There are not too many bands who can claim to have provided the soundtrack for not just one but multiple generations. The duo of Daryl Hall & John Oates are one of the few musical groups that can make that claim. With catchy lyrics and rhythms that are easy to dance to, the duo rose to stardom decades ago and continue to grow their legion of fans. On May 11, 2017, Daryl Hall & John Oates brought their music to the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., along with the super group Tears for Fears, to perform for fans old and new.
The concert kicked off almost 10 minutes early when Allen Stone took the stage. The relatively unknown artist had the opportunity to entertain the crowd as it entered the venue with a three-song acoustic set in preparation for the main acts and took advantage of the chance to introduce himself to a larger audience. Stone started his set with an original song and then got the crowd involved with a strong cover version of Aretha Franklin’s “I Say a Little Prayer” before finishing with a song from his latest album, Radius. With his powerful voice and unique guitar work, these three songs served as a good introduction for the spectacle that was to follow.
After a brief intermission, Tears for Fears took the stage to applause as the band launched into one of its biggest hits with “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.” The fans were still finding their seats as the band kicked off its set, so it took a little while for the crowd to get into the performance but the Xcel Energy Center was rocking about midway through the song. With a stage featuring a stunning light show, it was clear that this was sure to be a visual as well as a musical spectacle. Tears for Fears has been around for a long time and the band dug deep into its catalog of songs to pull out some gems that the casual fan may not be familiar with. A surreal performance of “Everybody Loves a Happy Ending” that had a hint of Queen in both the lyrical stylings and striking stage show was an early highlight of the set and had the crowd begging for more. While the band had limited interaction with the audience, it let the music speak for itself and delivered a high energy set with slick transitions between songs with very little break in the music. A very strong cover of Radiohead’s “Creep” led to the final charge of hits before the band ended its set with “Head Over Heels.” The band exploded back on the stage for a one-song encore performance of “Shout” and then it was time for the audience to relax and anticipate the arrival of the headlining band.
Daryl Hall & John Oates waited for their backing band to start up “Adult Education” before taking the stage to an explosion of cheering and applause by the fans that washed over the venue. The duo then took it to the next level with “Maneater” and it was clear that they are masters of performing live. The music was top notch from the outset and the band remained in prime form even though it had to struggle through some technical difficulties that persisted through the first half of the set. Crowd-pleasing songs such as a cover of The Righteous Brother’s hit “You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feelin’” and “Possession Obsession” highlighted the set as did Hall’s turn on the piano for several songs. The duo stepped aside several times during the performance to allow its extremely talented band to shine and it was this collaborative effort by the entire band that made the set soar. While the songs were recognizable, the band did not simply play the song as recorded on the album but improvised frequently with the sound. Many songs were extended with individual or collaborative jam sessions that brought new meaning and power to every song. Daryl Hall & John Oates grooved their way through a strong set highlighted by the improvised performances and interaction with the crowd before departing the stage. The band then returned for an encore trilogy of some of its biggest hits in “Rich Girl,” “Kiss on My List” and “Private Eyes.” The band then took its final bows with both the performers and the crowd completely spent from giving its all during the show.
The concert was not the perfect show. Daryl Hall spent several songs battling through technical difficulties that led to some feedback screeches early in the band’s set. In addition to this, the light show was stunning for both main acts yet there were lights shining on the crowd that were often blinding and made it difficult to watch the performance many times throughout the night. All in all, both Tears for Fears and Daryl Hall & John Oates showed why they are two of the biggest rock acts in the world as they were on the top of their games and delivered a concert experience that the fans are not going to forget anytime soon.