Atlanta Music Scene

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Daryl Hall talks playing the hits, touring with Train and why he isn’t ready to retire

Hall and John Oates perform at Infinite Energy Arena on June 20


One of the most reliable outings of the summer comes from Daryl Hall and John Oates.

Armed with one of pop music’s brawniest catalogs — they might need a full day to perform all of their hits — the duo is still rolling out its shimmery soul (“She’s Gone,” “Maneater”), ‘80s-slick pop (“Out of Touch”) and even a new song — “Philly Forget Me Not,” their new collaboration with tour mates Train — on this current tour. 

The co-headlining bill pulls into Infinite Energy Arena on Wednesday.

Recently, Hall, 71, chatted from one of his residences in Charleston, S.C., about choosing tour mates, his venerated music show, “Live From Daryl’s House,” and why he doesn’t want to hear the word “retirement.” 

 Q: You’ve had some great acts on the road with you the past few summers — the late, great Sharon Jones, and last year Tears for Fears. Who makes those decisions? 

A: I like to choose — I don’t let others choose. We had Sharon because I really liked Sharon and thought she was great. Tears for Fears, I didn’t know them, but I thought their music was compatible. And Train, they go back to (singer) Pat (Monahan) being a friend of mine. We’ve been sort of in contact (lately), and as soon as I needed to decide who to go out with, they were my first choice. Pat is a great guy. He’s easy to work with. 

 

Q: A lot of artists — like Elton John and Paul Simon — have announced that they’re making their final runs. How much longer do you see yourself out on the road? 

A: I don’t know, as long as I like doing it. I don’t understand announcing retirement. I don’t get it. It’s weird. I ain’t buying it. They have their reasons, but I don’t share them. It’s one thing I can do that I completely control my own environment. It’s good energy; physically it’s good. I’m a singer, man. I like to get in front of people and sing. It works for me just fine. I don’t love going out for long periods of time, but it’s all part of the game. 

Q: You have a rather stable set list. Do you think you’ll make any tweaks for this tour? How do you determine what songs to play? 

A: I have the good old problem, the high-class problem of too many songs that people need to hear — not just want, they need. I could fill two sets! It’s hard to pick the obligatory songs, and (perform them) within a certain time limit. I try and throw things in and change things up within the songs, maybe change the instrumentation. I think that doing the end of the show with (Train singer) Pat (Monahan) will give the show a different feel. 

Q: Are there songs you’d like to play, but don’t feel as if the audience would appreciate them as much as you and John might? 

A: It becomes about whether I have to throw out a song that they demand. What am I gonna do, not play “Sara Smile”? That’s what I do on (monthly webcast) “Live From Daryl’s House.” I always tell my artists on the show, I’m not into doing the same old, same old. That’s my outlet for doing those things. 

Q: Speaking of, what is the status of “Live From Daryl’s House”? And do you still have a wish list of artists? 

A: We’ll be back in production after the tour is over; all will be started again. It’s too soon to announce any guests … I never have a wish list, I just take it where it comes. I like the chanciness of some of it. The show is based around spontaneity. I’m not sure where it’s going to air yet. We’re being financed to do the production and I assume we’re going to stream it. The show started on the Internet (in 2007) as sort of anti-network — you didn’t have many choices in those days — and now the world has caught up with how the show works. (To see previous episodes, go to livefromdarylshouse.com.) 

Q: What new music have you discovered? 

A: Anybody who isn’t a veteran artist on the show was a new discovery for me. I discovered a lot of things about them, their drive, what their talents are. It’s fascinating to see these new people interact with someone who has been around as long as I have. I learn something from every show. 

Q: Did you read John's memoir (“Change of Seasons”)? Would you ever do something similar to tell people more about your backstory? 

A: (Laughs) Yeah, he made sure I was OK with it. And no…I’m not interested in autobiographies.

Q: You know how social media has changed the concert experience. Does it bother you, from your perspective on stage? 

A: My audiences tend to pay attention. I set the show up and there’s a lot of thought I put into everything, and one is how the show is presented. I own a club and I try to make an arena into a big club. It has to do with lighting and that I can actually see the audience. I purposely do the camera shots to make it look a lot like “Daryl’s House,” that we’re all in it together. It mitigates the idea of people sort of fiddling around in their own little world.

CONCERT PREVIEW

Daryl Hall and John Oates and Train

With Kandace Springs. 7 p.m. June 20. $35-$149.50. Infinite Energy Arena, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth. 770-626-2464, infiniteenergycenter.com.


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About the Author

Atlanta Journal-Constitution staff writer Melissa Ruggieri covers the Atlanta Music Scene and entertainment news for print and online.