With its own litany of hits and platinum album sales, Huey Lewis & the News is a bona fide headliner -- and has been for nearly 45 years. So if it's going to be an opening act or special guest for anybody, the situation needs to be right.
And it is with Jimmy Buffett, who Lewis and company have been playing dates with during the past two years.
"It's very, very interesting," Lewis, 65, says by phone. "We go down really well and I didn't expect to. I thought the Parrotheads would be like the Grateful Dead audience, the Deadheads; They're the worst people to play for. If you open for the Grateful Dead, forget about it. So kind of expected the same thing."
Fortunately he's found that the News' blend of pop, rock and R&B, not to mention a catalog that includes a dozen Top 10 singles, goes down as easy as a cheeseburger in paradise.
"We just do our thing, and what's interesting is they know our songs," Lewis says. "We've got hits, right? And they know all the songs. It's kind of like a new old audience; They're old enough to remember our tunes, but back in the 80s when our tunes were on the radio they were Jimmy Buffett fans, not Top 40 people.
"Buffett and I were on the opposite ends of the hit parade, as it were. And yet we're very similar people in a way, and 40 years later...It's just very interesting. So the shows have been great, better than we could have hoped."
And while the News has Buffett beat when it comes to sheer volume of hits and album sales, Lewis still admires the franchise his touring host has built over the years.
"He's got the best hit in the world, 'Margaritaville,' the one song you wish you could've written," says Lewis, who's working on new News material and is helping to produce a musical based on the band's catalog. "'Margaritaville' is a brand, so forget it. He can hang a whole lifestyle and a whole image on that, and people buy into it in a huge way.
"Just being a little part of that is pretty intoxicating and fun to see, y'know?"
Jimmy Buffett & the Coral Reefer Band and Huey Lewis & the News
7 p.m. Saturday, June 18.
DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road at I-75, Independence Township.
Tickets are sold out.
Call 248-377-0100 or visit palacenet.com.
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