Wednesday, June 17, 2015

My Evening Living in the 80’s Again

I don’t think it’s any surprise to hear (read?) I’m a fan of 80’s music. The nice thing about being that kind of fan is that some of the groups I like are still touring. And if Leonard Nimoy’s passing taught me anything, it’s that when you’ve got the chance to see or meet someone you’re a fan of, then you better do it the first chance you get. Not that I ever had a chance to meet Leonard Nimoy, but still.

So tonight was my third time seeing Huey Lewis and the News in concert. They performed at the nTelos Wireless Pavilion in Portsmouth, and it was incredible. “In addition to Lewis, the band still features longtime Newsmen Sean Hopper (keyboards), Johnny Colla (sax and guitar) and Bill Gibson (drums), all of whom were part of the classic lineup that dominated Top 40 charts with catchy hits such as "Heart and Soul" and "Do You Believe in Love."” I really feel like the guys get better with each show I’ve seen them at. Of course, that’s not a biased fan talking or anything. Sure, at 63, Huey can’t do the same leap from the drum set that he could do in 1984/85 during “Working For a Living,” *but he got a good jump for it in Portsmouth.

The best part of this, to me, is just hearing Huey sing. If you could take a snippet of him singing today, any song, and play it against the same song, 20+ years ago, I think you’d be hard pressed to know if there was a time difference. Huey takes care of his voice and the results show that. He can still sing as well as he ever did, he can still wail and scream, he can still doo-wop and sing a cappella. He also looks good too. You watch him up on the stage, and he’s running around, and you just know this guy takes his craft seriously, even though it looks like he’s having a blast with it.






*I’m going to go off on a tangent here real quick. When I was a kid, my father recorded a Huey Lewis and the News concert from Showtime or something like that. It took place in Seattle and it was the “Heart of Rock and Roll” tour. I watched the SHIT out of that video. I had always liked their music from hearing it on the radio, but getting to see that video cemented me as a fan. I fell a little in love with Huey back then.

Every damn time I go home, I look for that video. I can see it in my head: a yellow Kodak VHS tape, with this concert and “Back to the Future” on it. I can’t ever find it! But thanks to the kind of people that upload damn near everything to YouTube, I was able to find three songs from that concert. However, my father’s vinyl copy of “Fore!” was something I did steal after I saw the guys in concert for the first time.



And god damn, isn’t he so good looking here?

I decided this time to not take a bunch of photos or videos, and actually go to enjoy the concert. My husband and I each snapped a few pictures on our cell phones, but that was about it. Unfortunately, I can’t find the set list online. However, as par for the course, Huey and the guys opened with “Heart of Rock and Roll.” It still gets me pumped up to see those stage lights go red, the guys come out, and then that thump-thump, thump-thump sound starts. It’s quintessential Huey Lewis and the News. It’s what you know them by. That, and “The Power of Love,” which was part of their encore. I still see Marty McFly, riding his skateboard, late to school and hanging on the back of a Jeep through “downtown” Hill Valley, every time I hear that song.

“Working for a Living” is one of my other favorites. It’s the anthem of the working man (or woman), especially whenever the economy starts to turn south. The lyrics still hold true.

Yeah, some days won't end ever and some days pass on by
I'll be working here forever, at least until I die
Damned if you do, damned if you don't
I'm supposed to get a raise next week, you know damn well I won't

I'm just working for a living
I'm working for a living
Working for a living, living and working
Taking what they giving 'cause I'm working for a living

Hey, I'm not complaining 'cause I really need the work
But hittin' up my buddy's got me feeling like a jerk
Hundred dollar car note, five hundred rent
I get a check on Friday but it's already spent


We were sitting in the middle section, almost dead center of the stage, 10 rows back.

They did play “Whole Lotta Loving,” which got a laugh out of my husband. I leaned over and told him that was my song for every deployment he’s been on.

Tired of these girlie magazines
I want to stop dreamin' and get back home to the real thing
Late last night I read the letter you sent
Woke up this mornin', under a tent
Uh huh, whole lotta lovin', we got a whole lotta lovin' to do

Tired of these girlie magazines
I want to stop dreamin' and get back home to the real thing
Late last night I read the letter you sent
Woke up this mornin', under a tent
Uh huh, whole lotta lovin', we got a whole lotta lovin' to do

My mini bar's empty, but I'm still alive
I'm all alone, but my bed's big enough for a party of five
Tossin' and turnin' until a quarter to three
Can't get to sleep without watching TV
Uh huh, whole lotta lovin', we got a whole lotta lovin' to do
Whole lotta lovin', we got a whole lotta lovin' to do

Ho, it's been weeks since I've seen you
I'm hopin' that you mean it
Tell me that you understand
But there's one little thing that I'm worried about
I hope that you remember who I am, I'm the one with the harmonica

Ho, it's been weeks since I've seen you
I'm hopin' that you mean it
Tell me that you understand
But there's one little thing that I'm worried about
I hope that you remember who I am

I had hoped they’d play “Walking on a Thin Line,” because of the military-theme of the song. Okay, well, really, it’s theme is a soldier returning from Vietnam and having a hard time fitting back into society, but this is a military community here and it’s just such a moving song. However, 37 years of performing together puts Huey Lewis and the News in the same ball field as Billy Joel: no matter how long they play, it’s going to leave you wanting more because there’s so much to choose from. They would have to play for hours and hours, and there would be fans still yelling out different songs.

There was even a new song performed, which means I'm going to have to go look it up on Amazon and see what new music they have out!

Even though a thunderstorm moved into the area, the show continued. Mother Nature wanted to contribute to the light show that night. And despite being under cover, we still got a little rained on. I would have left if the show had to be called on account of unsafe weather, but I was going to stick it out if it wasn’t. But the guys continued to play and even did that encore for us. Huey announced for anyone in the grass seats to come on under the tarp covering. 

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