Hall and Oates are having a moment. The duo behind eight platinum and seven gold records have seen their share of popularity, but, let’s be honest, they weren’t exactly considered cool back in those chart-topping days. Sure, we bought the records and sang “Private Eyes” in the shower, but it wasn’t as though teen boys were lamenting their inability to grow out a righteous Oates-like mustache. Even as the eighties nostalgia wave of recent years rekindled the love for British new wave and spandex clad hair bands, the great pop act of the decade seemed to have been relegated into the same category you would lump Chia pets and Dynamite Magazine. They got attention, but more as parody than genuine popularity.
Then a funny thing happened. Maybe it was Joseph Gordon-Levitt reminding everyone how nice it is to be in love, or Chromeo and the Plain White T’s showing up at Daryl’s House, but Hall and Oates went from being a band hipsters regarded with irony to one deemed kind of cool. Adorable duo, The Bird and the Bee put out a Hall and Oates cover album in 2010. Fitz and the Tantrums paid Hall a visit and then headlined with the band at Bumbershoot in 2011. Already this year they’ve appeared on the finale of The Voice, been covered in a van, and gotten love from fanboy fave, Allison Brie.
So it was no surprise to find an eager audience of PBR swilling hipsters intertwined with longtime fans at the Tower on Saturday night. The front orchestra seats were filled with three decade devotees, while the cheap seats skewed to a much younger demographic. Maybe it was this generational separation or the early start time for the gig (7PM), but it took a while for the audience to really get into the show. They weren’t alone. Despite Charles DeChant’s lively solo, the first song of the night, “Maneater” was lacking spontaneity. Just as the audience started to warm up after the hits, “Family Man” and “Out of Touch”, the band moved onto the lesser-known tracks, “How Does it Feel to Be Back”, “Las Vegas Turnaround” and “It’s a Laugh”. While the next few songs were also more subdued, the crowd happily sang along to “She’s Gone” and “Sara Smile”.
Both encores were filled with the band’s biggest hits. Fans joined in on “Rich Girl” and “You Make My Dreams Come True”. By the time the band introductions were being made, everyone was on their feet for “Kiss on My List”.
Saturday night’s show wasn’t perfect. The backing band had tremendous enthusiasm during the entire show, but there were times when you couldn’t help but wonder if maybe Hall and Oates, themselves, are kind of bored playing the same old songs. Nonetheless, I don’t think you would find a single disgruntled person in the crowd. When you have a catalog filled with great pop songs, it’s hard to disappoint.
LJ Moskowitz is a photographer and writer based out of New Jersey specializing in concert, product and fine art photography. She is an active member of the National Press Photographers Association and Professional Photographers of America. You can find her at Shutterchick Photography, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.