Friday night may have been the first time we've ever seen groups of people dancing in the aisles of the Majestic Theatre. Sure, the stately historic downtown venue has seen its share of lively acts take the stage, but there's obviously something extra motivating about the Philly duo Hall & Oates.
That's right; blue eyed soulsters Daryl Hall and John Oates brought with them a six-piece band on Friday to headline 'A Night to Remember,' the hair-down annual charity concert that benefits the poverty-fighting Dallas entity CitySquare. The floor and balconies were full in front of the guys, who performed extended versions of their biggest hits for an hour and a half.
CitySquare's yearly soiree is no stranger to marquee performers -- past headliners have included Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin, Lyle Lovett, Vince Gill and the late B.B. King. Next year's act — announced at Friday's show — will be comedian Jerry Seinfeld. Entertainers of this caliber always seem a bit more generous with their talents and happier to indulge audiences when there's a worthwhile cause involved, and CitySquare for two-and-a-half decades has provided work, housing, food and emotional support to the poverty-stricken. So Friday's stage was perfectly set for the inspired blend of rock, soul and funk to come.
"We're going to play lots for you tonight," Daryl Hall told the crowd as donation envelopes were collected at the ends of the aisles. And while the songs didn't exceed the number you'd hear on, say, a single-disc greatest hits album, most of them were rendered super-size with saxophone jams courtesy of the duo's insanely talented multi-instrumentalist, Charles DeChant.
DeChant nearly stole the show from Hall & Oates several times throughout the performance, stepping out front to blow and vamp during outros and breakdowns on "Say It Isn't So" and the unexpectedly epic "Sara Smile." But the latter song also found Hall moving his hands to match his vocal runs, a showman-like technique normally employed by the great divas.
Otherwise Hall was the picture of cool, with that tuft of blonde hair and those signature indoor sunglasses. As he took on most of the vocal acrobatics of the evening, it was left to Oates to make frequent eye contact with and throw out guitar picks to folks in the crowd, all while providing flawless supporting vocals.
Did we mention the end-of-song jams? Even though '80s smashes "Maneater" and "Out of Touch" received taut, technically impressive treatments, it was the unhurried improvising on other tunes that garnered standing ovations. "I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)" got a little too funky when DeChant pulled out his flute, but several minutes of Hall's ad-libbing at the end took it to another level. Oates joined in to do some call-and-response. Have you ever shouted "No go" at the top of your lungs?
And the encore — well, that's when the ladies around us left their seats and took their rightful dancing spots in the theater's side aisles. With little to no pauses between songs, Hall & Oates and band pumped out "Rich Girl," "You Make My Dreams," "Kiss Is on My List" and "Private Eyes" to end the show.
They wanted a night to remember? They got it.
Out of Touch
Say It Isn't So
You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling
Las Vegas Turnaround
Do What You Want, Be What You Are
I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)
You Make My Dreams
Kiss Is on My List
Find out more about CitySquare here.