Live Review: Hall and Oates // SSE Arena, Wembley

Hall and Oates are huge, they’re not exactly behemoths of the music industry, but they’re members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and they would not let you forget it. If Hall and Oates could sway your opinion on them even slightly they tried to do it, introducing themselves (with some pretty swish graphics) as basically one of the best bands of all time. Look, we all love a bit of Hall and Oates from time to time, but one of the best artists of all time? Ambitious statement.

…Ambitious statement for two old men on stage performing a pretty okay set and just kind of standing there whilst singing.

Hall and Oates didn’t exactly blow my mind in terms of an incredible gig. I’ve been to concerts knowing less songs and had a better time. 

Hall seemed to be the one with any sort of charisma and stage power, almost like having John Oates there was a tiny man sized stain on his set (talking of, I feel like they must have replaced him because he looks like a completely different person?) There was a weird imbalance of who was talking when, almost like Hall had to give permission to Oates to speak. On top of this they played deep cuts as if anyone would care (sorry to be harsh but like, Hall and Oates deep cuts??? Really??) After declaring they were going to play a deep cut there was almost no cheering and if they were reading the room that would’ve been a clear sign for “a cover would go quite nicely in here”.

I don’t like comparing different gigs but, if I’m honest, I had a better time at a Rick Astley concert. Rick understood his audience and how they aren’t obsessed teenagers anymore- Hall and Oates gave a slightly full-of-themselves pretentious energy, which is fine, if you’re the Rolling Stones.

One thing that particularly left me gobsmacked was watching as Hall and Oates read the lyrics off screens, which is fine of course, and then seeing Hall completely butcher Rich Girl. The lyrics were literally scrolling past in front of him, how hard is it to remember how your song goes? The song was towards the end of the set too, proving it ludicrous that Hall could fuck up one of his bands iconic songs so badly. After you play it for the 200th time live, maybe you work out how it goes?

One thing that I did genuinely enjoy was the mix of the music- the backing musicians seemed to be having a good time and played a flawless set of music and the way it projected out through the speakers was great. Hall and Oates also still have great voices after all this time, which is nice to see, and they’re doing some cool projects. Watching Daryl’s House on youtube used to be one of my favourite things, surprisingly, after he collaborated with Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy, that being my genuine first knowledge of who Hall and Oates are.

I think that Hall and Oates know how to write good songs. They have really fun and funky tracks, for old white men, and when everyone was into the song they were playing I had a really good time. But one things for sure, its time for all those old white men who used to rule music to update their setlists, maybe take a leaf from Rick Astley’s book and try to engage your audience rather than wanking off your own self esteem.

Author avatar
Chloe Spinks

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