I’ve been to lot of concerts, and in almost every case the artist plays most of the songs you know and love, but then they will pull a deep cut or new piece out of their hip pocket. Not the case tonight; Loggins gamely paraded out almost every song from which he’s made a hit, and the boisterous sellout crowd appreciated every moment. These songs weren’t just familiar though; these songs were friends. They were family. There was a great comfort in that familiarity, and with each piece, Loggins constantly assured and reassured the audience on the joyful journey he led them on.
With the mood comfortably set after the fiery opener, Loggins settled in with stools for himself and the band and wove through some of his softer acoustic-driven hits from the 70s, including “Whenever I Call You Friend”, “Danny’s Song” (the entire audience in multipart harmony in the chorus was truly lovely), and “What a Fool Believes” (the charming arrangement from the 1993 gem Outside: From the Redwoods, for you aficionados).
At 74, you could imagine that a nimble singer like Loggins might have lost a bit of his vocal edge over time, but he demonstrated great facility, articulation, and warmth, with his power and signature sound entirely intact. Sure, a song or two had dropped a half step in key, or through innovative arrangements other band members tackled some of the highest notes, but absolutely nothing was lost here, and there was actually a treat in store; more on that later.
Leaning further into his collaborations with Michael McDonald, the band galloped through “Heart to Heart” and “This is It”, the crowd swelling to a frenzy at the latter. Loggins’ demographic might best be described as “yacht rockers”, with most of us in our 40s/50s/60s; but the great part about that kind of crowd is that they are generally also grownups, and while wildly appreciative of everything (more than 2/3 of the songs receive standing ovations), they were also orderly and, well, respectful. It was really a warm treat.
A big surprise was next in “Celebrate Me Home”. A downtempo piece, it felt like it was supposed to be a breather in the middle of the show, but no song got a more intense reception. The audience sang, and loved, and ovated for more than a minute at the end. You could see Loggins and crew really enjoying both the show and the crowd. The energy in the room fairly crackled throughout.
After "Conviction of the Heart", the rest of the show was all movie songs, each of which was met with thundering approval: “Meet Me Halfway” (from Over The Top), “I’m Free” (from Footloose), and “I’m Alright" (from Caddyshack), which closed the main set and almost brought the roof down. After an extended and deafening standing ovation, the band came back and ripped through “Playin’ With the Boys” and “Danger Zone" (from Top Gun), and closed with “Footloose”. Not to be deterred, the audience howled loudly until a second encore was granted, which was a lovingly bare stripped-down version of “Forever” (From the short film Access All Areas). Well, the first half was stripped down anyway; the band came in near the end to punctuate the final chorus, an incredibly effective arranging tactic. We finally discovered why Loggins had been changing keys and farming out some of the vocal gymnastics –- he had saved the best for last. The final note of “Forever” is a high Bb, and for a moment I thought he might not quite get there considering the way he’d handled the rest of the show, but I shouldn't have had a moment's doubt - there it was in all of its trumpeting glory, held for a full 4 bars. Loggins planted it harder than a Simone Biles vault landing. Color me gobsmacked!
It brought me great joy to see Loggins still able to keep the fire burning, if you’ll pardon the inside pun; and it was an even greater joy to look around the room and see the love in everyone’s eyes and hearts. This concert was an event I will remember for a very long time.