This is a two-part review. A little strange, but done out of necessity. It started on Memorial Day weekend. Train and Hall & Oates were playing at the HoagieNation Festival in Philadelphia on May 26. This festival is also curated by Daryl Hall & John Oates, who are Philadelphia natives. I was already in town for another show the day before, and my friends invited me along to this one. Since I had never seen either band, I thought, “What the heck.”
It was a hot, steamy, stormy evening and it seemed that at least half of the population of Philly had crammed into the tent at the main stage by the end of the night. General admission shows aren’t my favorite thing, but we all tried to make the best of it, enjoying first the free hogies, then the music. Unfortunately, as happens with outdoor shows sometimes, storms caused delays and the sets were cut short. Mother Nature isn’t always on the same page as us music fans!
Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives were up first. They came out looking like they should be standing on a stage at the Grand ‘Ole Opry, but they really didn’t sound like it. Yes, there was definitely some country and bluegrass in their sound, but also some blues, rock and even what reminded me of The Surf Dawgs. At first glance, I didn’t think I’d enjoy them, but I did. They were actually quite fun.
After the first rain delay, Train came on (and their set was divided and cut short by another rain delay). Though I know and like quite a few of their songs, I can’t say that I listen to them regularly. I don’t know why that is. Their music has that happy, feel-good quality that can brighten a day. Of course, some people go a little batty when they listen to that kind of thing too much, and I guess I fall into that category.
The crowd was pretty thick by the time they came on, and at five-foot-nothing, it was getting difficult for me to see anything on the stage. Thank goodness for big screens and video feeds as I kept jostling for a better vantage point. I could see enough to know that Pat Monahan was quite the showman and played to the crowd as he roamed back and forth across the stage. They sounded pretty good for an outdoor show. They only got in 8 songs, which was disappointing, but Pat came out later to do some with Hall & Oates.
Train Set List - Philly: If It’s Love; Hey, Soul Sister; Meet Virginia; Play That Song; Call Me Sir (new); Drive By; Marry Me; Drops of Jupiter
It’s hard to believe that Hall & Oates have been around as long as they have. They sure don’t look like it. If fact, they look pretty darn good! It’s amazing just how many hits they have had, several of which came out in the 80's and formed the soundtrack to my school years. I really couldn’t see much until we decided to move out of the crowd to the periphery of the tent. Though physically not as dynamic as Pat Monahan, they still put on a great show. Their saxophonist could have been a Ben Franklin impersonator, which was only fitting given the city they were playing in. Vocally, Daryl Hall does most of the work, and his voice is still in very good form. This festival is theirs, and they played a full set, including a new song that they did with Train called “Philly Forget Me Not”. They also did one of Train’s songs while Pat was out there - “Calling All Angels”.
Hall & Oates Set List - Philly: Maneater; Out of Touch; Say It Isn’t So; You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’; She’s Gone; Sara Smile; Is It a Star; I Can’t Go for That; Philly Forget Me Not; Wait for Me; Calling All Angels; Kiss On My List; Private Eyes; Rich Girl; You Make My Dreams
Part 2 came on June 9 in Pittsburgh at the PPG Paints Arena. Since the festival was almost an afterthought, and I couldn’t see half the time, much less try to get any photos, I decided to look into photographing the show in Pittsburgh. I wasn’t planning on attending the show, and didn’t expect to get the photo pass, but approval came in the day before. Without a ticket, I had to be escorted to and from the shooting location, and unfortunately, the place where we waited between sets did not allow us to see or hear any of the show. So, I only got to enjoy the three songs of each band that I was there to photograph. While I would have liked to see Train’s whole set, at least I have photos. I can sat that both bands impressed me enough that I will probably see them next time they are in town.