Loggins & Messina

19 October 2009

Pikes Peak Centre, Colorado Springs, CO


In 1973, I bought my very first 45 RPM record, "Thinking Of You" b/w "Till The Ends Meet", by a duo named Loggins & Messina. At the time I remember liking the harmonies of what was one of the most sprightly, up-tempo songs on the radio, at a time when the Free World was experiencing a lull of strain & strife.

Little did I know then that I would learn to like an unthinkable quantity of harmony groups, to include even other bands that singer / songwriter / lead guitarist Jim Messina would be a member of, namely Buffalo Springfield and Poco.

I also never would have imagined it would have taken 36 years to finally see this duo in concert.  Apparently Loggins & Messina performed in 1973 at Red Rocks, but I was too many miles away, and probably too young to appreciate.

The Pikes Peak Centre has probably some of the best acoustics, for an indoor theatre, that I've ever heard.  Kenny Loggins, Jim Messina, and their six-piece backing band perhaps may not have even needed amplification.  Thankfully the largely aged demographic of patrons did not result in excessive audience noise, permitting Kenny and Jim to open up with a handful of acoustic songs, including the massive sing-along "Danny's Song", "House At Pooh Corner", "Watching The River Run",

Kenny looks and sounds as fit and healthy as ever, showcasing his outstanding vocal skills during "Georgia On My Mind" / "Back To Georgia". And, while Kenny played some electric guitar during the later portions of the show, the mixing board seemed to have him turned down in favor of the rest of the band.  Jim's signature metal-finger-picking lead guitar was awesome as always, especially on "Listen To A Country Song" / "Holiday Hotel"; his vocals were strong and in tune, though turned down on the mixing board.

The duo apparently felt the need to keep to a formula, performing a set list almost identical to that performed during their 2005 reunion tour.  No "My Music", no "Till The Ends Meet", no "Thinking Of You", no "Love Song". 

Included in the show were a cover of the Lennon/McCartney classic "Two Of Us", which Loggins & Messina also recently performed in their first studio recording in over 30 years, as well as "Be Free", "Sailin' In The Wind", "You Need A Man", and "Vahevala".

An extended version of my favorite L&M track, "Angry Eyes" ended the main set; "Your Mama Don't Dance" encored.

Included in the backing band are former CPR drummer Steve Distanislao, and famous session musician George Hawkins.

Considering how unlikely a pair these two excellent musicians are, many are amazed that they even lasted for one album. But, their volume of a half-dozen studio albums, and a currently very successful string of reunion tours, seems to suggest that diversity can bring unity. The friendship between Kenny and Jim seems stronger now than during the whirlwind days of their career in the 1970s, with both gaining a strong appreciation for each other's strengths.

I'm really glad I finally got to see them!

[****] - Steven T.


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