Review and concert pictures by Aleibe Smith

Huey Lewis and the News is an American pop/rock band that originated in San Francisco, California.  They soon became darlings of the MTV era with catchy pop tunes and movie soundtrack hits. Huey and the boys played to a sold out crowd at the Hard Rock Rocksino on Saturday night. With career spanning almost 40 years, the audience was as diverse as their catalogue of music.

When a band achieves a certain status, fans will flock to hear the new sounds, but deep down, they always want to hear the hits; the songs that made them fall in love with the band in the first place.  Perhaps that one song that takes you back to a different time in your life; maybe when you were a little younger and a lot less responsible.  For a few hours on Saturday night, most fans became that irresponsible teenager again and just rocked out.

The band opened with the wildly popular Heart of Rock & Roll.”  It was just the right song to get the crowd out of their seats and ready for a fun night of music, dancing, and laughter.  They continued with If This Is It” and “I Want A New Drug.”  After introducing the band, Lewis made sure that the crowd knew what they came for by announcing: “I’m in a hit playing mood!”

These long time professionals had an order to their show which included an a cappella portion showcasing the songs “But It’s Alright” and “Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um.”  Lewis also introduced a new song,Her Love is Killing Me” that has the same get-up-and-go as many of his classics that featured plenty of instrumentals and Lewis’ smoky vocals and skill with the harmonica.  It’s another hit in the making I’m sure.

We were even lucky enough be treated to a song the band has yet to record, While We’re Young.”  With its bluesy feel and reggae undertones, emphasized by a bass solo, the crowd went wild and I’m sure everyone is looking forward to its release.

The amount of energy and excitement generated by the band was infectious.  With original band members: Johnny Colla, Sean Hopper and Bill Gibson along with newer members John Pierce and Steph Burns, The News still know how to put on a great rock show.  The band has as much drive and energy as they did three decades ago.

“This is our first time back in Cleveland in three years,” Lewis said. “But don’t worry, we won’t stay away this long again.”  The thought of more tour stops in Cleveland received huge cheers from the sold out Rocksino hall.  Everyone was in a celebratory mood until Lewis mentioned that he was from Southern California and was Warriors fan.  Some good natured Go Cavs” chanting preceded the next round of chart topping hits.

Lewis and The News finished out the night with and encore featuring, Power of Love,”Stuck With You,” and one of their first hits,  “Working for a Living.”  

There needs to be more performers who give so much of themselves in concert.  So many current artists spend so much time with the pomp and circumstance they lose sight of the fact that the music is what brings the fans to the shows.  You don’t need all the bells and whistles when you have great music that touches people and makes them happy; and Huey Lewis and The News have that.