Huey Lewis & The News

Huey Lewis pic
O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London
October 1st, 2013

by Joanna Orland

It has been 30 years since the legendary band Huey Lewis And The News released their hit album Sports.  It’s one of the most celebrated pop/rock albums in history, and what better way for the band to once again celebrate than to take their songs back on tour.  Their Sports anniversary tour made it to London on the 1st of October, 2013.

The set started off brilliantly.  The News took to the stage to the sound of The Heart of Rock & Roll‘s hearbeat sample.  The energy was electric and contagious.  In a frenzy, I found myself screaming at the top of my lungs “Oh my G-d! It’s THE NEWS!”.  Then Huey Lewis himself graced the stage.  The crowd went wild.  Chants of “Huey! Huey! Huey!” echoed throughout the venue, and continued sporadically and aggressively throughout the night.  The Heart of Rock & Roll continued to beat into the entire Side 1 of their album Sports – this album was released when albums still had sides!

After the epic I Want a New Drug, the band took a break from Sports to remind us that they have other albums, including Fore! as they played a few hits off the ablum including the hugely popular Hip To Be Square.  After the wonderful nod to Fore! I was expecting a return to Side 2 of Sports which includes one of my favourite Huey Lewis And The News songs If This Is It.  Sadly, the rest of Sports was overlooked and I never got to hear If This Is It in a live capacity.  Childhood dreams officially shattered.

But wait – childhood dreams reignited!  For the encore, Huey Lewis came back to the stage teasing the enthusiastic audience, claiming they would be playing one of their new songs that they wrote a mere 26 years ago.  And of course, this little known newbie was – The Power Of Love.  Hugely popular since it featured in the Back to the Future film, but also popular on its own merit of being an excellent tune.  Of course the crowd continued to go wild.  Sadly the other Back to the Future song Back In Time was omitted from the otherwise very awesome set.

We were all transported back to the 1980’s when Huey Lewis was at his prime.  But wait, he is still in his prime!  There must be a portrait of a very withered Huey Lewis in his attic as this man just does not age physically or vocally.  Then again, even in his youth, Huey did have that “dad dance” mastered.

Their live songs sounded exactly as they do on their albums which were recorded about thirty years prior.  They love what they do.  It keeps them young.  This was the most solid, frenzied and technically stunning gig I have gone to.  I’ve lived in London for eleven years, and I can honestly say that this is the first gig I’ve attended where a typically reserved British crowd went properly wild.  The chants of “Huey! Huey! Huey!” sounded like they belonged at a football match.  When it was time to cheer Huey back on stage for an encore, the crowd nearly brought the house down.  People on all tiers of the balcony were on their feet dancing.  He may be 63 years old, but Huey Lewis (And The News) have certainly still got the heart of rock & roll beating within them.

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