Saturday night's Hall and Oates/Kinks concert at the Capital Centre substituted lethargy for energy, stifling the most elementary aspect of rock 'n' roll.

In the case of Hall and Oates, it may simply be a matter of being on a downward curve. After a two-year spell that saw a half-dozen refreshing, blue-eyed-soul singles hit the charts, the duo has watched its most recent album flounder.

And where they might once expect a sellout, Hall and Oates had reason to be disappointed with the turnout of 10,000 - slightly more than half the Centre capacity.

Part of the problem stems from the act's lack of visual focus. Both singers are stiff and given to ineffective posturing. They are confusing themselves with more pop-oriented crooners. When John Oates, in particular, sings alone, he simply is not believable.

While Hall is certainly more charismatic, he also seems ill-at-ease as a front man. He is the better singer, avoiding Oates' frequent flats.

Flat is an apt description of the group's rendering of its hits. There was more applause at the beginnings, in recognition, than at the ends, in realization.

The Kinks were appearing for the first time locally since their brawling finale at Constitution Hall six months ago. The only punches in their opening show were mild cuts at the stage and sound system. In fact, this once-noble band seems to have thrown in the towel. If rock has a new wave, it also has its old hat.

The Kinks are at the head of that Category.