On February 11, 2017, John Oates returned to Sellersville Theater to perform an acoustic set of Hall and Oates hits and songs that inspired him during the writing of his book. His set also included songs off two of his solo albums, “Mississippi Mile” and “Good Road to Follow.” His music selection incorporated music he grew up playing as well as music he just recently wrote. This wide variety allowed audience members of all ages to find something they liked and could connect with personally.
Oates grew up in North Wales, Pennsylvania, about 20 minutes from the Sellersville Theater. Despite still living in the area, his mother was not at the show. Nevertheless, he talked about his fondest memories from growing up. He even dedicated “For Me and My Gal” to his mom, who taught him the song. It was a fitting tribute for someone who influenced his music and encouraged him through everything.
Oates played hits such as “Out of Touch,” “Had I Known You Better Then,” “Sara Smile,” “She’s Gone,” “You Make My Dreams Come True,” and “Camellia.” His solo album songs included his cover of “Pallet,” “Lost in Louisiana,” “Edge of the World,” and “Pushin’ a Rock Uphill.” Before each song, he told the stories behind them, giving fans an insight to the real meaning. For example, the inspiration for “Maneater” was New York City, not a woman.
Throughout the show, Oates mentioned his new book, called “Change of Seasons,” that will be released March 28. The book is a collection of his memories and the stories behind his music, particularly the Hall and Oates album “Abandoned Luncheonette.” He sung a couple songs by Mississippi John Hurt and Emmett Miller that helped influence his writing and realize his place in American pop music, which helped him during his book-writing process.
The concert was filled to the brim with new music, including songs he co-wrote with musicians such as Jim Lauderdale He also performed a protest song that he wrote during the Presidential debates, stating that there is a desperate need for “independent thinkers.” He said that he loves performing newer music for audiences because he loves getting feedback. At the concert, this feedback was overwhelmingly positive.
Overall, the concert was entertaining and engaging for fans of all ages. Many of the people in attendance grew up knowing Oates, but a few younger fans attended as well. Seeing him perform a broad range of music from his entire career was a treat. He is not stopping his music anytime soon, and his talent and dedication continues to be out of this world.