My connection to the music of Hall & Oates goes back a long way. I remember “She’s Gone” in 1973, “Sara Smile” in 1976, and so many more. I first saw them in concert in 1984, on the Big Bam Boom tour. Incredibly, it seemed as if they had peaked at that moment, after having one hell of a run. But those things come and go, with that incident now some 32 years ago. So what have they been up to since? Doesn't matter, does it? Hall & Oates is the brand, and classics such as “Maneater,” “Say It Isn’t So,” and “Kiss on My List” are the songs that will never die. The new DVD/double CD Daryl Hall & John Oates Live in Dublin is a 15-song exercise in showing just how good these two still are at what they do. Sit back for 90 minutes of sure-fire hits.
They hit the ground running with the sure-fire “Maneater” met by the fans' rousing approval. Then after greeting the audience and giving the viewer a spectacular look at the Olympia House, the band launches into “Out of Touch,” “Say It Isn’t So,” and “Family Man,” before the inevitable bathroom break songs. I know, it‘s terrible, but people really do walk out of less familiar tunes in concerts. I must say, it is their loss, as “It’s Uncanny,” “Back Together Again,” “Las Vegas Turnaround.” form what you might call the obscure portion of the evening.
It would be hard for any H&O fans to argue with the remaining eight tracks. This second set (of sorts) begins with my first favorite H&O song, “She’s Gone.” It was my introduction to blue-eyed soul, and the sound of Philly in general. The phenomenal “Sara Smile” is next, it is another of my all-time favorites. A little bit of a curve ball is thrown with the inclusion of “Do What You Want, Be Who You Are,” which was never one of my favorites, but “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)" is nice.
The final four may seem like random hits, which on one level, they certainly are. Here they are in order: “Rich Girl,” “You Make My Dreams,” “Kiss On My List,” and “Private Eyes.” Lotta “man-bitching” in those songs, which makes me smile today. Hall & Oates only performed with the best, and the backup band they brought to Ireland in very impressive.
The show took place July 15, 2014 at Dublin’s Olympia Theatre. The digi-pak is a four-paneled affair, housing two compact discs, and the DVD. There are no additional songs on either format, and there are two main bonus DVD features. During the interview section (7:03), Hall brings up the fact that a number of the bandmates were once in the Average White Band. “Dublin Calling” (7:07) has band members discuss how excited they are to be in Dublin. A little hard to believe that they had never played the city before, considering how long they have been at it, but this show does mark their first appearance. Of course since the concert was recorded mere months ago, the audio-visual specs are fab. 16:9 screen format, DTS digital surround sound, you know, the whole bit.
In music, there always seen to be a price to pay for success, yet Hall & Oates seem to have gotten away relatively undamaged. For those of us ancient enough to remember, there was once a day when you could not walk outside the door without hearing one of their electro-pop smashes. Those days eventually came to an end, but H&O stuck around. Every now and then you would hear about a new album, and they have continued to tour regularly. For anyone looking for a pretty damned good, all-inclusive Hall & Oates set, Live in Dublin should do you just fine.