By: Jay McConnery
Wednesday night at the 2015 Ottawa Jazz Festival welcomed 80's stalwarts Huey Lewis and the News to the Main stage.. The performance opened with rising, pulsing throb of 'Heart of Rock and Roll' as members of the 'News' took the stage with dramatic accent. Appearing unweathered, both in attire and performance, hot-shot Huey swung across the stage pendulously, rising in unison with the show's choreographed energy.
Predictable highlights included Huey's 'Power of Love' and Forefavourite 'If This Is It'. A new guitarist filled the Chris Hayes role competently, massaging Huey's thrusts while adding some textured groans and swells during the Bruce Hornsby penned 'Jacob's Ladder'.
The crowd was somewhat sedate, cheering loudly when a few front row dancers were asked to sit by volunteer security, improving their entitled unencumbered view. They were, however, quick to rise up shortly thereafter, when cocky Huey called them hither. Who could resist such a beckon?
Overall a fun set, with a breakout performance from the lighting director who was almost Farley-esque in his enthusiastic toe-tapping knob-twiddling behind the board. Some might question the integrity of a 80s hit-machine on this bill, but a legend belongs on any stage.