Live At 35: Huey Lewis & The News
35 years into their career, Huey Lewis & The News are better than ever. This past weekend I saw the guys perform at the Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in Wilkes-Barre, PA and they were fantastic. I, along with a packed room of fans, sang along and enjoyed every minute of the 16-song set.
Huey and the boys kicked things off with “The Heart Of Rock & Roll” and followed it up with a wonderfully humorous number from their Plan B album: “My Other Woman.” Then came two fan favorites: “If This Is It” and “I Want A New Drug.”
The highlight of the show, for me, was the band’s amazing performance of “Jacob’s Ladder,” a song that, prior to seeing it performed live, wasn’t one of my favorites. I think what makes it special live is the extended guitar solo and the group’s willingness to spread their wings and jam. Certain songs are just better live and this is one of them.
In the middle of the set, Huey and the guys took center stage to magnificently perform two a capella numbers: “Uh-Huh” and “Little Bitty Pretty One.” This portion of the concert made it clear that Huey Lewis & The News are more than a band that creates finely crafted pop songs – they’re consummate musicians whose ability to harmonize is second to none. Needless to say, the crowd ate it up and sang along to both songs.
The band also tried out a new song on the crowd called “While We’re Young.” Huey gave the song a hell of an introduction by saying that the boys in the band (not himself) would really appreciate it if everyone acted like they loved it by the end of the final note. As expected, by the time the song finished, the crowd erupted in applause. I will gladly say that it was a terrific song and I really enjoyed the horn section on it. Here’s a video of the band performing the song last year in Coney Island:
Right before the guys broke into “Heart & Soul,” Huey said to the crowd, “Let’s dance!” And everyone did for the remaining six songs, which included staples like “The Power Of Love,” “Stuck With You” and “Workin’ For A Livin’.”
After the concert, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to go backstage to meet Huey Lewis and the great Johnny Colla, whom I recently had the pleasure of interviewing. Both guys were terrific, and they took the time to take some photos with me and autograph my LP and setlist.
If you get a chance to see Huey Lewis & The News, do so. This is the second time I’ve seen these guys and it won’t be the last. They consistently put on great shows that leave you smiling in the end. And the reason for this is simple: they’re all about heart and soul.