Pop radio stations in the early-to-mid '80s were dominated by a myriad of sounds. From post-Disco and Funk jams to cutting edge New Wave and MTV (who just celebrated its 40th birthday on August 1st) celluloid creations, to everything that was Michael Jackson and Prince. In the midst of all this melting pot of creativity was the non-stop hit machine that was Hall & Oates (Daryl Hall and John Oates). Between 1980 and 1985, the dynamic twosome created a slew of Pop and Soul masterpieces that led to them becoming the most successful duo of all time (a title bestowed upon them in 1984 by the Recording Industry Association of America). While they get pigeonholed in the ‘80s at times, the guys have been making amazing songs since the early '70s.

Hall & Oates performed their first concert of 2021 at the Xfinity Center in Mansfield, Massachusetts on August 5, 2021, and inaugurated their set with the monster hit, "Maneater" (from 1982's "H2O" album). They followed up with "Family Man," another gem from "H2O," which sees the protagonist hesitate on pursuing a call girl that is seriously tempting him. "Family Man" was actually penned by Mike Oldfield, who is most famous for "Tubular Bells," (the opening theme song from the film, "The Exorcist"). This could possibly explain the dark nature behind what is a catchy Pop medley.

The Pennsylvania natives were beyond elated to be back in front of a live crowd, who were just as ecstatic to see them in the flesh again. Hall remarked that he had been mostly in his Connecticut home during the pandemic, and you genuinely could feel in his voice just how much he missed being on the stage.

The mega-hit, "Out of Touch," from 1984's "Big, Bam, Boom" album followed and showcased the synthesizer-heavy sound that dominated the early-to-mid ‘80s airwaves. An underrated piece of their catalog, "Adult Education," is a telling of the pressures of a high-school girl, who is more mature than her years, and the narrator tries to lessen her anxiety by reminding her; "Believe it or not/There's life after high school."

"Say It Isn't So," a major 1983 hit from the pairing, was another sparkling moment during the night. Hall's soulful delivery of a man on the verge of being dumped and trying to understand what went wrong, was spot on. Mixing his soulful vocals with slight tempo changes to accentuate the desperation in his heart, Hall can still (38 years later) smoothly convey the pain he is trying in vain to hide.

In what is one of the best cover versions of all time, Oates took the spotlight (alternating lead verses with Hall) and his deep-burly voice delivered the painful opening lines of "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" ("You never close your eyes anymore when I kiss your lips"). As the slow pacing picked up, it lead to a shout-along with the audience (the "Baby, baby" section) in the mid-to-latter section of the song.

Plagued by some minor technical issues during the night, the frustration at times showed on the face of Hall, but he remained characteristically cool about it all, and it certainly did not distract from the band's impeccable performance. After stellar takes of 70's classics, "She's Gone" and "Sara Smile," Oates again took center stage for the deep-cut, "Is It a Star?." The set ending, "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)," is their most funky song and was given extra magic live due to a stellar saxophone solo from the very charismatic Charles DeChant who, as always, steals the heart of any Hall & Oates crowd.

A four-song encore opened with 1977's "Rich Girl" (which was the pair's first number-one hit in America), during which heavy guitar riffs ignited the song from its light opening into a heavy and forceful romp. The romantic vibes created during the infectious cuts, “Kiss on My List" and "Private Eyes," gave way to the now-familiar closer, "You Make My Dreams," which was given a new life after becoming the theme from the popular "Live From Daryl's House" (the internet show in which Hall jams with other artists), ending an outstanding night of the dyads return to the stage.