Thursday 18 July 2019

Gig review: princes of plastic pop Daryl Hall and John Oates at Dublin's Iveagh Gardens

Duo were always far deeper than their carefree image suggested, four stars

John Oates and Daryl Hall (AP)
John Oates and Daryl Hall (AP)

Ed Power

Big hits, big hair, big moustaches. Daryl Hall and John Oates seemed for decades doomed to haunt pop’s byways as the ultimate guilty pleasure.

But lately, and not before time, their immaculate soft rock has been rehabilitated. They were certainly full value for their status as Eighties chart mavericks as they opened a short Irish tour amid the sunny splendour of Dublin’s Iveagh Gardens.

As fans would expect of a Hall and Oates show, the performance was slick, sparkling and slathered in saxophone.

It was also crammed with hits. Maneater remains one of the best anti-love songs ever, its chorus that spiralling towards the aching blue skies over the city centre.

Just as punchy was Out of Touch, which boogied its way towards a sizzlingly snarky hook that made you pine for the days pop stars could be cruel and catchy in the same heartbeat.

On the weekend Stranger Things 3 was released the sell-out audience clearly appreciated the super-sized serving of nostalgia. Hall and Oates, flanked by a band that obviously included a sax player wearing a snake-skin jacket, were visibly having a blast too.

One surprise was a cover of the Righteous Brothers’ You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling, a showcase in Hall’s sturdy falsetto.

The loudest cheer inevitably was for I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do) – another gloriously passive-aggressive nugget from the yacht rock annals. The tune shimmered in the sun but there was a glimmer of menace in its hard-punching lyrics. It was a reminder that behind the mullets and the cheesy MTV videos, these princes of plastic pop were always far deeper than their carefree image suggested.

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