Daryl Hall & John Oates along with Squeeze will be playing to a full house tonight (February 28th) at New York's Madison Square Garden. Hall & Oates defied expectations when back in 2016, when they sold out the venue after a 30-year-absence from the hallowed “Big Apple” arena. Tonight's gig — with support by KT Tunstall — is a dry run for all three acts' upcoming spring and summer tour.
In advance of the Garden show tonight, Hall & Oates spoke to The New York Post and each was asked the backstory to one of their iconic hits. For 1976's “Rich Girl,” Daryl Hall recalled, “Sara (Allen), my girlfriend at that time, had an old boyfriend who was a rich guy and he came over to the house and was acting pretty strange. And after he left, I sat there and went, 'He’s a rich guy, and he’s gone too far. . . ' Blah, blah, blah. Then I said, 'No, rich guy sounds terrible. I’ll change it to rich girl!”
John Oates looked back on 1982's “Maneater,” remembering, “I got the idea from a beautiful girl who swore like a sailor. The juxtaposition of this beautiful girl with this filthy mouth was just too good to resist. I thought, 'Man, she would chew you up and spit you out.’ But it’s really a metaphor for New York City in the ’80s. The ‘Maneater’ is the city itself. New York City is what’s gonna chew you up.”
We asked Daryl Hall if he still enjoys playing live shows as much as during the band's '80s heyday: “Yeah, I think they're more fun than they ever were 'cause I feel like we have such a great loyal fan base, and, or whatever — it isn't always fans. We have nothing to prove, y'know? We are who we are. We go out there, we have fun, and the people that come are coming because they want to have fun, and my favorite thing is being on stage. I love it. John loves it, too, and it's a great thing and I don't think we'll ever stop.”
John Oates feels that simply put, Hall & Oates with Squeeze is an unbeatable gig: “Y'know, I heard them for the first time — we did a festival together and they sound amazing. Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford, they sound great, they're singing great, I forgot about how many cool songs they have. And I've always liked them; I liked them back in the day, I like 'em even more now. I think it's gonna be a great night of music. That's what it's all about.”
Squeeze has always been known to replicate their classic '80s hits pretty faithfully on stage. Glenn Tilbrook admits that it's tough to improve upon the band's classic original arrangements: “Unless you're gonna completely go back to the drawing board, it's hard to unpick the arrangement from the song. I'm thinking of something like 'Another Nail For My Heart,' or say, for instance, like 'Tempted' — something which is so firmly wedded to the style that it was recorded, and the fact that it's so tightly written, there isn't a lot of room to play about. There are Squeeze songs like 'Take Me I'm Yours' or even 'Black Coffee In Bed' that lend themselves much more to being tweaked about in one way or another.”