He’s gone

Daryl Hall has taken his webcast out of the house and on the road

by Jon Bream

Star Tribune (Minneapolis) (MCT)

19 April 2012


MINNEAPOLIS — Once they reach their AARP years, many music stars try to reignite their careers by recording an album of old songs. Not Daryl Hall. He hosts a variety show.

“Live From Daryl’s House” started as a webcast in 2007. Then it became a syndicated television show in 2011. Now it’s a touring concert — for seven cities, including Minneapolis.

“If I had a master plan when I first started it on the Internet, it was to take it on the road,” said Hall, the tall blond in Hall & Oates, in case you didn’t know. “The challenge is: How do you do that? Because the show, by nature, is a non-audience show. I’ve done a couple, and we try to make the audience feel like they’re onstage.”

He’s calling the tour Live From Daryl’s House Nu-Soul Revue. It’s not quite like “Live From Daryl’s House,” which usually involves a limousine picking up a singer in New York City and transporting him or her to Hall’s estate in upstate New York.

The concert won’t be like a “Daryl’s House” blind date because both of his musical guests — 24-year-old Seattle granola soul man Allen Stone and Brooklyn R&B star Sharon Jones of Dap-Kings fame — have been on the webcast.

“Even though it’s not a blind date, it’s an early date because I’ve only met Allen Stone once and Sharon Jones once,” Hall said last month. “The element of getting to know you musically and personality-wise, I think that will unfold onstage.

“It’s not a very structured show. There’s a lot of talking and stopping and starting. It’s that feeling like you have on the show that there’s a conversation going on.”

As Garrison Keillor does when he takes “A Prairie Home Companion” on tour, Hall will have a stage set. There also will be a cooking segment, something included in every episode of “Live From Daryl’s House.” Tony Luke, king of the Philly cheesesteak sandwich, will demonstrate his specialty on a big screen. And Hall promises to distribute vouchers to order cheesesteaks by mail.

Since he started the free monthly webcast, Hall has featured familiar faces such as Todd Rundgren, Rob Thomas and Smokey Robinson but also many newer names, including Fitz & the Tantrums, Mayer Hawthorne, Neon Trees and Grace Potter. The most recent show, Episode 52, stars Cee Lo Green.

Hall, 65, has become fascinated with “nu-soul” — updates of classic soul sounds.

“It’s almost like vintage clothing,” Hall said. “You wear your Hawaiian shirt in a different way than we would have in 1966. I wanted a nu-soul revue that (reflects) that intergenerational thing.”

“Live From Daryl’s House” is something of a reality show.

“Nobody else is showing musicians in America in their natural state,” Hall boasted. “There’s the reality aspect of the show, but it’s not a reality show. It’s an antidote to ‘American Idol’ and all that, which is not true music for its own sake.”

On tour, Hall occasionally crosses paths with John Oates, who brought his own band to Minneapolis’ Dakota Jazz Club last month. Hall & Oates have no recording plans (their last studio effort was 2004’s cover collection, “Our Kind of Soul”) but will start a short tour in September. Says its main singer: “We’re having a good time on our own.”

Hall issued a solo album of new songs, “Laughing Down Crying,” in 2011 but he’s not using his Nu-Soul Revue to promote it.

“That’s not my objective,” he said. “I’ll probably do two or three songs from it.”

His main focus is “Live From Daryl’s House.” Last year, it expanded to TV stations in most of the top 200 markets.

“I’m still trying to figure out how to flourish in the conservative world of television,” Hall said. “They’re reluctant to try new things. I’m lucky enough to have a shot on syndication. I’m still expanding that idea. It’s early. I believe in the Internet. I believe that’s the future. This is an Internet show that happens to be on television.”

And on tour — ever so briefly.

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