From the Pit to the Crowd: Hall & Oates with Tears For Fears and Allen Stone

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Friday, June 9th was indeed a special day for me. It would be my first time both seeing and photographing Daryl Hall and John Oates and Tears For Fears. I grew up listening to both artists on the radio and through my music library many times over yet never had the opportunity to see them before. Needless to say I was very excited when I was presented with the opportunity to review this show. I arrived at the media entrance promptly at 6:30 PM to meet the Amway Center’s venue manager. I met up with other photographers covering the show and got my gear ready. At 6:45 PM we were led out to the arena floor as we were shooting from the soundboard. At 6:50 PM, Allen Stone came onto the Amway Center stage.

Allen is an R&B singer from Washington state who describes himself on his website as a “hippie with a soul”. Allen has released three albums to date and is along on the tour to provide opening support. He came out with his two microphones covered in red and white flowers, carrying a white electric guitar, and wearing a yellow ski cap.  He started off singing a slower and soulful version of Aretha Franklin’s “I Say A Little Prayer”. Allen indeed has a soulful voice and it clearly carried over the speakers and sung from his heart.

He followed up with “Love” from his 2015 album ‘Radius’. Allen’s R&B voice is strong and definitely has soul. As a one man show that night, he was putting on a solid performance for the crowd. He followed up with a cover of “Can’t Feel My Face” by The Weeknd and included a little bit of “Tyrone” by Erykah Badu. He finished up with “Upside” also from ‘Radius’. Once he was done he said bid the crowd a good night as he walked off to applause.

We stayed out by the soundboard as Tears For Fears would be coming up next. The British group founded by Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith back in 1981. And though they haven’t had a new album out since 2004, 13 years later the Amway Center was near capacity to see this duo. When the lights dimmed down the crowd began to cheer. Over the speakers a recorded version of Lorde’s “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” started to play the chorus. On stage you could see shadows of people walking across the stage. Once the chorus ended, those infamous first notes of “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” began, the lights popped on, and the crowd roared. Curt Smith took the crowd through the song with the crowd singing back every word. Tears For Fears already captured the crowd and they were just getting started.

They followed it with “Secret World” from their 2004 album ‘Everybody Loves A Happy Ending’ Immediately following that they performed one of my favorite songs by them, “Sowing The Seeds Of Love” from ‘The Seeds Of Love’. The song was recorded very similar to the style of The Beatles and to me paid a very nice homage to their style of music. The light show was a fabulous display to go along with this song and Tears For Fears hit it note for note perfectly. After they were done I ran my camera back to the media room and headed out to my seat to enjoy the rest of their set.

By the time I made it to my seat they had already performed “Advice For The Young At Heart” and “Everybody Loves a Happy Ending”. Curt spoke to the crowd saying they were going to go back again to their first album ‘The Hurting’ and perform one of his favorite songs Roland wrote called “Change”. It’s very synth pop 80s song that the majority of the crowd remembered and the hardcore Tears For Fears fans definitely appreciated. I could see from my seat a group of people at the front dancing and singing along to the song. They followed up with “Mad World” and “Memories Fade”, both from ‘The Hurting’.

The band took an unexpected turn when Roland was standing in a solo spotlight and performed a cover of Radiohead’s “Creep”. For the number of times I’ve heard this song performed by other artists, this version was very well done. It was soft and haunting and perfectly placed. The crowd definitely appreciated the performance. They continued with “Pale Shelter” and “Break It Down Again”. They closed of the set to the crowd singing with them at the top of their lungs “Head Over Heels” from the album ‘Songs From The Big Chair’.

They walked off the stage waving to the crowd. The crowd yelled and cheered wanting more. There was something missing to finish off such a great set that evening. It didn’t take long for Tears For Fears to come back out and give the crowd what everyone wanted and needed to hear, “Shout, shout, let it all out…” That’s all it took to see the crowd go into a frenzy of appreciation. And it was a picture perfect performance. Tears For Fears thanked the Orlando crowd and made their way off stage. And to think we still had Hall and Oates to come.

I headed back to the media room to pick up my camera and the photographers headed back to the soundboard. The anticipation had the crowd buzzing with excitement. Daryl Hall and John Oates, commonly called Hall & Oates, originally met in Philadelphia back in 1967. It wouldn’t be until 1972 when they would release their first album and not until 1976 with their first hit single on the Billboard charts with “Sara Smile”. Since then they’ve had six number 1 singles, 34 singles on the US Billboard Top 100, seven certified platinum albums, and six certified gold albums. This duo over 40 years sold over 40 million records and here they were tonight to perform for the Orlando crowd.

When the lights dimmed the first notes of “Family Man” from ‘H2O’, a cover of Mike Oldfield’s song, the crowd cheered louder than before. The lights came on and Daryl Hall and John Oates, all smiles, started off their set. As I was photographing and listening to them perform, they sounded just as good as they did on their recordings. I smiled to myself for this opportunity and already knowing this was going to be a phenomenal show. The followed up with “Maneater” also from ‘H2O’. The crowd swayed and sang along. The photographers got a real treat when John Oates and Charles DeGant, their saxophone and keyboardist since 1976, stepped out and played side by side during the sax solo in “Maneater”. The two of them fist bumping brought a smile to the crowd.

They followed up with “Out of Touch” from ‘Big Bam Boom’. The crowd was definitely into it and Charles on the keyboard gave me chills for each note I knew by heart. The crowd roared at the end and the photographers were done for the night. We headed back to the media room to pick up our bags. Since I had a ticket to see the remainder of the show I ran my gear back to my car and then headed back into the Amway Center and to my seat. I had missed “Did It In A Minute”, “Say It Isn’t So”, “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'”, a cover of The Righteous Brothers song, and “One On One” from ‘H2O’.

They dug deep back into their catalog with “She’s Gone” from their 1973 album ‘Abandoned Luncheonette’. Afterwards, Daryl made his way over to a grand piano on stage, which he said was brand new and brought for everyone that evening. The crowd applauded in response. John and Daryl joked around on stage with each other with John making a comment about not sharing personal stuff on stage. Daryl responded saying the arena was one big living room with 20,000 people of their closest friends. They continued their set with one of my favorite songs, “Sara Smile”, from the self titled album ‘Daryl Hall & John Oates’. Daryl playing it out on the piano was beautiful and vocally still maintained his amazing falsetto.

“Wait For Me” from ‘X-Static’ was next but the follow up song was a true treat. Daryl stated this next one was one of his favorite John songs as John performed on lead vocals for “Is It A Star” from the ‘Warbabies’ album. Daryl stayed on the grand piano during the performance. Through all the songs they could have chosen, I appreciated that they performed something different. They closed out their set with “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)” from the ‘Private Eyes’ album. Of course, they returned to the stage for an encore. The did four songs that included “Rich Girl”, “Kiss on My List”, “Private Eyes” and “You Make My Dreams”.

Hall & Oates, Tears For Fears, and Allen Stone all put on phenomenal performances for the Amway Center that night. The crowd loved and adored all the artists. It was a memorable night of wonderful music, laughter, and fun. I’m 100% certain that everyone is hoping they return to Orlando, FL for a repeat performance very soon.