Huge Rays Crowd take in Hall & Oates at the Trop
Darryl Hall and John Oates. Who would of thought two guys who met backstage at the Adelphi Ballroom back in 1967 would still be cranking out music and singing today. Some might say that time does damage to some of our idols and songsters from our past, but Hall & Oates still bring the hot guitar licks and the high register singing chops to the microphone tonight at Tropicana Field. I heard them do a short diddy on “American Idol “ just this week, but thought maybe someone might have tweaked their vocals a bit.
And I got to say, that even though I was only allowed to take photos for 3 of their songs tonight, I sat outside of Tropicana Field and could still clearly hear their songs just as I did nearly five minute earlier squatting and jockeying for position to take about 200 photos before finally leaving after their third selection. And sure I was a bit bummed, but I also follow the order that the Tampa Bay Rays Communication Department gave me, so off I went, but the halls and the corridors surrounding the seating bowl of the Trop. were ringing to the melodies and guitar strums as I walked out Gate 6 into the warm night air.
It was at that point that I decided I had followed the Rays directive to leave the stadium after the third song selection. But before I exited the stadium, I took a second to cruise my eyes throughout the stands and noticed the assembled huge crowd all either dancing, singing or swaying to the music just as some of us had done in the 1980′s. Weird how these songs that seemed to so modern and catchy were penned more than 40-odd years ago, but still remain not only classic, but relevant even in a new century.
As I left the Trop. through the back entrance at Gate 6, I decided to sit down on the adjacent hill embankment just to the right of the Trop’s loading docks and listen to more of those tunes that shaped my 80′s and also got me a few women by singing the lyrics to them. Here were the ballads and smooth dancing songs of my misspent youth, my 80′s music past revisited as it was being amplified towards the crowd assembled in the Trop. It brought back a few distant lost memories of “ones that got away”, and also brought back a simpler time in my overall life.
These songs now echoing out of the Trop. were the anthems and the tunes that defined my 20′s both as a music lover and as a college student struggling to make ends meet singing in bars on the weekends after football season was over. Brought me instantly back to my days slinging a Moog keyboard around with me and singing some of the same songs now bouncing all around the atmosphere. Some memories might be best left alone, but the ones connected with some of these Hall & Oates songs definitely had me smiling from ear-to-ear.
Songs like “Sara Smiles” that reminded Rays Manager Joe Maddon of the night his daughter Sarah was born which was actually based on Hall’s girlfriend at the time, Sara Allen. And I know more than a few of my friend who took a intense desire to hear “She’s Gone” while we sat either at John’s Pass sipping a few adult beverages after a bad break-up, or an unexpected turn of romantic events. Hall & Oates definitely colored a few tunes in crayon in my comic book of life.
And what relationship back in the 80′s did not have “Kiss on My List” pegged for their relationship. It usually wasn’t until after the whole enchilada began to sour that we pushed the relationship into either “Rich Girl” territory. But then I also remember the first time I ever heard a rendition of the Righteous Brothers “Unchained Melody” it was done by Hall & Oates and made me a fan of their rendition for life. And it still amazing to me that most of these songs are over 35-years old and still could be totally sung today.
But I would be totally absentminded if I did not mention or even acknowledge some of the great tunes that Hall & Oates popped out after 1982 like the upbeat and totally hip “You Make My Dreams” that reached number five on the Billboard charts in July 1980, but is still a hot jam today. Or their soul oriented ballad “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)” or their biggest hit to date, “Maneater” that hit the top of the charts in December 1982 and stayed there four weeks straight.
But I could not get up from my perch sitting there listening to the tunes flow outside of Tropicana Field without staying and listening for the tune I waited all night to hear, the one that speaks to me like a goddess or angel. That song would be “One on One” which had some pretty clever usage of words that could relate to either basketball or a relationship. But that was the Hall & Oates song I played on my personal cassette deck before football games and used as a inspirational song for m
e to get totally hyped for a game.
But how soon we all forget that these two artists met in Philly back in 1967 by accident because of some ruckus outside the Adelphi Ballroom. What if there was not a commotion outside the auditorium that night. We would have probably not been graced with the classic music this duo has penned and scored for not only us, but future generations to enjoy and love too. And how soon do we forget they also were two of the original singers on the first “We Are The World” video and performed on “Live Aid” or outdoors in front of the Statue of Liberty on July 4th 1985 to help with the restoration funding needed to preserve that iconic American symbol.
Hall & Oates is an American classic that set the tones and moods of rock and soul of America’s heartlands and inner cities. Some people might even remember they have a Rays tie before tonight when they sang the National Anthem before rain-shortened Game 5 of the 2008 World Series in Citizen Bank Park in Philadelphia. Even way back in 1984, the Recording Industry of America dubbed the group the most successful duo in the history of recorded music.
High honors for a band that started by accident. And even in 1991, when they released “Starting All Over Again” another generation got to experience the Hall & Oates magic. So I decided to get off the ground and then walk slowly towards First Avenue South and my car, but the bellowing vocals of Hall were still fresh in the air and the bass and rhythm guitar were still pumping through the amplifiers as I got in my car, a block away. I was a great night to rejoice, revisit and of course remember some of those classic 80′s moments that shaped most of us from that era’s future lives. Extremely glad I got to experience this duo’s magical tunes once again.