Retro-pop duo breathe life into the hits

DARYL HALL & JOHN OATES/ ICEHOUSE Rating: 4/5 The Plenary, February 2


Rating: 4/5

The Plenary, February 2

Michael Dwyer Reviewer

A SHED-LOAD of radio hits is money in the bank for anyone who can reform the old band these days, but how they stand up makes the difference between nostalgia and magic.

The archetypal synth melodramas of Icehouse rolled out like carefully restored museum pieces in the hands of Iva Davies and his latest tightly drilled team.

Robotic precision and brittle textures are perhaps crucial to '80s FM staples such as We Can Get Together, Hey Little Girl, Crazy and Great Southern Land, but the shrill volume seemed desperate to compensate for songs that had lost meaning in the winds of fashion.

Bequeathing Man of Colours to youthful sideman Michael Paynter, who over-sang it like an Idol show-pony, failed to inject sorely needed spontaneity into a stilted set. Daryl Hall, guitarist John Oates and their wickedly tight soul sextet flicked the switch from sterile reminiscence to visceral immediacy before the first chorus of Maneater.

The power and elasticity of Hall's voice was stunning. The band's syncopated funk feel and rich Philly soul harmonies were so instinctive that songs as well-known as Family Man, Out of Touch, Rich Girl and especially I Can't Go For That were free to fly in fiery improvisations.

Whatever year this is, you had to be there.

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