Looking at the cover of Huey Lewis & the News' Live at 25, it's hard not to think, "Wow! I had no idea that the News had 25 members!" Of course, the middle-aged men crowding the cover of this 2005 release number a mere nine, which means the one-time sextet has been expanded with a full horn section (original guitarist Chris Hayes has been replaced by Stef Burns and bassist Mario Cipollina has been replaced by John Pierce, as well). New members and a horn section don't change the basic nature of the band, which hasn't changed since the beginning of its career -- no matter what they do, Huey Lewis & the News are a good-time, good-natured, unabashedly fun party band. That served them well at the height of their fame in the mid-'80s, and it serves them well 20 years later, as they do those big hits -- "The Heart of Rock & Roll," "I Want a New Drug," "If This Is It," "Do You Believe in Love," "Hip to Be Square" (subtly changed to "(Too) Hip to Be Square," although the lyrics haven't been altered) -- balanced with covers and newer tunes that sound as if they could have been good album tracks on Picture This. Although the liner notes don't mention the date or location of the recording of Live at 25, the specifics don't really matter since the album is designed to be less a historical document than a nostalgic souvenir for longtime fans, capturing the group at a quarter-century mark. In that respect, it works well: the song selection is good, the band sounds tight and professional, the production is clean and punchy, and while it's never especially engaging, it is an enjoyable performance. Not essential, and certainly not nearly as energetic as the original LPs, Live at 25 is warm, friendly, and fun nonetheless, a perfectly respectable way to celebrate the group's anniversary.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine