Last week Daryl Hall & John Oates returned to the Reading at the Santander Arena to perform for a sold out crowd of hometown fans. The legendary duo of course hailing from Philadelphia area in their early days are one of the most iconic bands that have graced the venue’s stage in the past and this show was certainly set to be no different from their previous stops in Reading.
The duo was set to debut a brand new stage show at the Reading performance before heading up to Madison Square Garden in New York City for 2 shows. The band also announced a large summer tour spanning the entire country just days before the show in Reading which helped create even more hype about their return to Reading, PA.
Having seen Daryl Hall & John Oates perform before just last year the bar was set very high for this performance in my opinion. That being said the show began with what I thought was a very classy introduction as the supporting band members made their way out onto a beautifully designed stage to begin playing the opening of “Maneater,” more on both the band members and the stage set up to come further the review.
After a few seconds of jamming both John Oates and Daryl Hall walked out from the side of the stage to the roar of an audience jumping to their feet from the seats they had all been sitting in seconds prior. With a wave to the crowd the dynamic duo dove into the song, attacking it head on with both guitar riffs and well delivered vocals.
It became clear from the very first song that they had surrounded themselves with very talented supporting band members, some of which have been with them for many years at this point. Having the backing support of longtime member, Charles DeChant, on saxophone and the additional support from Eliot Lewis on keys, Porter Carroll on percussion, and so on transformed their traditional songs into stunning performance productions.
I understand how some critics and fans may have been thrown for a loop by this more “showy” or “Vegas” style of presentation. Despite the fact that some reviewers like to use proper nouns as adjectives in order to describe a performance I think the presence of the supporting band members was a brilliant aspect of the show that only bolstered it from start to finish despite what others have said. I look at it in the light of musicians of the same caliber such as Bruce Springsteen or Bob Dylan, both of whom have embraced the strong backing band sound to enhance both their performance and give the audience a sound that couldn’t be captured otherwise.
Back on the subject of the performance I think both Daryl Hall and John Oates’ voices have held up incredibly well and both had numerous occasions to shine during the evening’s performance. A stand out moment for me was when Daryl Hall had a keyboard brought out for him in the middle of the set to a perform for a good number of songs, during this time the venue rushed the stage from their seats as they began dancing around. John Oates’ numerous guitar solos were also a notable point of the night, shining brightest when he and Charles DeChant went back and forth feeding off each other’s energy in a jam session like no other that evening. The evening’s set transitioned quickly starting off as I said with “Maneater” and moving directly into “Out of Touch,” both songs getting standing ovations from the packed venue.
As the night went on Daryl Hall and John Oates truly put on a master class performance in all regards, their setlist while a tad short was full of the songs that everyone wanted to hear and as a result there was never a dull moment. The main set culminated in a nearly 15 minute performance of “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do)” that saw each member getting a solo, countless jam sessions, and stunning vocals of Daryl Hall that truly couldn’t have been any better in my opinion.
The band left the stage returning twice for encore sets that brought the evening to a close after 15 songs, while some Reading fans may have wanted more they will have their chance this May when the duo and their band return for what I’m looking at as an encore performance for their Pennsylvanian fans.
If you were on the fence about this show or missed out on buying tickets I would highly recommend you consider a show when Daryl Hall & John Oates return to the area later this year, in fact I strongly urge you to consider it. There are very few musicians of their size, status, and legend that are still delivered such high quality performances from start to finish which makes this show one to be seen. Not to mention the fact that the duo has an incredible stage set up and lighting rig that was perfectly queued by their lighting technical, this added a lot to songs at times as it gave them a visual front that was incredible to witness.
Photo Gallery by Matt Christine: