Madison Square Garden
New York, NY
June 14, 2018
On a pleasant Thursday evening in mid-June, the Hall & Oates/Train co-headlining tour made its way to Madison Square Garden, often referred to as the “World’s Most Famous Arena.” It was definitely a Philly Soul and San Francisco rock and soul night in the Big Apple as the two bands played hit after hit all night long.
Daryl Hall and John Oates, are often simply referred to as Hall & Oates. For the uninitiated, Daryl Hall is most often the group’s the lead vocalist while John Oates plays electric guitar, provides backing vocals and occasionally sings the lead. Since arriving on the musical scene in the early 1970s, Hall and Oates have sold over 40 million records. They are considered to be the best selling music duo of all time. They achieved their greatest fame from the late 1970s through the 1980s with a fusion of rock ‘n’ roll, soul, pop and R&B and are best known for their No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hits “Rich Girl,” “Kiss on My List,” “Private Eyes,” “I Can't Go for That (No Can Do),” “Maneater” and “Out of Touch.” They have also charted numerous other songs in the Top 40. In addition, they have recorded seven RIAA platinum albums, and six RIAA gold albums.
Train was formed in San Francisco in 1993. The band currently consists of Patrick Monahan (lead vocals), Luis Maldonado (guitar), Hector Maldonado (bass, vocals), Drew Shoals (drums), Jerry Becker (keyboards, guitar), Sakai Smith (backup vocals) and Nikita Houston (backup vocals).
The band’s debut album Train was released in 1998 on Aware Records. The group was propelled onto the charts and gained heavy radio rotation and airplay with the hit single “Meet Virginia.” Train's 2001 album, Drops of Jupiter (Columbia Records) featured the eponymously titled single which won two Grammy Awards in 2002.
Over the course of its multi-platinum career, Train has hit the Billboard charts numerous times with their singles which include “Calling All Angels,” “Hey, Soul Sister,” “If It's Love,” “Marry Me’ and “Save Me, San Francisco.” Train has sold over 10 million albums worldwide.
The evening’s festivities began with Train and front-man Pat Monahan kicking of its high-energy set with “Parachute.” Many audience members immediately rose to their feet and stayed there throughout the performance dancing to “50 Ways to Say Goodbye,” “If It’s Love,” “Call Me Sir” and even the note-for-note perfect robust and rockin’ homage to Led Zeppelin--“Black Dog.” Monahan and his cohorts had the normally jaded audience eating out of the palm of their hands.
The set continued with flawless renditions of “Meet Virginia,” “Save Me, San Francisco” (an audience participation number) which segued into “When I Look to the Sky.” The soulful ballad “Marry Me” began with Monahan on acoustic guitar after which he was joined by the rest of the band. “Hey, Soul Sister” and “Play That Song” returned the love birds in the audience back to their feet.
The crowd members lost their minds when they heard the opening notes of the late Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’.” Train’s commanding rendition was spot on. Petty would have approved. The set ended with a nice version of “Drive By” and the band’s biggest hit and signature tune, “Drops of Jupiter,” which again had the audience on its feet, singing along and acting out the lyrics.
After a short intermission, Daryl Hall & John Oates and their band delivered a powerful set of blue-eyed Philly Soul. When the band appeared, Hall and Oates were the epitome of cool as they came front and center. Rocking a leather jacket with aviator shades, the 71-year-old Daryl Hall still looks stylish almost 50 years down the road. John Oates looked comfortable in his own skin wearing a light jacket over a t-shirt and jeans.
Hall & Oates went right for the juggler opening the show with a rocking version of “Maneater.” After well over forty years, these two veteran rockers and their band know how to up the ante and continually apply the pressure. They rolled into “Out Of Touch” and then “Say It Isn’t So.” For many a casual fan, these three tunes could more than suffice. Hall was obviously in a chatty and impish mood. “What's up, New York City?” he asked, “It's good to be back here. I feel at home. I will sleep in my own bed tonight. Thank you for coming out.” He continued to address the crowd throughout the evening with quips about living in New York and loving playing in “the Garden.” If the audience wasn't already thrilled to be there, they were treated to additional highlights in the first part of the band’s set that included: a spot-on version of the Righteous Brothers' “You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin’” (originally released by Hall & Oates on the Voices album RCA Records, 1980), “She's Gone” with all the funk and R&B flavor that one could want and the timeless and the melancholy “Sara Smile.”
As with the band’s most recent tours, the show was very much a greatest hits set featuring the most popular hit singles released by the duo during its '70s and '80s heyday. The biggest exception was the Oates-penned and sung “Is It A Star,” a 1974 album track. Hall introduced the song as “one of John's from War Babies album.” The first portion of the main set ended with an extended jamming version of “I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)” featuring Charlie DeChant's excellent sax work.
Train lead singer Pat Monahan then returned to the stage. Monahan and Hall explained that they had decided to work together and the result was the new Daryl Hall & John Oates with Train single “Philly Forget Me Not.” Monahan stayed on stage and sang “Wait For Me” and Train’s popular hit “Calling All Angels” with the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famers. After a thunderous round of applause, Monahan left the stage and Hall & Oates delivered an infectious version of “Kiss on My List” and the main set closer “Private Eyes.”
Hall & Oates came back out for an encore set which, though short on tunes and length more than made-up for it with quality. The first song, “Rich Girl,” had many members of the crowd (male, female and many of their kids) on their feet and singing along. If the audience wasn’t already in a fevered state, the sing-along version of the show stopping and show ending “You Make My Dreams Come True” left everyone in attendance sweaty and satiated.
During the evening, Oates, who usually lets his guitar do all the talking asked, “How are you guys doing out there?” he then noted that the band was halfway through with their tour, and that there is “nothing like a New York audience.” The applause, whistles and cheers from the sold-out crowd definitely affirmed his assertion.
A Hall & Oates' performance can best be described as "Chockful O' Hits." The duo and their bandmates (Porter Carroll Jr, on percussion, Brian Dunne on drums, Eliot Lewis on guitar, Klyde Jones on bass and multi-instrumentalist DeChant on flute, percussion and keyboards) always provides the audience members with a journey down memory lane…with both Hall and Oates acting as the cruise directors.
Photo Credit: Christine Connallon