Hall & Oates have been called the most successful duo of the rock era by Billboard magazine. With a career spanning more than 40 years, seven platinum albums and six number one singles, it's easy to see why. Their success has enabled them to play many places but, until 2014, they had never played Dublin, Ireland. That changed on July 15, 2014, when the duo performed at the Olympia Theatre. The performance was filmed and makes up the Blu-ray Daryl Hall and John Oates - Live in Dublin. While this review is for the Blu-ray, the DVD edition also includes a two-CD set of the same performance.
The show opens with a spirited "Maneater." From the opening notes of the song's signature bass line, the crowd is all in, singing along throughout. Saxophonist Charlie DeChant and John Oates trade licks on sax and guitar respectively while Daryl Hall gives a strong vocal here and throughout the performance. For a man pushing 70, Hall has lost little of his charismatic voice and still pretty much sounds like the records.
While known more for their pop hits, songs such as "Out Of Touch" and "Family Man" are given more of a rock presentation without losing any of their melodic elements. Guitarist Shane Theriot gives a short, but tasteful, lead on the latter. Hall and Oates' band is a crack outfit, both musically and vocally, easily equaling and often bettering the studio versions of these classic tracks.
The group offers up a pair of laid back 70s soul gems in "She's Gone" and "Sara Smile." The former includes dual soulful vocals from both Hall and Oates while the latter gets a big reaction from the capacity crowd and showcases a mellow lead guitar from Oates. Hall takes to the keyboard for an extended vocal ad-lib before launching into a funky "I Can't Go For That." The crowd eats it up, singing along to every word.
The show closes with two pop gems in "Kiss On My List" and "Private Eyes." Both are killer renditions and really showcase the pair's melodic chops. One forgets how many hits Hall and Oates have had until looking upon their set lists.
The Blu-ray is presented in 1080p High Definition 16:9 and looks great. Audio options include DTS Master Audio and LPCM Stereo. An interview with Hall and Oates is included as a bonus feature.
After 40-plus years of delivering their own pop and blue-eyed soul, Hall and Oates are as strong as ever. Live in Dublin showcases a group that clearly loves what it does and it shows in the performances and in the audience's response.