Friday, the radio ads said there were still tickets available and I was a bit surprised. I thought, "What do folks know that is keeping them away from this show?" As it turns out, the people who didn't come missed out on a helluva show. These guys who practically defined 70's power-pop (albeit from two different directions) reached back to their Philly roots, found their common ground and made a loud soulful statement to a couple thousand very happy people.
I had seats dead center, 16th row, perfect for a view of both the stage and the monitors.
Todd started at 7:55 with just a guitar and a spotlight. After nice renditions of LOCM and Cliche that sounded very sweet on a terrific sound system, he joked, "enough of this seat findin' music" and brought out the H&O band for the rest of the set. I figured most of the crowd was there for H&O and probably wouldn't get off on tunes like Buffalo Grass, but they did. He was getting huge hands and it was obvious it was pumping him up (he even joked that he didn't want to peak too early). That was the first time I'd heard Hello It's Me in waltz time, and it was a knockout. The sax player really cooked (and, as it turned out, that was a taste of things to come). Todd finished with a spirited Love is the Answer, and a raucous Rock Love (marred only for a moment when he realized that his guitar wasn't plugged in for the first few notes of the solo). I gotta say I was disappointed that his set barely topped 45 minutes. But I had no idea what was coming later.
What can I say about H&O? I was never a huge fan, but I gotta give 'em credit. They put on a tight show, and Darryl (what is he, about 55?) can still hit every high note. Again, the sax player really shined, especially on solos during Maneater and I Can't Go For That.
I knew something was up when I saw the crew bring out another mic stand for the encore. When the lights came back up, there was Todd on the left, Hall in the center and Oates on the left. And what an absolutely perfect selection to open the encore - Wait For Me! One of H&O's less played hits, but it always sounded like it could have been a Todd song and was written for Darryl's lower range (in other words, it laid great for Todd's vocals!)
The rest of the encore featured Darryl and Todd trading lead vocals in and out of each other's hits -- Can we still be Friends (with Todd on keyboard), Rich Girl, I saw the Light, and Kiss on my List; plus Todd tearing off some screaming guitar licks. The crowd was really eating this up, and the final encore -- a cover of Hot Fun in The Summertime --was a killer close for the show.
If there every really was any bad blood between Todd and H&O over the War Babies album, that must have been buried a long time ago. It's obvious these guys really get along and together they make a heck of a double bill. An outstanding show all the way around.