JCF

The second I heard that Daryl Hall & John Oates were playing Boston, I jumped on tickets. Once your favorite musical artists advance to a certain age, you start wondering how many more chances you’ll get to see them. Add in H2O’s long-overdue Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction this year, and my attendance was a no-brainer.

The sold out show at the Blue Hills Pavilion was last night, and while I don’t regret attending at all, it was one of those instances where I wish I was 10 or 15 years older so that I could’ve seen them in their heyday¹. The duo still sounds great, although some of the vocal masturbation techniques my friend Jeff had warned me about (there wasn’t a lot of sticking to the melody) were definitely present in Daryl’s performance and took away a little from my overall enjoyment of the show. John sounded great, and the band was super-duper tight. Plus, it’s awesome to see saxman Charlie DeChant still kicking it, cool as ever.

SIISDaryl & John kicked their show off with a monster 1-2-3 punch of “Maneater”, “Out Of Touch” and 1983’s “Say It Isn’t So.” While I’m fond of all three songs, and you should be too, “Say It Isn’t So” is probably the least celebrated. This might be because it’s the only of those three songs to not top the charts (it got stuck behind Michael Jackson & Paul McCartney’s “Say Say Say”²) It also might be because it didn’t herald a new Hall & Oates studio album, but it was one of the two new tracks on the duo’s first “hits” package, Rock ‘n Soul Part 1. A glance at the song’s Wikipedia page reveals that it was a true across-the-board smash, hitting #1 on the dance charts, #2 on the pop charts, #8 on the easy listening/adult contemporary charts, #18 on the rock charts, and #45 on the R&B charts.

It was also the first H2O song to appear in the golden age of video. I distinctly remember staying up late on a Friday night in late 1983 and catching the premiere on “New York Hot Tracks.” The video is as silly as any video made in 1983 would be, but don’t let that detract from your enjoyment of the song.

Daryl has mentioned the line “we like to be strangers at the party/two rebels in a shell” as indicative of the way he felt in the pop music world around that time. It’s a strange thing for such a popular musician to say, but if you think about it, who else sounded like Hall & Oates at that time? If you compare H2O to the rest of the acts that were huge on radio in the early ’80s (Christopher Cross? Lionel Richie? Olivia Newton-John?) they was an edginess that separated them from the pack a little. So, rebels, they are.

¹Other things I wish I would’ve been able to experience if I was 10-15 years older: The Paradise Garage, Michael Jackson on tour, ’70s soul train.

²More proof that 1983 Michael Jackson was unstoppable.

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