Chicago, with Huey Lewis and the News

At the Santa Barbara Bowl Saturday. June

Reviewed by Lynne Simpson

Saturday night’s show at the Bowl definitely catered to a mature
crowd, but being at the younger end of the spectrum, I too was
taken back to family road trips and late summer nights belting
along to the rock radio staples of my childhood.

The evening began with smooth, raspy-voiced Huey Lewis, who
rocked the stage in tight jeans and a gentlemanly style, harmonica
in tow, and enjoyed undying synergy with the crowd. Men and women —
but mostly women — remained on their feet for flawless classics
like “I Want a New Drug,” “Small World,” “If This Is It,” and
“Power of Love.” The News brought it all together, accompanying
Huey for the “It’s Alright” a cappella, and lead guitarist Stef
Burns stole the spotlight more than once with serious solos. When
the proverbial curtain came down on the first set of the
double-header, most people could have left satisfied. But the
audience endured, and some got what they’d been awaiting for

Chicago took the stage to a transitioning ovation, but quieted
the crowd by announcing that the fans would be hearing some new
tunes from the recently released Chicago XXX album. Indeed, the
performance mind-set of both groups was based on their promotional
antics — Huey Lewis and the News have recently released a greatest
hits album and Chicago is celebrating their first full album of new
material in 15 years.

Perpetual fan favorites such as “If You Leave Me Now,” “Feelin’
Stronger Every Day,” “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?,”
“25 or 6 to 4,” and “Hard to Say I’m Sorry” were outnumbered by the
new material, but still rockin’ after 30-some-odd years in play.
The new music continued the ballad-and-boy-band rock that Chicago
has mastered with the versatile harmony of the saxophone, trombone,
trumpet, guitar, bass, drums, and keyboard together with heavy
vocals and intimate lyrical ability. Huey Lewis joined in on the
hits, reviving the fans and proving that you really can’t have too
many talented entertainers in one band. Both legendary ensembles
played strong for the baby-boomer crowd and gave the sold-out show
one ageless Saturday at the Bowl.


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