No one goes to see Hall & Oates to hear deep cuts and rarities. Hell, no one wants to hear anything the Philly duo has recorded post-1985. You’re there for the hits, the classics, the canonical pop standards that make you strain for falsetto notes you can’t reach and dance like you’re in a Wellbutrin commercial. But if I, a noted scholar of the H&O Extended Universe, were to put together the set list for their current tour, it would be much different than what you’ll hear on Saturday at KeyArena. How different? I’m glad you asked.
“United State”—H&O’s 1980 album Voices reckoned with the rise of new wave, including this scorcher that stretches a patriotic metaphor to its absolute limits.
“Bebop/Drop”—Let’s get a little weird with this herky-jerky proto-glam metal jam that Oates concocted for 1979’s X-Static.
“Guessing Games”—Co-written by the late Janna Allen for 1982’s H2O, this gem about the trials of loving a mercurial lady is set to a sweet midtempo synth shuffle.
“Possession Obsession”—The forgotten fourth single from 1984’s Big Bam Boom finds the pair adapting to the slinky sound of gated snare synth-pop.
“Crazy Eyes”—A sweet lead vocal turn by Oates caps off this funk-soul dandy from the duo’s 1976 release Bigger Than Both of Us.
“Starting All Over Again”—The ’90s were not kind to H&O, but they greeted the decade with a fine LP (Change of Season) and this cover of a ’70s soul classic.
“Waterwheel”—Imagine a spotlight shining on a grand piano and Daryl Hall reducing everyone to tears with a rendition of this nostalgic heartbreaker from the duo’s 1972 debut Whole Oats.
“Abandoned Luncheonette”—Let’s get even weirder with the title track from H&O’s 1973 album that shifts from swing to piano soul to stringy funk like an ersatz prog epic.
“Do It for Love”—Their last album of originals was not their finest creative hour, but the sweet-natured title track from 2003 is a great showcase for their honeyed vocals and ability to meld in with a sick groove.