Huey Lewis & the News

Live at 25 [DVD]

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Shot live in Chico, CA, in December 2004, the concert DVD Live at 25 coincided with Huey Lewis & the News' 25th anniversary as a band. Like their music, this film is solid and unspectacular, with nothing too flashy, and nothing that will excite many listeners or viewers that are even a bit out of the mainstream, though fans will likely enjoy it plenty. It's a straightforward document of the band playing to an enthusiastic audience on a well-lit stage, performing as a nine-piece that includes a three-member horn section. Huey and his boys cheerfully play their engaging if hardly innovative form of middle-of-the-road roots rock with nods to blues, R&B, soul, and doo wop. The set includes several (though not all) of their big hits, among them passes at "The Heart of Rock & Roll," "I Want a New Drug," "Heart and Soul," "Power of Love," "Hip to Be Square" (here retitled "(Too) Hip to Be Square"), "Do You Believe in Love," and "If This Is Love." For those who want a little more than the same-old, there are covers of classic '60s soul hits with Major Lance's "Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um," the Impressions' "It's All Right," and J.J. Jackson's "But It's Alright." Too, a nice change of pace is offered on a few numbers when the guys line up in a row at the mikes to sing a cappella, or with only sparse instrumental accompaniment. Note, incidentally, that although there is a CD-only counterpart to this release (also on Rhino), the DVD has three additional songs from the concert that don't appear on the CD version, those being "Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um," "Workin' for a Livin'," and the New Orleans-styled "The Rhythm Ranch" (though technically the last of these is categorized as a bonus performance). The extras include an oddly repetitious and brief audio commentary track by Lewis on "The Rhythm Ranch"; a 1985 clip of "Trouble in Paradise"; a 1987 clip of "Stuck With You" (a number one hit that is not performed in the 2004 concert portion); a 1982 clip on which they cover the Hollywood Flames' 1957 rock & roll hit "Buzz Buzz Buzz"; and a quite lengthy (eight-minute) slide show of vintage gig posters and other memorabilia from Lewis & the News' career.

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