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October 23rd, 2009

INTERVIEW: Hall & Oates’ John Oates On Playing The Spectrum Tonight

john oates

Earlier this morning we spoke for a few minutes with the one and only John Oates, who’ll join his good pal Daryl tonight for Hall & Oates‘ big sold-out show at the Spectrum with the Hooters, Todd Rundgren, and the Soul Survivors:

So, tonight’s show — are you nervous? Excited?
I think I’m way past the jitters. Excited is definitely a better word. It’s gonna be a great show – the Hooters and Todd, we all go way back, you know, and it’s gonna be fun. We’re gonna do a big group encore and we’re looking forward to that, we’ll do a bunch of classic Philly songs. You know, it’s a building with a lot of history, it made a huge imprint on Philadelphia on so many levels, not only entertainment but sports, of course. It’s a historical building and hey, I guess its time has come. That’s how the world goes. I’m not that nostalgic in terms of that, but it’s gonna be a lot of fun to go out with a bang.

Do you remember what it was like the first time you’d gone to the Spectrum as a fan? You’d probably already been to bigger places to see shows, I guess.
Actually, no. That’s an interesting question because no, I had not. I had never been to Madison Square Garden or anything, that was really the first large venue I ever went to. When it comes to an arena-style venue, that was definitely the first for me. It’s kind of intimidating in terms of the size but it’s funny to look at it now, how small it is compared to the Wachovia Center. It really is amazing what has happened, the scale of things, how the world has changed,. But we played there many times. I cant remember if it’s five or six times we played there, and of course it’s Philadelphia, so we always had incredible shows there.

I know it’s probably a cheesy notion, but when you’re playing there, or you’re even backstage, do you sorta feel the ghosts of all the amazing performers who’ve played there before — the Zeppelins and the Hendrixes and James Brown and so on?
Not in the day, but I think tonight, I think there’s a really good chance that will happen. Because when we’re onstage with Todd and the Hooters, and the Soul Survivors…the Soul Survivors, you talk about full circles! I was actually on the same label as them, before I met Daryl. Did you get the box set [Do What You Want, Be What You Are]?

Not yet.
When you get the box set you’re gonna hear…the first two songs that you hear are the songs that Daryl and I did as teenagers, before we met each other. And the song I did [1966's "I Need Your Love"] was on Crimson Records, which was the label from the Record Museum [record store] on Chestnut Street. The Soul Survivors had “Expressway to Your Heart,” and my record came out, and I think they were pretty much the only two releases ever put out by that label. So definitely tonight is full circle.

It should be great tonight. I also enjoyed the solo show you did last year at the Sellersville Theater, the way you presented the old Hall & Oates songs and told the stories behind them.
Oh, thanks. I’m doing it again at the Lansdale Center for the Performing Arts tomorrow night, and what I do with that show, I try to make distinctly different from what I do with Daryl. It’s fun and I think the audience enjoys that, and it’s definitely a chance for me to perform in a completely different setting. I like that little bit more laid-back, smaller venue kinda thing.

Going from the sold-out Spectrum one day to something like that the next must be bizarre, but then again you guys have played in pretty much every type and size venue over the years, I’d imagine.
Yeah. This week alone I played with Daryl at a club in D.C. on Wednesday night; last night I played in Baltimore at the arena with Brad Paisley and Dierks Bentley in front of 25,000 people; tonight’s the Spectrum; and tomorrow night I sit there with an acoustic guitar in a 200-seat performing arts center. So it’s pretty incredible, it’s a crazy week.

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