The band’s return to Meijer Gardens also marked a return to the 1980s for a capacity crowd that seemed to truly believe in the “Power of Love” and the “Heart of Rock & Roll.” (Review, photos)
I guess in 2017, it’d be Huey Lewis and the FAKE News, am I right?
No, of course not! As if the man’s authenticity were ever remotely in question, Sunday night’s performance at the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park amphitheater was a delivery of the realest news possible. It was unquestionably a regal showing for Sir Huey of the House Lewis and his Knights of News.
(Sorry, the fact of Sunday night’s concert delaying my viewing of the “Game of Thrones” season premiere is coloring my verbiage here.)
There were big expectations. Topping Sheryl Crow by a few dollars, this was, at $93 for members and $95 for non-members, the most expensive Meijer Gardens show of the year. That non-member price is a moot point, because the Lewis show was among the handful of Meijer Gardens concerts that sold out within minutes after the start of the members-only ticket feeding frenzy.
The lucky 1,900 concertgoers who snagged tickets seemed happy with their investment — even if it amounted to slightly more than a dollar per minute of music — as would anybody whose formative years were partly soundtracked by the hits from the band’s classic-period albums “Sports” (1983) and “Fore!” (1986).
SORT OF LIKE ‘THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY’ IN REVERSE
That’s a lot of hits: the set-opening “The Heart of Rock & Roll” (which I’m happy to report is still beating), “Hip to Be Square,” “I Want a New Drug,” “Workin’ For a Living,” “Doing It All for My Baby,” “The Power of Love” (from “Back to the Future”) and so on.
Seeing a nostalgia act is sort of like “The Picture of Dorian Gray” in reverse.
The band and audience ages while the songs themselves remain frozen in time, as pristine as the day they emerged into the world. So the performer’s mortality is measurable in relation to how accurately men in their 60s replicate songs they recorded in their 20s. Which isn’t really fair, but, well, they’re being handsomely paid.
The trade-off is that years upon years of touring these songs to appreciative audiences infuses them with an undeniable muscularity.
To that end, Lewis himself looked about 40 when his band got famous, and 30-odd years later (at age 67), still looks and sounds about that age, hitting most of his notes and delivering the kind of dad-joke banter you might expect. The nine-member band — including a four-person horn section — rips it up, playing the decades-old hits with the same enthusiasm as Lewis’ newer material, such as “Remind Me Why I Love You Again” and “Her Love Is Killing Me,” which swing with the same workmanlike combination of rock, doo-wop and blue-eyed soul that caught an unlikely cultural backwind in the ’80s and rocketed the group to stardom.
On a humid but otherwise picture-perfect West Michigan night, this was real news, happily delivered and received.
PHOTO GALLERY: Huey Lewis & The News, Jamie Kent
Photos by Taylor Mansen
UP NEXT AT MEIJER GARDENS: Elvis Costello & The Imposters on Monday (sold out); Tuesday Evening Music Club on Tuesday with The Muteflutes and Rollie Tussing & The Midwest Territory Band
Copyright 2017, Spins on Music LLC