Picture this — it’s a warm summer evening and you’re hanging out at the county fair. The sun is setting over the horizon, providing sweet relief from the heat wave that has been infecting the state with sweltering temperatures. You’ve spent the past couple hours wandering through the exhibits and eating various fried foods on sticks. Maybe you even took your chances on the Zipper or Gravitron, just to prove you’re not that much different than the kid you were in Jr. High. You’re surrounded by family and friends as you make your way to the stage.
Hall & Oates are about to perform.
You’re pretty excited because you grew up listening to your father’s Rock ‘n Soul Part 1 album and you’ve never seen the duo perform live. You make your way through the Baby Boomers to get a good spot near the front of the stage –stepping on discarded game tickets, cigarette butts and empty plastic cups in the process. As the last light of day is extinguished behind the stadium seats, Daryl Hall and John Oates take the stage with a 6-piece band. It has cooled down enough that the grandparents in the crowd pull their sweaters out of their day bags, but still warm enough that the hipsters (who are only there because their favorite band just named Hall & Oates as a major influence) are still able to show off their sleeve and neck tattoos. As the band kicks things off with a hit song from 1982, a multi-generational chorus emanates from the fairgrounds. “Watch out boy…she’ll chew you up!“
John Oates has shaved his trademark porn stache in favor of a well groomed goatee, but he still rocks the curls. Daryl Hall has aged quite a bit, but he hides the years behind long blonde hair and big sunglasses. Appearances aside, they sound just like they did when they were rockin’ the airwaves through the 70’s and 80’s. And they are going to use this opportunity to revisit those decades, especially the 70’s, because they remember that particular time more fondly than the 80’s, although the reasons for this preference will not be shared in this family friendly setting.
The main set lasts about an hour and it is jam packed with classics — spanning a career from 1973 – 1984. They know better than to indulge themselves in newer material — the audience is here for the hits. “Say It Isn’t So”, “She’s Gone”, “Out of Touch” and “Sara Smile” all recall a time long past, but with a few modern touches thrown in, this music doesn’t sound dated at all. “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do)” might go on a little long, and the Charles DeChant-led sax jam session might drift a little too far into dentist-office jazz territory, but that just gives you enough time to go grab another cold one before the first encore — an encore that includes two songs you’ve been waiting for — the sing-along “Rich Girl” and “You Make My Dreams Come True”. As you glance behind you at an extremely diverse crowd, you have to wonder if any music being made today will ever appeal to this broad of an audience. Will your splintered generation ever produce music this timeless?
It’s not until the second encore comes to life with “Kiss On My List” that you snap back to reality. You are not enjoying a warm summer evening at the county fair. You are crammed into a corporate event center in the suburbs of Broomfield, Colorado. You can’t really dance or move around, because you are standing on an arena floor that has been littered with unnecessary folding chairs. It took you almost an hour to get through traffic and into the parking garage, only to be rear-ended by the car behind you. You are parked on the 4th level of that garage and getting out of there is going to be hell. You don’t have a cold drink in your hand because by the time you got into the venue, you had already missed the first couple songs. There was no anticipation, you were just thrown into the show and then it was coming to an end and you didn’t feel like you were really able to enjoy yourself. The whole process was a major buzzkill and now you’re walking out during one of your favorite songs. You listen to “Private Eyes” while you walk past the merch booth and through the turnstalls and into the cold winter night.
As you pack into the elevator with the other concert goers, you see disappointment on their faces as well. Not disappointment in the performance (it was exactly as you imagined it would be), but by the venue itself. You can check seeing Hall & Oates off your bucketlist and you are still humming the chorus to “Rich Girl”, but the reality of where you are is a depressing one. You tell yourself, once again, that you will never go to another show at 1stBank Center. And then you get in your car and drive home. It’s only 9:45pm.
Out of Touch
Say It Isn’t So
Method of Modern Love
Alone Too Long
Las Vegas Turnaround
I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do)
You Make My Dreams Come True
Kiss on My List