There's nothing quite like a concert in the summer, when the days are long and lazy, made for tailgating at arena shows and downing ice-cold beers as an antidote to the beaming, scorching sun.
Or at least that's what Tears for Fears and Daryl Hall & John Oates probably had in mind when they booked a June show in Miami. Instead, their sunny South Florida tour getaway turned out to be a literal wash, with record torrential rain causing nightmare traffic delays and soaked crowds rushing anxiously for shelter inside the American Airlines Arena.
As shivering revelers strolled in late, small pockets of empty seats were the only indication that something was amiss, but those who braved the storm didn't let the outdoor gloom dampen their mood. They treated Tears for Fears with the level of enthusiasm fans usually save for the headliner. Their vote of confidence was well placed: Tears for Fears played an inspired set that, if anything, raised the stakes for Hall & Oates.
Singer Curt Smith took a moment to lament the rain: "You would think being English, I'd be used to it," he joked. Nevertheless, he and Roland Orzabal enthusiastically ran through beloved tracks such as "Sowing the Seeds of Love," "Advice for the Young at Heart," and "Mad World." "Head Over Heels" received the most raucous reaction of the set. Cell phones shot up to capture the stage's purple glow. One man FaceTimed a woman who sang along from her living room.
Tears for Fears proved they are not at all just another New Wave nostalgia synth act. At times their sound rattled with the thunderous force of some of Pink Floyd's heaviest records, and their iconic riffs rung out like organs in a church hymnal.
Their influence on generations of alternative rock and electronic artists was apparent, and they acknowledged that legacy with a breathtaking cover of Radiohead's "Creep." The early Radiohead track is a throwaway for the band a quarter-century into an illustrious career, but Tears for Fears restored its poignancy under the brooding stewardship of Orzabal.
The band closed the encore with a powerful "Shout," the hit serving as a prelude to the onslaught of undying pop hits that would follow from Hall & Oates.
It's a testament to Hall & Oates' confidence in their catalog that they opened with "Family Man" and quickly followed it with the smash "Maneater." Any other band would have saved those two fan favorites for later in the set, but Hall & Oates knew that with one of the most envied back catalogs in contemporary music, they'd have plenty more from which to draw.
They took their time to run through some of their personal favorites as well, covering the Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" early in the set. The Righteous Brothers, and that song in particular, are the spiritual godfathers of Hall & Oates's sound. John Oates proudly owned the band's proclivity for the sentimental.
It is exactly that sentimentality that has granted Hall & Oates the power to compose universally understood (and even sometimes begrudgingly beloved) songs such as "Your Kiss" and "I Can't Go for That," both of which they played last night to rapturous applause. They closed their first set with an ten-minute-plus, sax-laden psych jam of the latter before returning to the stage for a three-song encore.
At times, the duo, and Daryl Hall in particular, took the time to soak in the audience's admiration as the house lights shone on the crowd. Hall teased song riffs, melodies, and lyrics before playing full-throated renditions. He closed his eyes behind his clear shades and riffed on the piano like the band leader of any other bar blues band. It almost seemed he was playing the show first and foremost for himself, but when he launched into the night's closer and belted out, "You make my dreams come true," it was clear he was singing to every single person who's been dancing in the aisles at Hall & Oates' shows for the past four decades.
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