Huey, The News, and My Chinese Gang

August 24, 1985
Huey Lewis and the News in Concert
California State Fair
Sacramento, California

I had become pretty close with the gang in my intensive Chinese class at Cal that summer. We were all about to go our separate ways, but we wanted one last chance to hang out together. We had one day: the day before I moved out of my sister’s apartment and Berkeley, and three days before I flew to China for the first time.

So we took a road trip from our various hovels in Berkeley up I-80 to the California State Fair in Sacramento, and we watched Huey Lewis and the News headline the Fair.

Huey and the guys were from Marin County, so it was the home boys playing to a home crowd at a time when the band was at its high point. Its albums were selling well, and “Power of Love” from the Back to the FutureĀ soundtrack was at the very top of the Billboard charts for what would be the first of two weeks.

In short, the stars aligned for all of us that day, and the concert was unforgettable. I have been to some incredible concerts before and since, but I have never seen a performance so perfectly tuned, so in tune with its audience, and so able to lift each of us out of our chairs and out of ourselves.

It was a transcendental moment, an exquisite musical interlude in what would turn out to be the pivotal year of my life.