I am really looking forward to this as I saw Hall and Oates back in the day and it is still up there with one of the best gigs I have been to and there are over 700 to choose from.
Unfortunately, tonight will not be regarded in quite the same esteem. One of the positively surprising aspects I have noticed about the O2 is that despite its size the sound is usually very good. Given the great show that Chris Isaak had just put on with crystal clear sound I am at a loss what happened in the interval.
From the very first notes something wasn’t right. Often it can take a couple of songs for the soundman to make the adjustments of a venue once its filled with people but it was if there hadn’t been any sound check. The vocals were too low in the mix, the sound was muddy, and lacked clarity, there was unintentional feedback throughout, strange clicking noises and a nasty hiss on the quiet moments. The problems were not limited to front of stage as Daryl Hall was keeping remarkable self-restraint as he was beset with problems from the monitors on stage. He spent most songs gesticulating to the stage sound guy to expand the sound, make it punchy and raise the levels. The guitar tech got it in the ear every time he changed guitars.
This distraction couldn’t help but impact his performance. Whilst professional throughout, this must have had an effect. Hall is unbelievably 71 years old and Oates is 69 and both look amazing. Their back catalogue is the songbook of my generation with a plethora of hits throughout the eighties. You all know them. To keep it fresh they had changed the arrangements on some of these which didn’t always work for me and I think some of that is in part to Hall not being able to make some of those notes any more but they compensated with the rest of the band delivering the ensemble harmonies.
To add to the sonic mess on stage there were also a couple of video and lighting glitches which didn’t help. Only when Hall got behind the grand piano did we have some clarity of sound. It’s a real shame as it did take the edge off the night. You can’t fault too much with their personal performance and there were many singalong moments but the lasting memory will be of a show let down by the techies. Still it was nice to hear two of my favourites tunes back to back with ‘She’s Gone’ and ‘Sara’s Smile’ played again.
Till the next time, keep on rockin y’all