The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world





APRIL 3 2015



Darryl Hall and John Oates are one of the best-selling duos of all time, and way back when I was growing up their Greatest Hits – Rock and Soul Part 1 sat in my record collection on its own distinct from the Hard Rock and Punk and New Wave. Hall and Oates have always been a guilty pleasure for me and thirty years plus since I bought that record it’s great to see them not only still going strong, but delivering a take on their songs from the 70’s and 80’s peak that brings them right up to date. A great song after all is a great song and when you strip the production and anachronisms away they stand alone. The essence is what matters, and what Hall and Oates have is a great body of work.

Recorded on their first visit to Dublin in 2014 the band saunters onstage to the strains of ‘Maneater’ and immediately takes control. What follows is a stunning set of classics with a few lesser known and surprisingly strong songs thrown in. ‘Live in Dublin’ is a great concert DVD, well shot, a responsive crowd (who appear to sing along to everything) and a band of sublime power. It’s clear that over the years neither Hall nor Oates powers have diminished at all  and by the time they break into an imaginative reworking of ‘Big Bam Boom’s’ ‘Out of Touch’ you know that you are in for a treat.


It's songs like ‘Family Man’ that really surprise you though, with the original a little too mired in the 80s this ‘live’ version sizzles and is cut through with great guitar, it’s a song like others that have been expanded beautifully.


Reaching back into the 70s with the funky ‘It's Uncanny’, a lesser known gem that really oozes soul and highlights the talent of the onstage band, you can’t help marvel at the richness of the back-catalogue. Oates falsetto on ‘Back Together Again’ a song a casual fan might not have heard of continues that line of thought and adds some great sax. It continues with the light and airy sax and soul of ‘Las Vegas turnaround’ from abandoned luncheonette.


The real meat of the set for me, though, is the pairing of two of the most beautiful songs ever written: ‘She's Gone’ and ‘Sara Smile’ which sit right in the middle of everything. ‘Sara Smile’ with its simple two guitar intro is sublime and brought out goose bumps:  it's funny how songs connect so even after so much time and stay forever. And that is why music is such a beautiful art form that transcends all others. The extended workout really works when you fear it might be self-indulgent, and when they bring it home all the real power and emotion is palpable.


The extended instrumental workout in ‘I can't go for that’ is another highlight - these are songs not constrained by their age just the imagination, and the band has a ridiculous amount of that. And the passage with just tenor sax riding the backbeat rocks like you wouldn’t believe.


Taking a break we get four encores starting with the sublime, quirky and succinct ‘Rich Girl’ which is set against the slightly twee ‘You make my dreams’ which to be honest age has been very kind to. Closing out the set ‘Kiss on My List’ and ‘Private Eyes’ shimmer and burn to close out a flawless performance and a wonderful evening.


‘Live in Dublin’ has it all: a memorable night, a great set-list and a sublime performance: more than enough reasons to invest and also to revisit that lengthy back-catalogue.



by Mark Rockpit