“You can leave your shoes off….”
So said Daryl Hall, last night at The Wellmont Theater in Montclair, New Jersey, to his special guest Sharon Jones. That was where Hall kicked off his “Live From Daryl’s House Nu-Soul Revue!” tour, featuring special guests Jones, Allen Stone and Philadelphia’s famous cheesesteak chef, Tony Luke.
Over the past five years, Hall has filmed hangout/cookout/jam sessions with some of his favorite musicians at his house for his TV show, Live From Daryl’s House. With over 50 episodes under his belt, he decided to take the show on the road with two of his recent guests: the 50-something Jones, an R&B singer whose career has taken off in recent years thanks to a hit single “100 Days, 100 Nights,” and Stone, an up-and-coming singer/songwriter.
It’s fairly rare to see an artist of Hall’s status play a concert that barely addresses his greatest hits. It’s even rarer that the audience goes along for the ride. But Live At Daryl’s House has allowed Hall to successfully reinvent himself: of course, he is still the guy from Hall & Oates but now he’s also the genial host who jams with everyone from Cee-Lo to former members of The Doors. His fans know that Hall is happy to play the hits when he tours with John Oates, but Live At Daryl’s House allows him to stretch out (while still acknowledging his enviable catalog).
Hall led off the show with a couple of songs from his latest solo album, 2011’s Laughing Down Crying. After describing how Live At Daryl’s House has been the most challenging, fun and rewarding musical experience he’s ever had, he was joined by Allen Stone, a longhaired R&B singer with a folk influence. The singers traded vocals on Stone’s songs, including “Unaware,” with Hall veering between enthused fan and proud mentor. Hall is, in fact, well aware that putting a lesser known artist on his show makes an impact on their career, and his pride in helping out younger singer/songwriters is obvious.
After Stone left the stage Hall was joined by Sharon Jones. Jones was a bit more familiar to the audience: she’s a New York based artist, and her first song “100 Days, 100 Nights” got the audience out of their seats. Her high-energy performance won over new fans as well.
Those who watch Live At Daryl’s House (you can check out every episode on his website) know that food is a big part of his show. With that in mind, he had Chef Tony Luke with him. While Luke wasn’t able to cook for the audience, there was a pre-recorded segment, from Hall’s house, where he demonstrated how to cook his infamous cheese steaks. (At the end of the show, Luke himself greeted the audience at the venue’s exit with coupons for his cheesesteaks, now available at supermarkets).
Towards the end of the show, Daryl finally broke out some of his huge Hall & Oates hits. Jones’ vocals brought new dimensions to “Every Time You Go Away” while both she and Stone looked like the luckiest and happiest singers in Jersey when joining Hall for “I Cant Go For That (No Can Do)” and “You Make My Dreams.”
The concert didn’t seem quite as loose as the Live At Daryl’s House program, most likely because of the presence of a large audience. But Hall had his usual causal banter going with his band (his guitarist noting that a friend in high school thought the lyrics to his song was “every time you go away, you take a piece of meat with you!”) and his guests. When Jones took her shoe off, and related the story of how she broke her toe on stage a few weeks ago by accidentally kicking a monitor while dancing, Daryl, as mentioned earlier, invited Jones to remain barefoot. And so she did. Which might not be appropriate at every venue. But hey, his house, his rules.
–Brian Ives, CBS Local