After wowing the Jazz Festival crowds two years ago with an excellent show The Funk Brothers returned to Montreal to open up for Hall and Oates. The Funk Brothers are a group of R&B session players who have played on more number one hits than The Rolling Stones, Elvis, The Beach Boys and The Beatles combined; these men are icons in the music industry. They were founded in 1959 by Berry Gordy and are the unsung heroes behind many of Motown's biggest hits. The surviving members started getting together again in the 1980s and it was only in the new millennium that their contribution to music was recognized with 2 Grammy Awards. During their 35 minute set, the 13-piece band, comprised of original members Joe Hunter (keyboards), Eddie Willis (guitar), Joe Messina (guitar), Bob Babbitt (bass), Uriel Jones (drums) and new members Allan Slutsky (guitar), Johnny Ingram (vocals), Carla Benson (vocals), played all those familiar Motown hits that raised the Montreal crowd out of their seats, despite a less than perfect sound system, on numerous occasions. They were a great compliment to the blue eyed soul of Hall and Oates.
Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours
Can't Hurry Love
I'm Losin' You
The First To Say Goodbye
Dancing In The Streets
What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?
You're All I Need To Get By
Ain't No Mountain High Enough
After almost one hour delay, explained to be due to technical problems, Daryl Hall and John Oates took the stage to little fanfare and told the near sold-out crowd that they would have to play the show 'unplugged'. Daryl Hall told the crowd that he and Oates had been discussing doing an unplugged tour and that we would be the test audience for it. They both sat on stools with acoustic guitars in their hands and started off the show with a great unplugged version of 'Maneater'. Some of the tunes they played they admitted have never been played before in this type of acoustic setting. We were really privileged to a unique show.
Willing to forgive and forget the long delay, the crowd was in the duo's back pockets from pretty much the opening notes. There were a few standing ovations showered upon the band during the course of their 95 minute set. From the very beginning of the show members of the crowd kept yelling out requests and Hall and Oates would abandon their setlist to play the request or promise to play it later in the set. The technical difficulties made for a very relaxed and interactive show. I do not know what the technical difficulties were, but it did not stop the bass, keyboards and one guitar from being plugged in. As per usual, John Oates was the 'quiet' member of the duo just playing guitar and singing backing vocals for the most part. Daryl Hall did most of the talking to the crowd and moved between guitar and keyboards.
The crowd, for the most part, was made up of 30 and 40 year olds who had grown up with Hall and Oates music. This Philadelphia duo released their first album in 1972 and has been together for 33 years. During the apex of their popularity in the 1980s, you could not turn on a radio station with hearing a Hall and Oates tune. They are the most successful rock n' roll duo ever. As opposed to the sound problems that sometimes hampered The Funk Brothers, the sound was quite good for Hall and Oates and really allowed Daryl Hall to showcase his soulful voice's range. Another unexpected bonus was the beautiful lighting that complimented the simple stage décor quite well. Hall kept saying that it had been a long time since they had been in Montreal and based on the love they were feeling from the crowd it was not going to be as long in between dates next time.
Say It Isn't So
Do It For Love
Me and Mrs. Jones
Las Vegas Turn Around (lead vocals by John Oates)
I'll Be Around
You Are Everything
Do What You Want
I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)
Out of Touch
You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'
Kiss On My List