Quirky T was so excited to travel on the Guitar Train to Atlantic City, New Jersey last Friday to see Huey Lewis and the News in concert at Harrah’s Resort Casino. So to answer the question pondered in my April 11, 2013 post, (https://guitartrain.wordpress.com/2013/04/11/the-end-of-live-concerts-by-my-favorites/) it is not the end of seeing live concerts by my favorite performers. And I’m so glad it isn’t. The concert was AMAZING!!!
I was so happy and lucky to be there. My seat was in the 7th row! I’ve never been that close to the stage. I was so close that I could that Huey Lewis didn’t button the bottom button on his shirt. Later on, I could see the sweat spots on the front of his and guitarist James Harrah’s shirts.
The concert started with the song “The Heart of Rock & Roll” http://youtu.be/M7JVlpm0eRs as the band played their 1983 album, “Sports”, in its entirety to celebrate the 30th anniversary of its release. This is the first concert I’ve ever attended where an entire album was played from beginning to end. I know Bruce Springsteen fans are used to this but, as I wrote in my August 15, 2013 post, “The Guitar Train Stops at Ticketmaster”, (https://guitartrain.wordpress.com/2013/08/15/the-guitar-train-stops-at-ticketmaster/) I’ve never been to a Bruce Springsteen concert. At this concert, I was especially excited to hear the songs “Bad is Bad”, http://youtu.be/7CscPTI8fwA “Walking on a Thin Line”, and “Finally Found a Home” played live for the first time. Those songs as well as the other non-hit singles played live did not disappoint.
The first standing ovation came after the fourth song, “I Want a New Drug”. http://youtu.be/N6uEMOeDZsA This song ended the first side of “Sports” and Huey said it was time to flip the record over so to speak and play the second side of the album. He called the first side “the video side” and the second side “the rocking side.” Side two started with “Walking on a Thin Line” which the band wrote for Vietnam Vets and now dedicates to all Vets.
Throughout the concert, Huey was the essence of cool. He moved around to all sides of the stage along with his microphone stand. He played his harmonica attached to a string. I love his harmonica playing since he plays a happy harmonica, not a sad, depressing, twangy harmonica. It goes perfectly with his rocking, mostly upbeat, non ballad songs. This was definitely a rocking concert with barely any lulls. Listening to “Sports” repeatedly in preparation for this concert, has made me change my favorite Huey Lewis and the News album from “Fore” to “Sports”. I definitely did not change back after hearing the entire album performed live for the first time.
After he finished playing all of “Sports”, Huey paused to clean his cool blue tinted glasses. People shouted out requests for what the band should play next. If I was a shouter, I would have shouted out “Couple Days Off”. I would have loved to hear that song live; it’s quite a rocker. Huey listened to the requests but said he wanted to play what he wanted which was a new song called “While We’re Young”. While he was introducing the song, he asked if the audience could pretend they liked it whether they did or not. I liked it and I hope the band does release a whole new album of original songs like Huey has mentioned in interviews as a possibility.
After the new song came the first song the band ever wrote together, 1978’s “Trouble in Paradise”. Throughout the concert, Huey asked the audience to clap. I always dread that since I can’t clap to the beat. That might explain some of my guitar playing problems – not being able to keep time. On the subject of guitar playing, Huey seemed to really enjoy listening to all the musicians’ solos. I was blown away by the fact that Johnny Colla played both the saxophone and the guitar during the concert. Very talented. The next two songs the band played were cover songs – “Some Kind of Wonderful” and “But It’s Alright”. They then played “We’re Not Here for a Long Time (We’re Here for a Good Time)” before leaving the stage for a very quick break.
Huey Lewis and the News came back in force to finish up the concert with “The Power of Love”, “Do You Believe in Love”, http://youtu.be/BzIbyDbmsyg and “Workin’ For a Livin’”. The audience was on their feet from before the break until the very end. Huey was fist pumping with the fans in the first row during most of the last three songs. He really seemed to be enjoying himself. He jokingly said that as a Friday special for everyone who buys the newly remastered CD of “Sports” that night at the venue, he will come to their houses and mow their lawns.
One of the great things about going to concerts is hearing different lyrics or arrangements of songs. For “Bad is Bad”, Huey had to change the lyrics to reflect price increases. So the price at the all you can eat restaurant increased from 1983’s $1.99 to $5.99. The arrangement of “Do You Believe In Love” changed as Huey sang all the lines without back-up singers. (Just like I do when I sing along to the song at home). He also had the audience sing the chorus. (I don’t do that when I sing at home, probably because I don’t have an audience).
In conclusion, Huey Lewis and the News put on an absolutely amazing concert. The only compliant I have is the same complaint I made after the other two times I’ve been to their concerts – the concerts are too short. The band only played for 1 ½ hours. They have so many more songs that they could have played to make the concert at least 30 minutes longer. I wonder why their concerts are so short.
One more note, closer is definitely better. Since it was such a small venue, only seating 1,205, there weren’t any video screens showing close-ups of the band. Since Huey really interacted with the fans right in front of him, some of his facial expressions and gestures probably could not be seen by the fans in the upper levels. Quirky T, in my lucky seventh row seat, could see everything. That great seat has definitely spoiled me for other concerts but it’s not like there’s anyone left for me to see in concert anyway. I loved, loved, loved this concert. I’m so lucky and happy I was able to attend it. I am so greedy that I’m already hoping I can see Huey Lewis and the News again next summer.
sunset in Atlantic City, NJ
Guitar Train passengers, what’s the closest seat to the stage you have ever had at a concert? How did it add to your enjoyment of the concert?