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It was a tale of two bands Thursday night at the Xfinity Center – spiritual peers, although a generation apart in age. That didn’t matter one bit to fans as Train and Hall & Oates brought especially good vibes to Mansfield, warming the cool June evening with hits big and small. It’s not every day that you see an audience equally enthralled with dual headliners.
First up, the Grammy winning group Train, who charmed with a full set of hits including crowd pleasers like “Call Me Sir,” “Hey, Soul Sister and “Drops of Jupiter.” They rocked hard on “Black Dog,” from 2016’s Train Does Led Zeppelin II, an album that covered the complete Zep classic.
Recognizing the locale, (with a shout out to Boston and Providence), lead singer Pat Monahan provided a special moment with a powerful cover of Aerosmith’s classic “Dream On.” It was a commendable version, with Monahan’s falsetto screech equally Steven Tyler levels.
The band slowed things down for the enchanting ballads “When I Look to the Sky,” and “Marry Me.” Throughout the set, it was clear Monahan and the band know how to connect with their audience, much like the stars who followed…
Daryl Hall and John Oates
Daryl Hall and John Oates have been making hits for over 40 years. Their show was a career retrospective which included solid versions of their hits along a few lesser known tunes.
Looking and acting much younger than their 70+ years, the duo opened with a crowd pleasing “Maneater” which got the crowd on its feet, where they stayed most of the night.
Early set highlights included 1983’s “Say it Isn’t So” and the Righteous Brothers classic “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling,” a song that reaffirms their legacy in the pantheon of great singing duos along with the likes of the Everly Brothers, Simon & Garfunkel and the Indigo Girls.
Hall sat down at the keyboards for a slow burning “Sarah Smile,” a reminder of the duo’s R&B roots. A rousing version of “She’s Gone” followed, with the audience joining the choral crescendo.
Monahan returned to the stage joining Hall and Oates for a trio of songs including “Philly Forget Me Not.” Monahan trading lines with Hall was a highlight on this new tune that has that classic Hall and Oates sound, updated for the 21st century. They followed with “Wait for Me” and the Train hit “Calling All Angels,” this time with Hall taking a few of Monahan’s lines.
The set closed with an energized version of “Kiss on My List” which segued into “Private Eyes.” The predictable encores “Rich Girl” and “You Make My Dreams Come True” were more than adequate, providing a pleasing finish to an outstanding night of music.
Both Hall and Oates have been busy in recent years doing what they love – Hall with his popular web series “Live From Daryl’s House,” where he regularly welcomes an assortment of top artists into his home studio. Meanwhile, Oates has been recording roots albums including the excellent Arkansas (reviewed here), released earlier this year. When they come together, however, it’s generally about past success.
Sticking mainly with hits isn’t a bad thing, as Oates noted in a recent AP interview.
“I have great respect for being a professional. When you’re a professional, you do your job. Luckily for us, and obviously for the fans, the music has stood the test of time… the songs sound good and they’re fun to play.”
Indeed, that sentiment best summarizes the Hall and Oates concert experience. It’s one I’d recommend any day.
Check out our photo gallery below. (Photos: Ken Abrams)