Entertainment

Review: Daryl Hall Reminds Why His Legacy Is Evergreen at the Greek Theatre

Daryl Hall performed 12 songs, most of them renowned, as part of the "Daryl Hall + Elvis Costello & The Imposters with Charlie Sexton" concert on Tuesday, June 18th at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, CA. Photo credit: Lola Karam

The following is a review of Daryl Hall’s set as part of the Daryl Hall + Elvis Costello & The Imposters with Charlie Sexton concert on Tuesday, June 18th at the Greek Theatre.

Who knew that in 1968, the radical decision to depart Temple University on the cusp of graduation would be the ultimate high risk-huge reward move for Philadelphia native Daryl Hall? Not long thereafter, Hall would musically join forces with John Oates, whom he’d already met a year prior, to form the inimitable Hall & Oates en route to a 50-year-plus-and-counting career of hummable hits as both a partner and solo artist.

On Tuesday, June 18th, as one-half of a touring doubleheader with Elvis Costello and The Imposters, Hall capped off a memorable evening at the Greek Theatre that even saw Elon Musk’s SpaceX rocket decorate the overhead sky. And while Oates was conspicuous by his absence (the duo disbanded in April due to a legal disagreement), Hall was in rare form with his six-man house band, playing a dozen songs covering both his past and present.

Longtime bandmembers, who also provided agreeable backup vocals, included Shane Theriot on electric guitar, Greg Mayo on keyboards, Klyde Jones on bass, Brian Dunne on drums, Porter Carroll, Jr. on percussion, and Charlie DeChant on saxophone/flute. The sum of their instrumental parts reminded why Hall, 77, is more than just an ‘80s nostalgia act; he and his cohorts have perfected a dynamic sound enhanced by jazzy and bluesy elements. And although Hall’s falsetto isn’t as effortless as it used to be, he has admirably adapted his voice by utilizing a matured rasp and soulful intonations.

As the stage saw a slight reconfiguration from the preceding gig, notable by an embroidered “D” on the rear curtain signifying his newest album, the full-maned Hall ambled out to commence his set with 1982’s “Maneater.” Clad in a navy-blue coat, blue jeans, and a guitar strapped to his chest, the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer emoted with a terrific snarl in his voice, exhibiting his infectious charisma, and staying true to the original key as he audaciously did for the rest of the night.

“Dreamtime,” a Hall original, followed and resonated as surreally as the most striking of dreams, punctuated by the mellifluous chorus and Theriot’s exhilarating guitar solo surrounded by flashing lights. “It’s Uncanny” was next, highlighted by Hall’s evocative growl, fervency, and trademark shrug of the shoulders as he lifted his head up to the left as if to effectively reach the more challenging notes. DeChant, who has collaborated with Hall (& Oates) since 1976, similarly shined with an expert sax demonstration.

When you total his musical contributions, as either a solo artist or as one-half of the acclaimed Hall & Oates, it’s clear that Daryl Hall’s legacy is up there with the all-time greats. Photo credit: Stuart Berg

The fourth song was “Foolish Pride” from Hall’s second solo album, which kicked off with Mayo’s synth-resonating touches, as Hall scatted and improvised with the same hair-raising clarity that he had back in 1986. “Did It in a Minute,” then, underscored Hall’s groovy little screams and higher register, along with Carroll, Jr.’s tambourines and Dunne’s robust drum playing.

The former No. 1 hit “Out of Touch” suitably delineated the halfway point. Immediately, the almost 6,000 attendees rose to their feet to wave their arms in harmony amid the ringing out of synth bells as Theriot, the music director of Live from Daryl’s House (a series featuring Hall jamming with his musical peers), impressed again.

1993’s “I’m in a Philly Mood” marked the first of four ditties with Hall at the piano. Evincing his versatility (Hall’s talents, in fact, extend beyond the stage as he additionally restores historic houses), the baritenor plied away at the keys while getting into an ideal headspace that was emphasized by his stirring vocals and Jones’s full-bodied tones on the bass. Subsequently, “Everytime You Go Away,” recorded by Hall & Oates in 1980 but popularized by Paul Young in 1985, presented the classic as it was initially conceived. It was a rendition fans promptly realized they were missing out on until now as it is more relaxed, but paradoxically more emotive, as exemplified by a note stimulatingly sustained on the sax by DeChant.

Superbly capturing the intimacy of the proceedings was “Sara Smile” as the sea of onlookers synchronously sang, “It’s you and me forever,” and Hall added sprinkles of spice to his head voice before the song concluded with a roaring approval. The 1981 monster smash, “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do),” which resounded with the same cheekily assertive sass that has filled the airwaves for 40 years, had all the literal bells and whistles, with DeChant on the flute. Hall, who was just getting warmed up, embraced the moment by connecting with the audience as DeChant — returning to the sax — dueled with Theriot on the guitar. This coincided with Porter, Jr. vocalizing charmingly and Dunne culminating the epic with a flurry of drumsticks.

Last, but not least, the encore closed the concert with two songs, beginning with “Can’t Say No to You” (dueted with Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart on the recording) from Hall’s soon-to-be-released album, D. Hall, who migrated to the keyboard to play his current single live for only the fifth time, delighted with satisfying chord changes and a catchiness that reminded why he is a skilled songwriter. Of course, there is no omitting the indelible “You Make My Dreams (Come True)” — and the obliged Hall didn’t disappoint as he sung it with a refreshed verve and in an intermittent lower octave, which captivated in its own right, in lieu of the expected higher pitches.

Few artists are as proficient as they are likable and, Daryl Hall, an advanced musician professionally active since 1965, embodies both qualities. For him to be as energetic and full of vitality as he is should be illegal for anyone of any age, let alone for someone who will astonishingly turn 78 on October 11th. Flanked by six other stalwarts of the stage as he was during his latest performance at the Greek Theatre, Hall proved why his rock-pop legacy — singularly and as a collaborator — is melodiously distinctive, worthy of acclaim, and enduring. As he discerningly remarked near the top of his set, Hall certainly has good reason to believe that “everything is good; everything is auspicious.”

For more information about Daryl Hall’s upcoming tour stops, visit darylhall.com.

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