The venerable pop-rock-soul-R&B duo might continue touring for quite a few years. Maybe even a couple of decades. Although one of them is perhaps a bit more optimistic about that prospect than the other.
“I admire and hope to be one of those people,” says Hall, 71, after a reporter mentions that Tony Bennett recently performed in Charlotte, N.C., at age 91. “I think it’s an amazing thing when people have the abilities — the mental ability, the physical ability — to go out there on the road at a certain time in your life, when you’re in your 90s, or whatever. I think it keeps you young, man. It really does. Touring is the fountain of youth.”
Meanwhile, Oates (who turned 70 earlier this spring) vacillates when presented with the idea of staying on the road for another 20 years.
“I don’t know. … It becomes more of a question of physicality at that point; it really does. The thing about Tony Bennett, you have to remember, is that what he’s always done and what he’s doing now is — you know, if he can stand next to that piano and sing, he’s OK. But if you gotta move around the stage, and you’re playing guitar, and you got loud, big amps and stuff, it’s a whole different thing there.
“Listen, I guarantee you, if Daryl Hall can sing, he will sing till the day he no longer walks the earth,” Oates continues, “because that’s who he is. He’s an incredible singer, and he’s a committed, lifelong musician. So I don’t doubt that (he means what he says) at all. For me, though, personally, a day could come when I just don’t want to travel. It’s not the playing — it’s not the two hours on stage that get you — it’s all the other stuff. It’s the flying, the busing, the traveling, the hotels, the eating in restaurants. That’s what will get you. The two hours on stage is the reward for all that. You know, the old cliche: ‘I play for free, but you gotta pay me to leave my house.’”
Funny thing is, Oates actually is on the road more than Hall is these days: He has an Americana side project with his Good Road Band, and their extensive 2018 tour included a stop at Charlotte’s intimate Neighborhood Theatre in February, with the bandleader primarily on an acoustic guitar.
But he still enjoys the big shows as much as the little ones.
“I’m very proud of the music I made with Daryl, that those songs have stood the test of time,” Oates says. “They’ve provided me with a platform to do anything I want. I don’t take that for granted. I’m very conscious of that. The Hall & Oates band is an amazing band, and I love playing with great musicians. So I have the best of all worlds. Then I go on stage with my Good Road Band in these small venues and we have this unbelievable synergy. … So it’s like I have two incredible bands. I’m a lucky guy. There’s hardly anybody that gets to do what I’m doing, and gets to be accepted in both worlds.”
“I have a good problem with having so many songs that people almost demand to hear, that I don’t really have a lot of room to deviate from that,” Hall says. “Occasionally, we try and throw something in that people aren’t that familiar with — you know, some more deeper cut or something — but I gotta play ‘Rich Girl,’ and I gotta play ‘Sara Smile.’ I mean, that’s just the reality. But we do evolve those songs, so it stays fresh to us.”
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