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Fifty years ago in September, Daryl Hall and John Oates released their first studio album “Whole Oats”, a collection of 11 soul and soft-rock songs.
At the time, this had little commercial impact. But 18 studio albums, six No. 1 songs on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction later, Hall and Oates are still touring and headlining music festivals — namely, All IN Music and Arts Festival this All-Day Labor Weekend at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.
“Well, I’m still alive and still making music,” Oates said in an August interview with IndyStar. “So that’s a good thing.”
While the pop-rock duo’s last studio album, “Home for Christmas,” was released in 2006, they’ve since played nearly 500 shows together. They last performed in Indiana in August 2021, when they played Ruoff Music Center.
Indianapolis has long been more than just a stop on Oates’ tour. He said he has a lot of friends in town, who he’d rather hang out with than hole up in his hotel room when he comes to town.
“I go to Indiana quite often, believe it or not,” he said.
Oates is a self-proclaimed “car guy,” so he’s been to the Indianapolis 500 several times. He said he was in the crowd when AJ Foyt won his historic fourth race in 1977, the same year Hall and Oates received their first Billboard No. 1 with “Rich Girl.”
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He returns to Indy for All IN, a two-day festival in which Hall and Oates headline Saturday’s lineup among other artists like Death Cab for Cutie, Cage the Elephant and Portugal. The man.
Oates said festivals are different from a single tour or show for many reasons, one of which is the opportunity to play in front of new people.
“When you play at a festival,” Oates said, “you get the chance to play in front of a lot of fans who aren’t necessarily your fans.”
The veteran rocker also noted how festivals allow him, as an artist, to watch other performers. He said he loves all types of music, from pop and Americana to blues and roots.
Hall and Oates’ own discography covers this range, with the authors releasing a wide variety of music of different genres, sounds and styles since their debut in 1972.
Since then, they’ve gone smooth and soulful with “Sara Smile,” jammed with upbeat pop-rock on “You Make My Dreams (Come True)” and even jammed with synths on “Out of Touch.”
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“We’ve created a legacy of songs that stand the test of time,” Oates said.
These songs are still making their way into Hall and Oates’ setlists. In the few shows they’ve performed in 2021, they each opened with “Maneater,” which turns 40 this year.
“There’s nothing to replace for playing live,” Oates said, “when you can get immediate reaction from people.”
Despite the extensive catalog the duo has amassed over the past half-century, Oates said “She’s Gone,” which appeared on their 1973 second album “Abandoned Luncheonette,” is still outstanding to perform live.
“Anytime you can play a song that’s 50 years old and it still sounds fresh, it’s an amazing thing,” Oates said. “It’s something to be proud of.”
If you go: All IN Music and Arts Festival
The All IN Music and Arts Festival takes place September 3 and 4 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, 1202 E. 38th St.
For more information on lineup and tickets, visit allinfestival.com.