Note: As part of The Tribune’s coverage of the 2013 California Mid-State Fair, we’re running a series of concert reviews. Here, Tribune staffer Angela Lynch reviews Friday's Huey Lewis and the News concert.
A congregation of beaming, gregarious faces filled the Chumash Grandstand Arena at the California Mid-State on Friday night in anticipation of an unforgettable evening with legendary 1980s rock band Huey Lewis and the News.
Smooth jazz group Zzah, the opening act, intoxicated the air with their modern-day sound while the finest wineries in the region poured their award-winning blends into the glasses of eager wine enthusiasts.
By the time Huey Lewis and the News were introduced to the stage, the grandstand seats were filled with fans wearing everything from retro ‘80s rocker garb to their Sunday best.
The crowd erupted into thunderous cheers when Huey Lewis greeted the audience and declared that all were about to enjoy the band’s acclaimed 1983 “Sports” album, cover to cover, in celebration of its 30th anniversary.
Huey Lewis and his fellow band members set the stage on fire with their high-energy performance of the beloved 1984 chart-topper “The Heart of Rock and Roll.”
Dressed in blue jeans and a black, short-sleeve button down shirt, Huey reminded us that a truly great concert is not about fancy wardrobe changes or pyrotechnics, but the performer’s ability to pour his heart out on stage for the love of his fans and the love of music.
Each song was executed with precision and passion, sending the audience time-traveling to an era void of cell phones and internet, where concertgoers still burned their thumbs on their lighters in celebration of the songs that stirred their souls.
Huey commanded the crowd’s attention when he said, “We’re gonna turn the record over, and rock a little harder on side two!”
He dedicated the next song, “Thin Line,” to Vietnam War veterans. It was hard not to notice tears well up in the eyes of the gentleman sitting next to me.
With thousands out of their seats dancing the night away to the “Sports” album in its entirety, the band announced that we were in for a treat. They graced us with a performance of “While We’re Young,” a song that is only 30 days old.
As Huey’s rich voice sang the lyrics “Tell the kids we’ll be late, and we’ll need time to recuperate,” shouts of celebration and laughter echoed through the crowd.
At the end of the evening, Huey Lewis and the News delivered an encore that was nothing short of sensational. They ended the unforgettable evening with a performance of “Power of Love,” “Do You Believe in Love” and “Workin’ for a Living.”
This band is the epitome of why people come to concerts -- for the magic, for the unforgettable moments in life that take your breath away.