Words & Photos by Rod Snyder
This Memorial day weekend was the first Hoagie Nation Festival, put on by Philly’s own Daryl Hall & John Oates. Hosted at the scenic Festival Pier, the event overlooked the Delaware River and aimed to celebrate “All things Philly”. This was true of everything, from the local food trucks to the artisan beer served throughout the festival grounds. I wish I could somehow attached a sample of what it smelled like in this review, because it smelled like all kinds of foodie goodness!
Then there was the music, of course. All of the bands on the bill were from Philly or have local ties with Philly, and this year’s inaugural line up included Hall & Oates, Tears for Fears, G Love & Special Sauce, Vivian Green, Marah, Son Little, Allen Stone, Kandace Springs, Mutlu, Schoolly D, and In the Pocket – consisting of David Uosikkinen & Fran Smith of the Hooters, Jeffrey Gaines, Ben Arnold, Richard Bush of The A’s, Tommy Conwell (The Young Rumblers), and Charlie Ingui of The Soul Survivors.
Schooly D opened the festival on the South Philly Stage, one of 3 stages, with some hometown Philly jams that the crowd quickly got into. The sets were short in the beginning, but grew as the day went on. Making my way to the North Philly stage (the main stage) one could start to smell the greatness of the food. The salivary glands would start to act up at this point.
Allen Stone was the first act on the North Philly stage. He and Tears for Fears are currently touring with Hall & Oates outside of the festival, in case you missed this show. He would come on and do a solo set, just him and an electric guitar. Despite that, he sounded great and the crowd received him very well.
I went to the Dietz & Watson stage to check out In the Pocket, a band put together by Hooters drummer David Uosikkinen. It’s a band that consists of many rotating members from various bands, performing various material. The members rotate in and out of the mix depending on the song, and the stage was full of people at one point. It was during this set that I received a text about the passing of Gregg Allman. I was shocked, though I knew he was in ill health the past few months and rumors of hospice care were floating around. Still one is never prepared, especially after the passing of Chris Cornell just two weeks ago. But, the show must go on!
On this same stage, after the set was over, there was a hoagie eating contest with some random entries and a few previous Wingbowl contestants, including the current Wingbowl Champion, The Notorious B.O.B. There were 9 contestants in all, but really came down to 2 people. Notorious B.O.B won the event – he ate 5 & one half 12” hoagies in 10 minutes. No puking from anyone fortunately.
Soon Tear for Fears came on and did their set, opening with the 80’s hit, “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”. They continued on for a little over an hour playing their hits and even including the Radiohead cover “Creep”. They closed their set with “Shout” – and this is when I realized how many people we in attendance. I tried to make my way to the main stage for Hall & Oates, it took me 20 minutes to squeeze through the people on the outer perimeter of the crowd for Tears for Fears. The festival was well-attended for sure.
I got my spot at the North Philly stage and at 9:00pm, Mike Schmidt, the Hall of Fame 3rd Baseman & Benjamin Franklin took to the stage to introduce Hall & Oates. The band took to the stage & played hit after hit. They sounded great, and I could hear Daryl say to Oates at one point in between songs, that the crowd was ‘on fire’. The duo played a two hour set, that included a 5 song encore, before closing with a cover of The Delphonics “Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time)”.
All in all I would say the inaugural festival was a hit, and would like to see it happen again next year. One thing I would have liked to see was some collaborations among some of the other bands during the day. Daryl has his show “Live from Daryl’s House” – why not do something in a live setting?
Hall & Oates Setlist:
Out of touch
Did it in a minute
Say it isn’t so
You’ve lost that loving feeling
One on one
Wait for me
Is it a star
I can’t go for that
Kiss on my list
You make my dreams come true
Didn’t I (Blow your mind this time)
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