Hall & Oates and Tears for Fears Deliver Crowd-Pleasing Sets as They Revisit Their Hits at the Q

Concert Review

click to enlarge SCOTT SANDBERG
Scott Sandberg
Toward the end of last night’s 100-minute concert at Quicken Loans Arena, Hall & Oates singer-guitarist Daryl Hall appeared taken aback by the crowd’s enthusiastic response to the Hall of Fame act’s performance. “This is fucking awesome,” he said, admitting he just didn’t know what else to say.

Earlier in the set, Hall endeared himself to the audience that filled about three quarters of the arena as he said he recognized Cleveland as a great rock 'n’ roll town. “There’s no bullshitting that,” he said, adding that Clevelanders just "get it."

As was the case when the band played a Rock Hall fundraiser at Public Hall three years ago, the group continues to sound sharp and play with a youthfulness that belies the age of Hall and his singing and songwriter partner John Oates. Hall just turned 70, and Oates, who appears today at 1 p.m. at the Rock Hall for a performance and book signing, is only a year behind him. You can see a slideshow of photos from the concert here.

The guys began their set with “Family Man,” a tune that benefited from some snarling electric guitars that made it sound more like a garage rock number than the blue-eyed soul number that it is. A bit of woozy saxophone kicked off “Maneater,” and Hall and Oates effectively harmonized on the gentle “Out of Time.”

Hall introduced “You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'” as “one of the great rock 'n' roll songs of all time,” and the duo did the tune justice, punctuating the Righteous Brothers' song with a lengthy song-ending jam. Hall talked about how “She’s Gone,” a hit from 1973's Abandoned Luncheonette, brought the band out of Philadelphia and "into the world," and he sang the tune like he still really meant it.

“Sara Smile” concluded with a rigorous blues jam that earned an ovation from the audience. While the New Age-y “Is It a Star,” a deep track from the band’s “experimental album,” War Babies, fell flat, the band got back on track with “I Can't Go For That (No Can Do),” which featured a funky jam at its conclusion. The encore included hits such as “Rich Girl” and “Kiss on My List,” classic tracks that the duo and its five-piece backing band delivered with real gusto.

Openers Tears for Fears preceeded Hall & Oates with a 75-minute set stocked with its hits from the '80s. The British synth-pop duo began with “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” a pop anthem that featured an effectively brittle guitar solo, and then proceeded to play tunes such as the Beatles-like “Sowing the Seeds of Love,” “Change” and the moody “Pale Shelter.” The guys clearly did their homework before coming to town — they made references to eating at Town Hall and alluded to the Cavs blowout win over the Celtics.

Their rendition of the Radiohead song “Creep” got a good response from the audience even though it didn’t really bring anything new to the song as the band stayed faithful to the original. For the one-song encore, it delivered its massive hit “Shout” a tune that started with flinty synths and heavy percussion before accelerating into a righteous sing-a-long.

Barefooted singer-songwriter Allen Stone began the show with a set that was so brief that it concluded at 7:04 p.m., at which point many fans were still making their way to their seats for the 7 p.m. concert. Still, his soulful voice carried well in the cavernous Q despite the fact that he played without the support of a backing band and despite the fact that he admitted to being "the most nervous" he has ever been.

About The Author

Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected]
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