"Live at 25"


At the quarter-century career mark, Huey Lewis has R&B to thank not only for his group's longevity but also for insulating it from passing pop trends. He still sings street-corner doo-wop shoulder to shoulder with his bandmates onstage, still constantly mines horn-powered soul music traditions when standing front and center and still blows blues riffs on harmonica. If he has any intention of updating his sound, he's not letting on.

That's why "Live at 25," released simultaneously on CD and DVD, is both a sturdy and unsurprising retrospective. Recorded in a modest-size venue in California last fall, the hits are all here, including "The Heart of Rock & Roll" and "Workin' for a Livin'," most of them faithfully rendered by Lewis and the eight-piece News. Lewis's weathered voice is in good shape throughout, and the combination of Stef Burns's lead guitar work and several punchy horn charts helps jack up the bar-band sound.

The DVD includes some special features, including performances drawn from vintage concert and TV appearances. Watching Lewis perform "Buzz, Buzz, Buzz" on "American Bandstand" in 1982 is a particularly vivid reminder of how far he's come and how little he's changed.

-- Mike Joyce

Appearing Sunday at Wolf Trap.

Huey Lewis & the News, a shining example of constancy.