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Huey Lewis brings good News to Pechanga Casino

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Huey Lewis & The News

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For me, Huey Lewis & The News has always been one of those bands that I enjoyed listening to on the radio or as part of a soundtrack to an 80’s movie, but I never felt compelled to catch them live. So when one of my friends asked if I was going to photograph their show at Pechanga Resort & Casino I had to stop and ask myself why I felt that way. I found the answer to be “why not?” Since Pechanga Theater is one of my very favorite venues I quickly made arrangements.

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If you are considering catching a show at Pechanga, don’t even think about it, pick up your tickets now. There is not a bad seat in the house, the sound and lighting are world class, and the staff could not be nicer!

The show was scheduled for 8pm, but started at a respectable 8:15 which I attributed to the late-arriving crowd. I knew the show was sold-out, but when the clock approached 7:50 and the venue was still less than half full I started to wonder…. But not to worry, the place was packed by the time Huey took the stage.

Opening with Heart of Rock & Roll was a smart move, getting the fans up and dancing right off the bat. Now I usually cringe the minute I see someone bust out a harmonica but Huey Lewis is very subtle and tasteful with his playing, and I thank him for it. He followed it up with Heart and Soul, Bad is Bad, and New Drug. Lewis still sounds as good as he ever did, even if he isn't quite as spry. The band is tight too, with a decent horn section to back them up.

The highlight of the show for me was their rendition of Bruce Hornsby’s Jacob’s Ladder. They played an extended version featuring a rocking solo by guitarist Stef Burns. The next segment left us all rather puzzled as Lewis introduced an “A Cappella” performance by the band members. Unfortunately, Lewis was a little unclear on the definition of “A Cappella” as the numbers had full musical accompaniment including bass, guitar, horns, and a beat box. Although the songs (Um, Um, Um.. and Little Bitty Pretty) were fantastic, they leaned more towards the Doo-Wap style from the 50s. Needless to say this in no way detracted from the quality of the performance, though, as Huey Lewis & The News have improved with age.

The tour continues in:
Englewood, NJ on March 19
York, PA on March 20 and
Bethlehem, PA on March 21

Setlist:

Heart of Rock & Roll
Heart and Soul
Bad is Bad
I Want A New Drug
Perfect World
Doing It All For My Baby
Jacob’s Ladder
Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um
Little Bitty Pretty
While We’re Young
Some Kind of Wonderful
But It’s Alright
We’re Not Here For A Long Time (We’re Here For A Good Time)

Encore:
Power of Love
Do You Believe In Love
Workin’ For A Livin’

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