“We’ve played this song so many times,” Daryl Hall told an energetic Baby Boomer crowd at the 1stBank Center on Monday night while introducing “She’s Gone.” “But it still feels new every time.” The sentiment summed up Hall & Oates’ set, which breezed through decades of hits for a crowd listening with nostalgia the 1970s or ’80s.
The problem was, as boomers attempted to harken back to their golden years, the sound at the 1stBank Center wasn’t quite as golden. A casual and laid-back group, Hall’s soulful voice should have shined through the silky tones of a guitar riff on Monday night, but was lost in an overpowering sound mix. With eight people on stage (three guitars, bass, drums, percussion and saxophone) the sound was tenor heavy, thin and metallic. Lacking deeper tones, the loudness distracted from the skillful musicians.
Naturally Hall has a very high tenor voice, and John Oates, a deeper more colorful voice. Together, they compliment each other and can pull off a beautiful octave harmony. Regardless of the sound quality, the group effortlessly eased in and out of popular hits and early favorites. Playing a few songs off of 1973’s “Abandoned Luncheonette,” they brought a lilting and emotional sound. Charles DeChant, Hall & Oates’ saxophone player since the inception of the band, transitioned into later 1970s albums with a stunning solo in “Las Vegas Turnaround.” Although he looked like he hadn’t cut his hair since the 1970s, his nimble fingers played each note perfectly. The group recreated the vinyl smooth of the ’70s with deep lead vocals and high harmonies reaching from each extreme of Hall’s vocal range. Then with jazz flute and synth, the crowd was ushered into the ’80s with “I Can’t Go for That.” Playing from muscle memory, Hall & Oates kept moving through the ’80s with “Rich Girl” and “Private Eyes.”
But while the concert seemed to center around nostalgia, Hall & Oates’ music still resonates with younger audiences today. This was clear during the duo’s hit, “You Make My Dreams,” as a young girl near the back of the floor seats stood up to dance with her mom. During a short hour-and-a-half set, Hall & Oates spanned multiple decades, and it’s clear that the band’s knack for a hook will help its music stick around for generations to come.
Bailey Constas is a Fort Collins-based writer and new contributor to Reverb. Follow her on Twitter @BaileyLiza.