[WARNING: This concert review features the word “asshole” quite a few times. It originally featured much harsher language, but I toned it down so as not to offend those with tender ears. For example, there’s a place where I really wanted to write “drunken fucks”, but I went with “drunken assholes” instead. It doesn’t quite have the charm of the original, but it gets the point across anyway.]
Intro: Why I Went to a Hall & Oates Concert
I’m a casual Hall & Oates fan at best. I bought a $3 copy of their greatest hits a couple years ago. I only know the twelve songs on that CD and “Out of Touch”. So why did I drive 200 miles to see Hall & Oates perform at the Palace Theatre in Columbus? To answer that question, we have to take a trip back to 1991.
The second concert I ever saw was the Moody Blues at the Timberwolf Amphitheatre. The opening act for that show was scheduled to be Hall & Oates. It was even printed on the ticket stub: “the Moody Blues w/Hall & Oates”. For reasons I never was able to figure out, Hall & Oates didn’t show up. Instead, a horrible hair metal band called Neverland took their place. It was all strutting and leather pants and hairspray and lame balladry. Neverland remains, to this day, the worst thing I’ve ever seen live on a stage.
So I was left with a ticket stub that made it look like I’d seen the Moody Blues and Hall & Oates. I didn’t think much of it at first, but as the years went by and my ticket stub collection grew, I began to find this incredibly annoying. The only way I could fix this inconsistency was to actually track down Hall & Oates and see them in concert. (It occurs to me now that I could’ve just thrown the old ticket stub in the garbage or found something more important to worry about.)
Christmas Set: The Good
The current tour is called the Home For Christmas tour. Hall & Oates perform a set of Christmas songs, take a brief intermission, and then come back for a second set of hits. I was a bit suspicious of this format, as I’d never heard the guys sing a Christmas song before. It turns out they do a pretty good job. They played nine Christmas songs, four of which would qualify as “classics”. My favorites were “It Came Upon A Midnight Clear” and “The Christmas Song”. The remaining songs were originals or covers written by contemporary musicians. Who knew Robbie Robertson had a Christmas song…and a good one at that?! The Christmas set was enjoyable throughout and really got me into a festive mood.
Christmas Set: The Bad
It’s a good thing I don’t have the ability to murder people with my brain. If I had that power, then the obnoxious assholes sitting behind me wouldn’t have made it out of the Palace Theatre alive. In all my years of concert-going, I don’t think I’ve ever seen audience members as inconsiderate as these. How inconsiderate? One of them was so oblivious to social graces that he saw fit to shout into his cellphone while Hall & Oates were onstage singing “O Holy Night”. I’m sorry…I’m not a religious man by any means, but even I think a song about the birth of Jesus deserves more respect than that. Oh, and “Maneater” isn’t a Christmas song, so there’s really no need to shout for it during the Christmas set, you drunken assholes!!
Greatest Hits Set: The Good
Hall & Oates haven’t always been the coolest guys around, but there’s no denying that they’ve had some great songs through the years. Even the most ardent music snob would have a hard time saying anything against “She’s Gone” or “Sara Smile”. Those two songs were performed back-to-back and were definitely highlights for me. In addition to those, they played “Out of Touch”, “Say It Isn’t So”, “I Can’t Go For That”, “Rich Girl”, and “You Make My Dreams”. The best part–and something that had worried me going in–was that their voices have both aged very well.
Greatest Hits Set: The Bad
The assholes behind me began throwing their drink cups. The back of my fleece now smells like whiskey.
Encore: The Good
Hall & Oates finished the night was a version of “Jingle Bell Rock”. Fake snow fell from the ceiling. It was festive and fun and made a wonderful ending to a thoroughly enjoyable evening of live music. I was surprised I enjoyed myself as much as I did. I’m glad I went.
Encore: The Bad
Of course, I couldn’t get out on a highlight. As soon as the houselights went on, the loudest of the assholes behind me shouted out, “I can’t believe they ended with that shit!”
As always, here’s the setlist: