By Keith Sharp
When Daryl Hall invited Train lead vocalist Patrick Monahan to appear on one of his famous `Live From Daryl’s House’ podcasts a few years ago, both were struck by the instant chemistry they created together.
“We got along very well immediately, we stayed in contact and we talked about possibly performing together in the future,” explained Hall on the phone from Charleston, South Carolina.
Flash forward to 2018, Hall & Oates enjoyed major success touring last year with England’s Tears For Fears and when they decided to replicate that formula of presenting two classic rock bands on the same bill, Pat Monahan’s Train made themselves readily available.
“They were available and my first thought was, what we can do is to re-create that Daryl’s House experience with both Pat and John (Oates)”, Hall explained. “Train will do their set (including hits like “Calling All Angels”, “Drops Of Jupiter” and “Hey Soul Sister”), we’ll do ours, and then at the end of the show, we’ll bring Pat back out and do some stuff together. It will be an extra thing for everybody and keep the show interesting and it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
To cement the relationship for their 35-date tour, which launches in Sacramento May 1st (and includes two Canadian dates, June 8th at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre and June 13th at Montreal’s Bell Centre), Hall & Oates have joined forces with Monahan to record a new single together entitled “Philly Forget Me Not”.
“Pat came up with the title, he said let me throw some ideas at you and I thought it was great,” Hall enthused. “All three of us are Pennsylvania guys so to record a song which paid tribute to our Philly R&B heritage made a lot of sense. Pat gave me a song demo, I said let me personalize it so I produced it and sang it with Pat and John – it’s the first radio song I’ve had with John in quite awhile.”
Although, like most classic rock acts, Hall & Oates have endured their quiet spells since dominating the 80’s charts with a string of hit albums and singles, the pair have enjoyed a period of personal creativity, Oates producing and recording with other artists and penning his own autobiography. `A Change Of Seasons’ while Hall has enjoyed major social media recognition with his Live From Daryl’s House podcasts which feature a series of artists performing impromptu performances in front of a live audience in Hall’s own residence.
He has now upgraded the venue to Daryl’s House Music Club in Pawling New York (having recently sold his original house) but he is toying with the concept of performing future shows at both his club and a new house currently being constructed although he allows “It’s no fun waking up at 8 o clock in the morning to camera men knocking on your door,”
Having already logged some 85 shows with a wide variety of artists ( O Jays, Cheap Trick, Sammy Hagar, Shelby Lynne), Hall says he loves how the show’s format allows him to stretch out musically. “Each performance is very spontaneous. Sometimes people
can’t believe that we don’t rehearse but it’s all happening in front of them. The audience gets the feeling that they are in a room and that we are all doing this for the first time – which we are!”
With another series scheduled to shoot this fall, Hall is looking forward to continue working with artists he has never even met before. “Doing my show is like the ultimate musical blind date. We never know what is going to happen but there’s always a smile on our faces.”
As for the current tour, Hall & Oates will continue to re-shape standard hits like “Man Eater”, “She’s Gone” “Sarah Smiles” , “Out Of Touch” and “Kiss On My Lips” into extended jams that are sometimes unrecognizable from the original structure.
“I’ve got the best band in the world so why wouldn’t we get creative with our material,” Hall explains when asked about the band’s re-interpretation of their catalogue during last year’s Tears For Fears Tour.
“We’ve always done that, going back to 1976,” he stated. “We’ve always used our record as a demo and when you are on stage, those songs evolve and develop over a period of time, these songs take on a significantly different life”
Which in the end is the essence of a Hall & Oates performance. “Our supporters have come to expect the unexpected,” Hall concludes. “They don’t want to hear songs the way they were sang originally. They want some kind of musical surprise and we love giving it to them.”