and I can play it at any time. It’s one of my favorite records and interviews with Daryl and John about the making of that album are included in “The Vinyl Dialogues.”
As if opening the curtain on a new year with Daryl Hall from the comfort of one’s own home wasn’t enough, the online show delivered even more than that.
Philly native Mutlu, a frequent opener for Hall & Oates for several years now and the current generation of Philly soul, did a killer 12-song set to kick things off. He’s got a sweet voice and stage presence. While his original songs are outstanding, he’s just as good on covers, especially Van Morrison’s “Crazy Love.” If you’re a Hall & Oates fan, you can’t help but like him. Check his stuff out at www.mutlusounds.com.
In addition, after Daryl had packed it in for the evening, his band hung around and played well into the night, offering great versions of some Philly soul classics, among them “TSOP” (The Sound of Philadelphia), which you know as the theme song of the television show “Soul Train”; and “Backstabbers” by The O’Jay’s, another of the early hitmaking groups for Philadelphia International Records in the 1970s. Nice finishing touches on a great show, especially for those of us who live in Philly and have a special place in our hearts for the Sound of Philadelphia.
The online format had a few glitches throughout the evening. At one point, some users – me included – lost the feed and were given the message “This stream is currently unavailable at the broadcaster’s request.” It may as well have said, “Commence screaming curse words at your computer now.”
All one had to do though was hit refresh or log out and log back in and the problem seemed to correct itself. It was annoying, and it happened to me three or four times, but I was only offline for a few moments and missed only a portion of a few songs.
The event had the added appeal of being for a good cause. Fifty percent of the proceeds from the online ticket sales were donated to City of Hope, a leading research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases.
All of that for only $5. On the final day of 2014, Daryl Hall won the Internet.