I can remember spending my 8thbirthday in my basement, watching Hall&Oates Live At The Apollo as with my grandpa, my gerbil, Sir Floss A Lot, and my imaginary friend Pete Rose Jr.
The night began with Daryl Hall & John Oates granting the crowd their presence. The audience was mixed with 20 year old Afro Americans waiting for Amateur Night at Showtime at the Apollo and 40 year old housewives addicted to the mustached musketeers. Their out of date hair blew in the air conditioned wind as Sir Floss A Lot awoke from his nap and rattled against his cage, awed at what was unfolding on the silver screen.
The dynamic duo continued to bellow out hit after hit. They started with Man eater. I said that they would start with Private Eyes, so I owed Pete 50 cents (this is back in 1987, when 50 cents was worth 50 bucks). Somehow I knew Pete would bet it later like his father did. I wasn't disappointed, but that's an entirely different story. Man eater flowed from their lips like a Iraqi oil river spitting out dead fish after dead fish. The dead fish in this case were ogling fans.
It was relentless, I Will Be Around, Rich Girl, Baby Go Back, the tunes danced through my esophagus, collapsed my cell membrane, and shuffled into my head. Grandpa joined in and we slow danced through You've Lost That Loving Feeling. Hall & Oates were just getting started.
The Apollo was the perfect space for the composed composers. Spacious, yet confined. The spotlight made them look like glorious angels who brought news of Jesus to Mary in soft, harmonious ballads. The fans were captivated.
Not to mention, the stagehands were on the top of their game too. Water bottles and necessary, minor wardrobe changes occurred in the snap of a sweaty, eager to be dazzled with sound finger. They lurked on the side of the arena stage, they crouched with their toes tipped up off the ground.
But then the Temptations barged in on the fun. Sir Floss A lot became boisterous and uncontrollable. The two bands just weren't in the same league, you could see the rainbow colored bad vibes coming from Daryl's member's only jacket. We all got a good laugh when mom came down with a fruit snack platter, and coughed Yoko when a close up of Eddie Kendrick was shown. Soon the owl like "soul" band was escorted off stage by boos, and the real soul started coming back, via the hairy, handsome heart throbs.
The concert was in a daze, as Daryl and John bulldozed past the crowds' expectations song after song. The mood was an amazement collaborated with a surreal sense of wonder. It was like a trance on the crowd when Kiss On My List was hummed throughout the arena, and into my television set. It was a shock how the camera men could due their jobs and not just drop their jaws at history unfolding.
Before you could say "masterpiece" the 2 hour long performance was over. Private Eyes lead everyone off into a pensive dream into the world of perfect. The credits rolled and the fans spewed into the parking lot, trying to remember if they were in the Red F section or the Blue D section. Both were located on the second floor and it was quite confusing.
Grandpa called me to bed and from there I could only look back at the historic collage of ballads and upbeat drum solos. Pete Jr. claimed Carl Douglas' Dance The Kung Fu was better than the performance of Man eater, but I had to politely disagree. We did agree that Douglas' Kung Fu Fighting was very over rated.
Here's my analysis.
Both were in a sensational vocal range the whole night. I admit, it is not that hard to adjust to the same song 24 times in a row, especially when your voice is monotone, but Hall & Oates seemed more relaxed than usual.
When the Temptations joined in I was a little upset. They couldn't keep up with the fast paced style of the handsome twosome, and got lost in the hairspray fumed shuffle. For the re-opening of the Apollo, they AT LEAST could have got someone with more prestige to back up Hall & Oates like Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Thomas Dolby or someone so acclaimed as Carl Douglas.
My biggest complaint was the run time. Frankly, 2 hours is not a long enough time for John Oates to show off his soulful side. The only real dancing we got out of him was when he moved one step to the left and then one to the right a repeated amount of times during Rich Girl. If you're going to let these to cats loose, give them at LEAST 240 minutes. Hopefully this issue will be dealt with the next time the Apollo closes and re opens.
All the negatives set aside, I choose to look at this as the greatest live performance in the history of television. Elvis had the dance moves on Ed Sullivan, but lacked the smooth, sultry, high pitched squeal of Daryl Hall. The Beatles on Ed Sullivan had the catchy tunes but lacked the side steps of and over bearing presence of John Oates. Hall & Oates were able to mold all the perfect elements of a great band together on one winter night in the projects of up town Brooklyn.
Time to wrap up.
Looking back, these corduroy clad crusaders left an important impression on my childhood. The Live At The Apollo show was only a showcase for the work they have done ever since their first record was spun. Whether it be at the Apollo or at Adam Melschowitz' bar mitzvah on May 27, 2002, Hall & Oates rock hard during any condition.
VERDICT **** out of ****
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