Joe Cocker And Huey Lewis & The News Take Santa Barbara Bowl Crowd Down Memory Lane
Sunday night brought a full house to the Santa Barbara Bowl, to see two musical legends at work. Woodstock-alumn Joe Cocker and 80’s legends Huey Lewis & The News were more than up to the task, creating moments to remember as they shared hits from both of their massive catalogs.
It was Lewis’ turn first. His band is one of those legendary groups, who have been together for almost 35 years! Sax player/guitarist Johnny Colla and drummer Bill Gibson were two of the faces featured prominently in those old-school, early-80’s MTV videos that launched the group into superstardom. Who could forget the comedy and heart that those early, groundbreaking pieces of musical art, displayed? The band still plays with the same gusto, flair and panache that they did, decades ago. Then, there is the oozing talent of Huey Lewis. Not only does he still have the trademark smile and blue eyes, but, he has that soulful, raspy voice that crooned us through a decade of mega hits. Just to mention a few: The Power Of Love, Doin It All For My Baby, The Heart Of Rock and Roll, I Want A New Drug, Heart And Soul, Do You Believe In Love, If This Is It, Stuck With You and Hip To Be Square.
Usually an opening band is stuck with the task of rallying up the audience. Not a problem with Huey Lewis. He had the Santa Barbara faithful (composed of an older demographic than Friday night’s Colbie Caillat/Gavin DeGraw show) on their feet, dancing and singing along with most of the words. This was the last night of the Cocker/Lewis Tour and Huey announced that, “you will be getting your money’s worth, tonight!” When the band played Heart And Soul, there was a throng of a response from the seats and you could tell that the band was digging it! The band also did a doo-op acapella performance, where they stood in a line and blazed through some magnificent harmonies.
When Huey Lewis & The News left the stage, there was a tremendous, long ovation. The crowd thought the band was coming back for an encore. But, alas- the night would still have Joe Cocker to come… The news has filtered in that Lewis was taken to Cottage Hospital, after his set, for dehydration. That would explain the shorter set.
Joe Cocker did not disappoint. He hit the ground running, launching into bluesy rockers like, When The Night Comes and The Beatles’ classic Come Together. The 68 year-old still has his pipes! The man can seriously sing- contorting his face and body and becoming each note. The crowd- many of who gathered and danced, in front of the stage, were celebrating like it was the 60’s.
Cocker sang many classics like You Are So Beautiful and Love Lift Us Up Where We Belong. But, the highlight of the evening was The Beatles’ With A Little Help From My Friends (The Wonder Years theme song!). For those who had waited decades to see this man, in concert- they did not go home disappointed
Upcoming shows at the Santa Barbara Bowl include Diana Krall and 311.