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Daryl Hall in Chicago with Todd Rundgren – Marvin and Marvin

| Vicky Sullivan |

Daryl Hall opened his solo tour in Chicago on Friday night. Along with him for the ride is his longtime friend, Todd Rundgren, and the Daryl’s House Band. As a fan of both musicians, I knew I would have to see the show, even if it meant traveling to some cold weather. The show was at the Chicago Auditorium, which is an amazing historic theater that was built in 1889.

Todd opened the show with “Real Man” from his 1975 album, “Initiation,” to a rousing welcome from both his fans and Hall fans. They are not necessarily interchangeable, there are fans of both Daryl and Todd, but there are also Hall & Oates fans and Todd fans individually. Rundgren, dressed in a black sequined jacket, was energetic, working the stage and the audience. Todd’s setlist included “It Wouldn’t Have Made Any Difference” and “I  Saw the Light,” the great rock tune “Black Maria” with Todd on ax solo. All his best pop songs are represented. Rundgren is proficient on guitar as well as vocals. Yes, “Hello, It’s Me” was played, and an audience sing-along ensued. Rundgren, at 73, looks and sounds good, especially finishing his set with his tribute to R&B with the medley of I’m So Proud/Ooh Baby Baby /La La Means I Love You from the 1973, yes 1973, album “A Wizard, A True Star.” A Marvin Gaye cover of “I Want You,” and Todd concludes his set with one of the best  R&B tunes written by Rundgren himself, “The Want of A Nail” Well Done Todd.

The Daryl’s House Band is what keeps this show flowing from one artist to another. Having played with all of Daryl’s various guests over the years, they know how to learn quickly. On lead guitar is Shane Theriot, Klyde Jones on bass, Eliot Lewis on keys, Brian Dunne keeping the beat, Porter Carrol, Jr, on percussion and vocals, and last but not least,, playing with Hall forever is Charlie “Mr. Casual” DeChant with his iconic saxophone.

Daryl Hall

Daryl Hall enters the stage in an olive green jacket and jeans, opening with the 1986 hit “Dreamtime” from his “3 Hearts and the Happy Ending Machine. He hit four of his solo albums cuts in the early part of the show with “Problem With You” from the “Laughing Down Crying” album. The great “Philly Mood” from one of his best solo offerings, “Soul Alone,” “Cab Driver,” a fan favorite for years from “Can’t Stop Dreaming.” Hall was in great voice as he moved to the grand piano for the title track of “Sacred Songs” and “Babs & Babs” from the same album. For this fan, Hall’s cover of the Eurythmics. “Here Comes the Rain Again” is a hauntingly beautiful vocal completely different from the original and one of his best. A lovely version of H&O’s “Sara Smile” concludes his turn at the piano to do a couple of H&O tunes. I know he wrote them, but I would have rather heard more solo tunes like “Love Revelation” from “Soul Alone” or “Someone Like You” from 3 Hearts. I assume he was appealing to the general audience who was not as familiar with his solo work as with H&O. For the encore, Todd came back to the stage for some duets with Daryl’s “Wait for Me,” Todd’s “Can We Still Be Friends” and a cover of the Philly tune by the Soul Survivors, the 1967, “Expressway to Your Heart.” Written by Kenny Gamble, one of Hall’s Philly mentors. Hall and Rundgren are pure magic together.

Hall returns for a second encore of his 1986 song. “What’s Gonna Happen to Us.” As relevant now as then, socially conscious lyrics about life as we know it. Heavy, yes it is, but amazing as he has never played this live in 36 years of the recorded version. He left you thinking and feeling, and isn’t that what music is all about.

Daryl’s show at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville is being recorded for streaming on Mandolin on April 24th for 48 hours. The new album “Before After” is out now. Get info at the website.

Vicky Sullivan Photos

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