Are the stars out tonight?
The reason that I missed Shandelee is twofold: Huey Lewis and the News and Joe Cocker performing together on Sunday night at Bethel Woods ( www.bethelwoodscen
ter.org ). Lewis opened the show and thousands were instantly transported to the ‘80s and the MTV heyday of this hugely successful pop rock band. Having racked up an impressive string of top-10 singles (19 to be precise) on Billboard’s Hot 100, the singer performed many of his signature songs, including “The Heart of Rock and Roll,” “I Want a New Drug,” “Perfect World” and “The Power of Love,” which was nominated for an Academy Award (“Back to the Future”) in 1986.
With his trusty harmonica momentarily at his side, Huey and Co entertained as only they can. “As is our custom, it’s time to do an a capella song” the crooner shouted to the crowd. “So if you know it, sing along—don’t be shy, Bethel!” Hit after hit washed over the audience, reminding me that this phenomenal group has sold more than 30 million albums worldwide. Intrigued by the pairing of squeaky-clean-cut Lewis on a double bill with the once controversial Cocker, I queried some of the folks in neighboring seats, wondering which performer was the draw for them. “Both,” seemed to be the popular response, and I remembered that Cocker is best known for covering some of the worlds most beloved Beatles tunes.
This concert marks Cocker’s third outing in Sullivan County, the first being a last-minute booking in August of 1969, and he reminisced momentarily, describing the Woodstock Music Festival as being “like an eclipse—a very special day.” Joe’s signature gritty voice has caught up with his age, and even though the man sitting next to me asked if he was 80, I assured him that the singer had just turned 68. That said, Cocker has mellowed a bit and left some of his audacious antics behind, but his voice is still mesmerizing and his rendition of the Billy Preston/Dennis Wilson smash “You Are So Beautiful to Me” was so fraught with emotion, it brought the house to its feet as the last notes climbed toward the stars.
But the stars on stage aren’t the only ones to keep our eyes on. The annual Perseid meteor shower (www.star
date.org/nightsky/meteors) is just around the corner, and in the wee hours of August 12 (between 12 midnight and 5 a.m.) the night will be ablaze with shooting stars. This year, the prediction is awesome, with an expected 100 meteors per hour promised to be streaming through the atmosphere and raining upon us, clear skies permitting.