But the storied Philly soul duo doesn’t always have Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings and Trombone Shorty sharing the bill, which made Thursday’s stop at Lakewood Amphitheatre a bit of a special occasion.
The tour launched last week in Dallas and will continue a couple of weeks each month through September.
Here’s a look at how the show unfolded.
Trombone Shorty, born Troy Andrews in New Orleans 30 years ago, is known for the instrument that provides his nickname, but the multi-talented musician is also adept on the trumpet, drums, organ and tuba.
That he carries himself with unassuming cool is a bonus.
During his 30-minute opening set, Trombone Shorty and his band, Orleans Avenue, unleashed blistering originals such as “Slippery Lips” and “The Craziest Things,” while deftly working in snippets of Suzanne Vega’s “Tom’s Diner” and Sheila E.’s “The Glamorous Life.”
Shorty and the band – particularly guitarist Pete Murano – sizzled during a lengthy jam on The Meters’ “Ain’t No Use,” showcasing their ace musicianship.
In addition to his musical talents, Trombone Shorty oozes soul, which was apparent in his vocals and loose-limbed stage moves. He’s a natural fit in this lineup.
Following Trombone Shorty was Augusta native Sharon Jones and her classy Dap-Kings, who light up any stage they grace.
Whether belting “Long Time, Wrong Time” or kicking up her heels during a formidable take on Gladys Knight’s version of “I Heard it Through the Grapevine,” Jones remains one of music’s most compelling singers.
She works herself into a sweat even on a ballad, but as visceral as her vocals are when she wails through a slow jam, fans are always roused when the tempo ticks up a few notches.
Jones has been battling pancreatic cancer since 2013 and she turned the fiery “Get Up and Get Out” into a passionate sermon, working in the news that she underwent a round of chemotherapy in New York on Wednesday.
“I’m just glad to be onstage singing through this pain,” she said, occasionally touching her side.
But Jones was not soliciting pity. Quite the opposite, as she popped out of her shoes and demonstrated one of her dance routines where her feet move so fast, she looks like a racing cartoon character.
Jones and the Dap-Kings closed their set with “100 Days, 100 Nights,” another potent shot in their intoxicating brew of jazz, soul and funk.
Hall & Oates is one of the most durable and dependable touring acts.
Their concerts aren’t filled with much chit-chat from the guys, who stay far enough from each other onstage to provide professional space but close enough to suggest they are at least cordial music pals.
But they always provide a steady stream of hits that are as ageless as the duo themselves, even if it does often feel a bit impersonal.
It’s nearly impossible to believe that Hall will turn 70 this year, so lush are his locks and robust is his voice. Oates, his junior by a year and a half, is another Dorian Gray on guitar and vocals, carrying the lead on every drunk person’s favorite singalong, “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” and blending gorgeously with Hall’s voice on the soul weeper, “She’s Gone.”
Longtime fans among the 7,000-plus in the venue had to perk up at the inclusion of the poppy “Did It in a Minute,” a song the pair hasn’t played much in concert until recently, and the always-rousing “Say it Isn’t So.”
Along with the superb musicianship coming from Hall & Oates, their band also shares in the musical glory. Longtime saxophonist/keyboardist Charles DeChant earned the spotlight on the throbbing “Maneater” and a long and winding version of “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do),” which featured Hall on keyboards.
Even though there are dozens of songs left unheard in a Hall & Oates show – it would require about 10 hours onstage to play them all – fans who stuck around for the encore could at least bop along to their ‘70s soul-pop anthem, “Rich Girl.”
We can go for that.
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