I was sad to come back from a weekend vacation to hear that The Knack's Doug Fieger had passed away after a long battle with cancer. I met Doug in the mid-1990s while we were both checking out a show at The Coach House in San Juan Capistrano.
I also had the fortune to finally catch the band in concert on Dec. 31, 2006 at the Orange County New Year’s Eve - better known as OCNYE - at the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa.
Here is a cut-and-paste of that part of my review that ran on the Register's Web site on Jan. 1, 2007 that focused on the strong set from The Knack:
Indeed, those only catching the action on the main stage missed the best performances of the seven-hour event. Although Tommy Tutone (in a mostly acoustic showcase, with the “867-5309/Jenny” singer-guitarist accompanied only by a drummer) disappointed in the first 10 minutes of his set, a short walk to a nearby stage rewarded with an amazing full-blown performance by the Knack.
Despite the death of the band’s original drummer, Bruce Gary, earlier in 2006, the Knack soared across the last 35 minutes of its set. Singer-guitarist Doug Fieger, who underwent surgery for the removal of two brain tumors only five months ago, led the group in a set that worked the audience near the stage into a festive frenzy.
Performances of their best-known songs (“Good Girls Don’t” and “My Sharona”) were not the only tunes that got the crowd moving. A medley that began with a cover of the Champs’ “Tequila” morphed into a strong mostly-faithful take on the Doors’ “Break on Through (To the Other Side)” that may well have been the single-strongest performance of the night.