Photo of Daryl Hall & John Oates, by Dan DeSlover
Two of the best-selling and most popular duos of all time, Daryl Hall & John Oates and Tears For Fears, shared plenty of airspace on MTV and the radio throughout the 1980s, but up until 2017, never officially crossed paths on the road. That all changed when Tears For Fears took the first slot at a completely full Allstate Arena, sounding like awfully close carbon copies of their original new wave and alternative rock innovations, just prior to their pop n’ soul pals.
Without any new material, that meant Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith shot straight to the singles, sounding superb on booming walls of sound “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” and “Sowing The Seeds Of Love,” then a little later, “Break It Down Again” and “Head Over Heels.” The pair also gave the faithful a hearty bite off their experimental debut project The Hurting, offered a chilling cover of Radiohead’s “Creep,” and naturally, ended the all too short but entirely solid 70-minute set with the expected “Shout.”
From there, Hall & Oates dove into their extensive songbook, wasting no time getting down to the mega-hits “Adult Education,” “Maneater” and “Out Of Touch.” No longer actively recording as a unit, the veterans stuck mostly to the familiar throughout 105 minutes, but did send up a few surprises, including a piano-centered and increasingly sophisticated “Wait For Me,” plus Oates’ overlooked gem “Is It A Star” (from the equally obscure “War Babies” album).
Even when the band keyed into its usual programming, selections such as “Sara Smile” and “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)” took on improvisational, somewhat jazzy flavors that strayed from the sound of the original records, but nonetheless possessed a certain charm of their own.
For the encore, Hall & Oates packed “Rich Girl,” “Kiss On My List” and “Private Eyes” with barely a breath in between, sending everyone to their feet in praise of a double bill that should’ve probably been conceived a couple decades ago, but still holds just as much merit today.
See photos from the show below (by Dan DeSlover).