When Daryl Hall introduced a song at Staples Center by saying, “Sometimes life is about contrast,” he also could have been referring to the tour matchup with Tears for Fears. Here you had two acts that originated on opposite shores (America, England), started in different decades (‘70s, ‘80s) and first gained attention via separate radio formats (pop, modern rock) before crossing over into other genres.
Yet they ended up being a perfect match in Los Angeles. Both bands were rousingly received by concertgoers (though younger leaning TFF enthusiasts stood more often). Despite being postponed from an earlier date in July, the venue still looked full. Between stage changeovers, “Live from Daryl’s House” series highlights and John Oates solo videos were played on the venue screens.
In Oates’ highly recommended memoir “Change of Seasons,” which came out last spring, he writes that the duo’s six-piece band “does subtle things within the music,” “keeps us hungry to push things further” and helps “breathe new life into the songs.” A prime example was “Family Man.” It launched the engaging, hit-laden 90-minute set as lead guitarist Shane Theriot did an impressive solo (among several throughout the evening) into the sinewy groove.
A few shimmering guitar notes immediately drew loud cheers for “Say it Isn’t So.” Following laid-back takes on “Maneater” and the Righteous Brothers’ cover “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’,” romantic ballad “One on One” featured lush backing vocals by Oates and the others.
“She’s Gone,” accompanied by the LP cover photo of 1973’s “Abandoned Luncheonette,” was an early highlight on which the duo’s harmonies were smooth as ever. Moving from guitar to black grand piano, Hall seemed more comfortable. He added his trademark soulful accents during “Sara Smile.”
The set’s deep album slot went to ‘Is it a Star,” off 1974’s experimental Todd Rundgren-produced “War Babies.” Though nobody in my vicinity seemed to recognize it, the jazz-meets-prog rock tune was a good change of pace. Hall was obviously having a blast. Then the sumptuous, funky 10-minute workout “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do) saw many people dancing up a storm.
Come encore time, Hall & Oates blitzed through an upbeat “Rich Girl,” “Kiss on My List,” “Private Eyes” and the ubiquitous, but always fun “You Make My Dreams” – the duo’s most streamed song on Spotify (at…