Tommy Tutone graced Eugene with a strong performance last Friday night at the Lane County Fairgrounds. The playing was top-notch and the vocals were delivered with the conviction that only a seasoned band could deliver. Yet the once-popular ’80s rock band was relocated to a stage far from the entrances and downwind from the livestock areas. While tune after tune blared out from the stage, much of the set was lost in the fair’s chaos and competing sounds. The location seemed to underserve the band, but they didn’t appear to mind.
Even though the fair was packed, only a handful of spectators gathered for the set. A few more drifted in toward the stage only after frontman and guitarist Tommy Heath and guitarist Kerry Movassagh struck the familiar opening chords of the band’s signature song, “867-5309/Jenny.”
The catchy tune which peaked at No. 4 on the U.S. Bilboard Hot 100 charts in 1982 has since made the popular phone number one of the most sought after numbers in the country. There have been several attempts to buy the number in various area codes, with bids reaching as high as 1 million dollars, according to CNN. On the downside, anyone who has that number is frequented by pranksters looking for Jenny. As a result, the number has become a fixture in pop history.
Part of the legacy of the “867-5309/Jenny” song is the uncertainty of who the mysterious Jenny woman was. Heath addressed the crowd in the midst of his set and explained, “A lot of people ask me about ‘Jenny’. This right here is ‘Jenny,’” Heath jokingly held up his guitar, “and I sleep with her good.”
Tommy Tutone dished out a hot plate of nostalgia that night. Even though the band is legendary in its own right, it decided to pay tribute to other classic 1980s songs. Covered songs included Prince’s “Kiss” sung by the band’s bassist, Federico Pol, and Bryan Adams’ “Run to You” delivered by frontman Tommy Heath. There was something for everyone to enjoy.
Over the years, members of the Tommy Tutone band have come and gone. But even with the fresh additions of Pol, Movassagh, and drummer Everett Carlson, the band was cohesive and pleasantly entertaining. The performance was the perfect compliment to a warm summer night. It was a treat to be in the presence of the band. While it was certainly under appreciated by most, to those that were there, it was an experience to cherish.
To view some of the highlights of the performance, check out the video above.