Huey Lewis rocks new and old at Music Circus

A review of Huey Lewis and the News at the South Shore Music Circus on July 18, 2010

, Managing Editor

Huey Lewis and the News have a history of over 30 years together, a catalogue largely consisting of hits from more than two decades ago, and an extensive touring schedule year after year. With that in mind one would think they knew exactly what to expect before they even walked in the door to see the soul rockers. However, Lewis and company threw the fans a curveball Sunday night in Cohasset when they opened with several unfamiliar tracks.

Lewis and the News ran straight through five new songs off their forthcoming yet-to-be-named album, which will be their first studio effort since 2001’s Plan B. From the five song sample it appears the group will be staying true to their rock n’ soul sound and Lewis’ lovesick lyrical content. Perhaps it was the unfamiliarity that kept most fans in their seats, but still, the new tunes were well received as a standing ovation broke out in the short break following the new offerings, despite a few grumblings and requests.

At times Lewis’ vocals sounded slightly strained, which he alluded to later in the evening (“It’s our fourth show in a row, can’t you tell?”), but that didn’t stop the a cappella rendition of “So Much In Love” from being one of the highlights of the evening. Shortly after, the band had the tent rocking again with the two hearts, “Heart of Rock N’ Roll” and “Heart and Soul”, putting the people on their feet. The dancing continued as “But, It’s Alright” segued into “We’re Not Here For A Long Time” before the encore break.

To the chants of “Huey! Huey!” the band returned with their biggest hit in “Power of Love” which Lewis prefaced by saying “when we recorded this 25 years ago who would’ve thought we would have to play it every night?”. Still, Lewis and the News are fortunate enough to have enough hits where there isn’t a whole list of songs they’re expected to play every night. They were able to leave out chart-toppers like “If This Is It”, “Stuck With You”, and “Hip to Be Square” without hurting the show, which is a testament to their hit-saturated catalogue. Instead of the aforementioned songs the band opted for a bluesy ending as they brought out local legend James Montgomery to share his talents on the harmonica for “Bad is Bad” before “Workin’ for a Livin’” closed out the show.

During one of the breaks Lewis asked how many fans had seen him before and how many were taking in his show for the first time to which he received a surprisingly large response of first-timers. Lewis joked with the new fans saying, “don’t worry about it, we’ve only played here about 53 times!”. With a new album soon to be released and his apparent love for the road it seems as though there’ll be a 54th, and that’s a surely welcomed possibility.

Sharp dressed Jake Hill opened the show with some simple Americana tunes to the delight of the early arrivals.

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