HALL & OATES
TEARS FOR FEARS
Toronto Rogers Centre
June 19 2017
The bringing together of the Philly Soul Sound of Daryl Hall and John Oates with the British New Wave offerings of Tears For Fears provided an ideal blend of style and substance with two set lists packed full of classic hits which established that, as far as the capacity audience in Toronto is concerned, there’s nothing wrong with nostalgia.
Superficially the teaming of Hall and Oates with the Tears For Fears duo of Roland Orzabal and Curtis Smith have much in common in that both groups dominated the charts in the mid-80’s, both groups split up for a lengthy period of time and both are mounting comebacks at a time when music nostalgia seems to be peaking.
In the case of Tears For Fears, as both Smith and Orzabal continued to remark during their 75-minute set, they have a strong connection with ‘The Six’ having shot the video for “Head Over Heels” at the Toronto Public Library and engaging in a four-night stint at Toronto’s Massey Hall in 1985 (which was filmed for a documentary) when they heard that “Shout” had gone to Number 1 on the Billboard Charts. Their 13-song set compacted most of their hits, launching with “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” which capsulized the band’s trademark, keyboard-heavy sound wash.
Fair to say Smith struggled a little on the high notes early on compared to the vocal strength of Orzabal, but that weakness was corrected as the set progressed. Heavy on their first album The Hurting, which produced four hits; “Mad World”, “Pale Shelter”, “Change “and “Memories Fade”, TFF didn’t leave out any major hits, spot on with classics like “Sowing The Seeds Of Love” and “Head Over Heels”. They also gave a wave of the cap to Radiohead, a band they obviously influenced with Orzabal’s excellent cover of “Creep”.
And then of course there was the big encore of “Shout” in which Orzabal gasped “I’ve forgotten the fuckin words” as he struggled with the opening verses, only to be bailed out by the audience who were in full vocal mode at this point.
Daryl Hall and John Oates, a duo noted for a laundry list of three to four-minute r&b pop hits totally caught their
expectant audience off-guard by totally re-arranging familiar tracks into Greatful Deadish instrumental workouts. Case in point, when they concluded their regular 90-minute set, Hall and Oates had only performed 10 songs! But whether the mood just hit them, or whether playing in Toronto allowed them to shake off their usual arrangements and just total loosen up, there they were, turning songs like “I Can’t Go For That” and “Is It A Star” from their early “War Babies” album into a virtual jam session.
Props to lead guitarist Shane Theriot and multi-horn player Charlie “Mr Casual” DeChant who helped propel the instrumental work outs but kudos also to Hall and Oates, for ad-libbing lyrics and adding a fresh approach to standard hits.
Mike Oldfield’s “Family Man”, kicked off the set, classics like “Maneater”, “Out Of Touch” and “Say It isn’t So” were given a re-work and Oates himself, got to shine with his lead vocals on The Righteous Brothers’ “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling” which segued nicely into a more intimate section of the show which featured the band’s breakout tracks “She’s Gone” and “Sara Smile” with Hall taking command of the keyboards.
It was almost a “thank you for your patience” gesture when they returned for a four-encore set to perform more recognizable arrangements of “Rich Girl”, “Kiss On My List”, “Private Eyes” and “You Make My Dreams”.
It would have been so easy for Daryl Hall & John Oates, just to hop on stage and deliver their litany of hits. But the fact that they chose to challenge their audience while at the same time exhibiting their own instrumental and vocal prowess was a clear indication that even classic hits can mature with age.
Fan Shot video below,