Daryl Hall & John Oates - Rock and Soul Revue a "Love Fest"

Daryl Hall & John Oates

DETROIT - The Rock N Soul Revue, featuring Michael McDonald, Hall & Oates and the Average White Band, is rolling through the U.S. and Europe this Summer, and has become, for my money, THE Soul music show of 2004. Last year Daryl Hall sprang the idea of a tour to Alan Gorrie of AWB and to McDonald, and the result is the current 54-date tour (three 18-city legs) of arguably the three biggest blue-eyed Soul acts of the past 30 years. And as they hit Detroit on a warm late August night, their goal was to create a four hour celebration of Soul music and of one of the world's great Soul music cities.

DETROIT - The Rock N Soul Revue, featuring Michael McDonald, Hall & Oates and the Average White Band, is rolling through the U.S. and Europe this Summer, and has become, for my money, THE Soul music show of 2004. Last year Daryl Hall sprang the idea of a tour to Alan Gorrie of AWB and to McDonald, and the result is the current 54-date tour (three 18-city legs) of arguably the three biggest blue-eyed Soul acts of the past 30 years. And as they hit Detroit on a warm late August night, their goal was to create a four hour celebration of Soul music and of one of the world's great Soul music cities.

The 5-man AWB led off the show, beginning in the bright sunshine of an unusually early 7:00 show start. Group members Alan Gorrie (vocals, bass), Onnie McIntyre (guitar), Freddy Vidgor (saxophone), Brian Dunne (drums) and Klyde Jones (vocals) ran through an excellent 45-minute, 9-song set that featured many of the group's biggest hits ("Pick Up the Pieces," "Cut the Cake," "Person to Person"), some great lesser known cuts ("Cloudy," "Walk On By") and new music from their upcoming Greatest Hits Vol. 2 CD ("In the Beginning"). The band, always known as one of the tightest funk groups around, was in fine form, particularly Vidgor, who did double duty by also playing later in McDonald's band. And Gorrie and Jones both sounded inspired as they alternately handled the lead vocals. There was a portion of the audience that had clearly come specifically to hear AWB (which hadn't appeared in Detroit in several years) and was dancing throughout the set, but by the group's funky final number, "Pick Up the Pieces," the entire audience was on its feet.

McDonald, whose career received a shot in the arm in the past year with his release of Motown, next provided a set that was equally balanced between his past solo and Doobie Brothers hits and material from Motown. His rich, soulful voice has, over the past year, finally received the acclaim it deserves, and his wonderful performance on this evening left little doubt that he is one of the great singers of his generation. Acknowledging that he was in the home of the Motown sound, McDonald paid tribute to the city of Detroit and even brought out two of Detroit's Gospel music royalty, Carvin Winans and Fred Hammond, to accompany him on two of his cuts, including a great closing version of "Takin It To The Streets."

Hall & Oates and their long-standing backup band gave a performance similar to their appearance on last year's Live By Request TV special, with energetic versions of their 70s and 80s hits, but also songs from their great Do It For Love CD and Hall's recent Can't Stop Dreaming solo disc.

The evening's highlight was the finale, with all 3 acts performing together on an All-Star 5-song set that covered Hall & Oates' "Kiss On My List," McDonald's "What a Fool Believes," and "Since I Lost My Baby" and AWB's "Work To Do" before closing with a rousing cover of Sly & the Family Stone's "Hot Fun In the Summertime."

While the crowd was clearly having a great time, it appeared that the artists were enjoying themselves even more, especially the opportunity to together play the great music that each had brought to the party. And the hugs and laughs backstage were even more pronounced than those onstage, as the artists celebrated the evening with each other and with many local Detroit Soul and Gospel artists who had come backstage to say hello and to express their admiration for these influential acts. Amid the joy, though, they acknowledged that their unity and happiness was in stark contrast to much of what was going on in the world. During his set, McDonald implored the audience to pray for peace, and backstage Gorrie told me that the tour was "a love fest in a time of hate."

In the end, the evening was a joyous celebration of what Daryl Hall called "the greatest music in the world -- Soul Music," and of the friendship of three sets of artists who've created some of the most memorable Soul music of the past three decades. Here's hoping that next year we'll see another Rock N Soul Revue.

 

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