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Live Review: Daryl Hall w/ Todd Rundgren @ MGM National Harbor — 4/16/22

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Daryl Hall performs at The Theater at MGM National Harbor on April 16, 2022. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

Daryl Hall finished a rousing performance of his solo hit “Dreamtime.” And from the center of the stage, he looked to his monitors to leap into his second number during his recent DC-area concert performance.

But the monitors were out, and they stayed out a long minute before Daryl took matters into his own hands. He moved slightly to stage left, where a keyboard sat alone, monitors fully functional, and he went off-script for a soulful delivery of “Rich Girl” by Daryl Hall and John Oates.

The bustling Theatre at MGM National Harbor went wild.

The evening of April 16 was bursting with highlights as Daryl, accompanied by Daryl’s House Band, explored his career from popular selections by Hall and Oates to highly regarded collaborations to Daryl’s solo songs. The Daryl’s House Band, of course, take their name from Daryl Hall’s Pawling, New York, nightclub, which in turn hosts the broadcast concert series Live from Daryl’s House — set to resume filming this fall, Daryl confirmed during the show.

Ever good-natured, Daryl took rowdy audience members in hand early in the set. Some dude shouted, “F**k the Flyers!” And Daryl paused to shake his head. “What’s with the boos?” he said. “What are you doing here, fool? You’ve got me and Todd Rundgren! This couldn’t be a more Philadelphia show! What do you want? The O’Jays? I wish it was The O’Jays, too.” There is no soul any more laidback or chill than Daryl.

The lighthearted exchange, and it was indeed lighthearted, served as an odd but effective intro to “I’m in a Philly Mood,” taken from Daryl’s 1993 album Soul Alone. Daryl’s voice remained fine and mellow, and he sang expressively, emoting with his hands and clearly enjoying himself.

Watch Daryl Hall play “I’m in a Philly Mood” live during pandemic lockdowns in 2020 via YouTube:

Daryl’s hands were rarely empty, however, as he played keyboards or took up the guitar for most other songs. His guitar playing shined particularly during “Everytime You Go Away,” a song Daryl wrote for the Hall and Oates album Voices, but which became a big hit when Englishman Paul Young covered in 1985. “He’s a guy who became a friend, and he had a big hit with it, so I was happy about that,” Daryl commented.

In the middle of the set, Daryl presented a few numbers from his first solo album Sacred Songs, which he described as a collaboration with legendary guitarist Robert Fripp. Daryl sang a rollickin’ rendition of the title track, and it was terrific to see and hear the great Charles DeChant play saxophone behind Daryl’s piano as they boogied through the song. Charles of course is a long time bandmember of the Daryl Hall and John Oates band in addition to being in Daryl’s House Band, and you can hear his contribution in the very early and very best Hall and Oates tunes like “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do),” which closed the main set.

In the encore, Daryl played four songs and brought the extraordinary Todd Rundgren out on stage with him to perform with him on two of them. Todd, who opened the show, lent an unspeakable warmth to the whole affair, as he and Daryl are longtime friends and collaborators. The two played together on the Hall & Oates number “Wait for Me” (“We really like playing this song together,” Daryl said) and Todd’s “Can We Still Be Friends.” Todd’s rough and distinctive voice imbued the songs with a bluesy character

Watch Daryl Hall and Todd Rundgren perform “Wait for Me” live from Daryl’s House in 2009 on YouTube:

Todd opened the show with a generous set that hit many highlights from his career as a recording artist (although honestly, Todd remains one of the Top 10 living record producers of our age, no?). In the middle of the set, Todd sang the highly anticipated numbers “I Saw the Light” followed shortly after by “Hello, It’s Me” from his killer 1972 album Something/ Anything? Around those, he also played “It Wouldn’t Have Made Any Difference” and “Black Maria” from the same record, although he cherrypicked a single track from several of his other ’70s records — Runt, A Wizard a True Star, Initiation, Faithful — to fill the rest of the set.

In performance, Todd was an old-school rock-n-roller, strutting along the stage and calling upon the audience to join him in singalongs. We obliged, naturally, because who can say no to Todd?

The show at MGM National Harbor capped a touring leg celebrating Daryl’s release of a double-disc solo compilation album, Before After. Daryl and Todd hit the road again in May for a run of Midwest and West Coast dates, and we highly recommend you catch this terrific tour.

Here are some pictures of Todd Rundgren performing at The Theater at MGM National Harbor on April 16, 2022. All photos copyright Parklife DC.

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And here are some pictures of Daryl Hall performing at The Theater at MGM National Harbor on April 16, 2022. All photos copyright Parklife DC.

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