The ‘80s were alive at Hall and Oates and Tears for Fears’ Des Moines show
Daryl Hall of Hall and Oates fame speaks with the Poughkeepsie Journal about living in Dutchess County and owning a local business. John Barry and Alex H. Wagner/Poughkeepsie Journal
Some artists don’t age well. Singers can lose vocal range. Guitar players’ proficiency can fade. Performers who built a career on head-turning live shows can fall flat as years pass.
For Philadelphia-raised Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Daryl Hall and John Oates, that isn’t the case.
The iconic duo from the 1980s, backed by a seven-piece band, performed for the first time at Wells Fargo Arena on Monday night, burning through nearly two hours of classic rock favorites with a sharpness untouched by age (Hall is 70; Oates is 69). Led by the timeless, smooth vocals of Hall, revamped renditions of tracks like “Maneater” and “I Can’t Go For That” kept the crowd of thousands movin' throughout the show.
“It’s a real pleasure to be back (in Des Moines),” Oates told the audience. “It’s been way, way too long.”
The show marks the third of the three-month tour for Hall and Oates, which also features Tears for Fears and an opening performance from Allen Stone.
Head over heels: Tears For Fears, hailing from Somerset, England, opened the show with a dose of emotional tunes and British charm. Pulling from the multi-decade discography that backs the alternative pop group, Tears for Fears delivered roughly 75 minutes of arena-sized synth-driven tracks.
The set was led by renditions of fan-favorite “Shout” encore, the heart-wrenching “Mad World” and opening number “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.” The six-piece band was led by long-time members of the group Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith.
“This is the fourth show of a three-month tour,” said Smith. “Things to seem to be (jamming) by the first few songs. No mistakes yet. Although when we get back to older material … memory has to kick in.”
Memory kicked in to a near-flawless effect; the group dug deep to perform tracks off “The Hurting” and critic favorite “Songs From The Big Chair,” including "Change" and “Head Over Heels." The group even broke into its cover of Radiohead's infamous “Creep” before digging back into ‘80s numbers to finish the set.
Des Moines smiles: The show thrived when Hall was found behind the keyboard, especially while playing a grand piano rendition of “Sara Smiles” and “Wait for Me.”
“I got this new piano so I’m gonna play it,” Hall said.
The marquee song of the evening, an extended jam of “I Can’t Go for That,” showed Hall leading the band again from behind the keyboard. Moving from the song’s booming chorus to a sax solo to Oates leading the track on guitar, the rendition felt not unlike a warm, welcoming cut from Hall’s famed “Live From Daryl’s House” web show brought to life in the arena.
Make our dreams: Hall stayed on the keys to lead the band through a full-on jam of arguably the biggest Hall and Oates number, “Make My Dreams.” The new, extended renditions of hits such as "Make My Dreams" and "I Can't Go for That" added a dose of energy to otherwise classic tracks.
The all-time best selling music duo returned to the stage for a three-song encore of “Rich Girl," "Kiss on My List" and "Private Eye," marking a close to the soulful, smooth show.
“You guys are all right,” Hall said. “We still got the fire, man.”