The text message was simple and in code; I was visiting Daryl’s house the other day and Billy Gibbons dropped by. We had fun. Billy has a killer guacamole recipe. My son’s one word reply: Nice.
Shane and I are suckers for Live From Daryl’s House, a television music show hosted by legendary Eighties schlock performer Daryl Hall. John Oates is yet to appear, although the duo has showed up at a couple of concerts in the recent past.
I refused to watch Daryl’s House for at least two seasons. I had no desire to tune in and relive some of the horrible sounds that made the Eighties the worst musical decade since the Dark Ages.
The previews alone kept my eyes shielded. Hall still sported the pink tinted shades and shoulder length hair he wore while gyrating around on early music videos to ground breaking songs like Maneater and Private Eyes. No thanks.
Then I tuned in one day, not sure why. Maybe during my love fest involving Grace Potter when she was a guest; maybe I dropped the remote just as something interesting was playing; maybe it was a miracle. Hey, if Jesus’ face on a piece of toast is a miracle, so is discovering the best music show since Hullabaloo.
Daryl Hall, I must confess is a cool, cool guy. He understands the music business, not in the way Justin Beiber and Taylor Swift do, but in the way that Don Was and Leon Russell do. He surrounds himself with great talent, keeps things light during the telecast and blends his own strengths with those of the guests. And those guests run the gamut.
There are established stars like the afore-mentioned Billy Gibbons, and Joe Walsh; and there are newly minted performers who have legitimate musical chops, like the afore-mentioned Ms. Potter, and Jason Mraz. Throw in under the radar people like Shelby Lynn and hot current players like Gavin DeGraw and you have a music and variety show worth watching.
Each show offers a beginning, likely staged, with the week’s guest arriving at Daryl’s gigantic farm house in the woods of New York. Introductions are made and the artists jump immediately into the first tune, something linked to the guest star.
There is no studio crowd reacting to cue cards, no forced humor, and no fake spontaneity. The performers perform; songs by both the week’s guest and the host. The numbers have the feel of a jam session by musicians who know what the hell they are doing. The group always breaks for lunch and a little easy conversation. Local restaurants provide food for the group and wine consumption provides a couple of good stories.
We live in a world of amazing. The folks who shape our entertainment world put pressure on all of us to live life like a Mountain Dew commercial. But the best times are always unscripted and the small pleasures are sometimes the most enjoyable.
Live from Daryl’s House isn’t U2 and Mick Jagger together at the Rock and Roll HOF concert. It isn’t Paul and Ringo reuniting. It isn’t even Mumford and Sons. But if you want an enjoyable time in front of the TV listening to great musicians having fun, it is hard to beat. You might even pick up a good guacamole recipe.