It may be a stretch to call Huey Lewis and the News hot again, but the group is at least lukewarm for the first time in more than a decade.
Just two years ago, Lewis was a literal punch line, the name Borat gave to his son. Now, the band is featured on a hit movie’s soundtrack and playing the occasional sold-out show.
The upturn for the affable group is, in a word, unexpected. Sure, Huey sold more than 10 million albums in the 1980s, but the group has been on the nostalgia circuit ever since.
Blame Seth Rogen for the turnaround, at least in part. The actor tapped the group to record the theme for his stoner comedy “Pineapple Express,” and suddenly, Huey was getting name-checked on hip blogs.
So while it might be a slight stretch, let’s call the group’s sold-out show at the Tulalip Amphitheatre on Thursday night a triumph — a return to form for a band that always had a good sense of humor and a better sense of melody.
Early in the set, Lewis looked out at the capacity crowd of 2,300 and asked who had never seen the group before. Easily half the crowd cheered loudly.
“Wow,” he said, sounding genuinely surprised. “Where’ve you been?”
The group went on to play “the parade of hits,” as Lewis called it, to the often enthusiastic audience. The set hit several high points, with both “The Power of Love,” and “Workin’ for a Livin’ ” inspiring crowd sing-alongs and extended ovations.
At moments like that, you could almost fool yourself into believing you had gone back in time. The eight-piece band was spry, and Lewis, dressed in tight jeans and a trim black shirt, seemed younger than his 58 years.
The group also played fresh material. In the second half of the show, Lewis brought out Woodinville resident Emily McIntosh to sing with him on “Cruisin’,” a song he did with Gwyneth Paltrow in the blink-and-you-missed-it film “Duets,” from 2000.
“We can never do it, because, well, Gwyneth never shows up,” Lewis said.
Before taking the stage, McIntosh said she was asked to sing just two days earlier. And, oh yeah, she didn’t really know the song.
“I have been living and breathing this,” she said.
It showed. She nailed it, singing the track alongside Lewis like a pro.
Lewis mixed in other new songs, including the “Pineapple Express” theme. None sounded off, but the crowd was usually much more receptive to the tested hits.
In the end, it seemed that despite the bump in popularity for Huey, old News remained the best News.
Reporter Andy Rathbun: 425-339-3455 or email@example.com.
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