Posts Tagged ‘performances’

We hadn’t been to the Kennedy Center for a long time.  It’s a great venue to walk around – very recognizable from television (at least in the DC area).  A top tier venue for performances.  The down side is that its about the hardest place to get into if you haven’t been there before.  It’s surrounded by several protective layers of highways with poorly marked entrances like many areas in downtown DC.  It took us three tries to actually get into the parking lot.  We were glad we left plenty of time to get there.

We had great seats, 10th row, and its always very cool to see someone as recognizable as Wynton Marsalis be right on the stage in front of you.

Two sets, first one was mostly Basie tunes. I expected museum pieces, but they were lively and spontaneous. The second set was an original suite inspired by artists (a Monet movement, a Van Gogh movement, etc.). Some were a little too experimental for me, but others were great composition and performance.

The big surprise was how much an ensemble experience it was.  Wynton was the MC for the performance and took a few solos.  But, he was a member of the band and not the star of the show and I think all the players had a chance to solo throughout the night.  It was very cool to see him in this role and we enjoyed the performance very much.

Other perk; the audience was much better behaved than most DC area performances.  Very little moving in and out during the performance and the common distractions of public events.

Hall & Oates at Wolf Trap, August 2, 2009

Hall & Oates at Wolf Trap, August 2, 2009

From August 2, 2009.

Most likely, everyone from my high school from near my age feels a connection to the music of Hall & Oates.  Daryl Hall went to my high school, and they were becoming famous while I was in school.  They became huge when I was in college with three monstrous selling albums during the early days of MTV when videos had a big impact on music sales and pop culture.

I saw them once before, when I was in college they played at the school’s arena where I worked.  I not only got to see the show promoting their Voices album, but my vantage point was from the left corner of the stage and was able to get tickets for friends from high school.  It was an incredibly exciting show, and had a big impact on me in terms of what large shows were about and the magic creators of music generate when they create songs that are loved by many.

So, here we were 25 years later going to see Hall & Oates again.  I knew I would love the show regardless just based on nostalgia.  So, consider this an extremely biased review.

Hall & Oates Ticket

Hall & Oates Ticket

Here was the cool thing about the show.  They opened up with Man-eater, a huge number one hit.  Most bands would save a song like this for the end, or for the mandatory fake encore.  Hall & Oates are able to open with a song like this because they can follow it up with another dozen top 10 songs.  The only negative about a show like this is that the crowd is filled with people that love and know all these songs and have that urge to sing along with every song.

The only thing that was missing for me was that I hoped G. E. Smith would be there from all those classic albums.  However, nothing was lacking – Daryl and John where there, along with some of the others from those classic albums.  And, the somewhat small lighting production gave the show a more intimate feel, similar to the vibe of the web show Live from Daryl’s House (which is really great, if you haven’t seen it).

(Picture quality poor – must have had the camera set wrong)