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YOUNGSTOWN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Kenny Loggins gives a true performance



Published: Mon, February 21, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



A spirited, friendly and warm show came from class acts.

YOUNGSTOWN -- Like driving a Ferrari. That is how songwriter, singer and guitarist Kenny Loggins, who is on his first symphonic tour, described playing with the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra on Friday. Other pop stars have said much the same thing about one of Youngstown's jewels.

The same could very well be said about Loggins.

Comparing him to the usual run of pop/rock talents heard on the local airwaves would be like comparing a Ferrari to a broken-down Yugo.

Loggins was born in Everett, Wash., and moved to Los Angeles when still a teen. There, it became evident that his was a major talent, as some of his first songs were used by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band on a 1970 album, among them the hit, "House at Pooh Corner."

He then formed a duo with the former Poco member, Jim Messina, with whom he produced a series of successful albums, before going off on his own in the late 1970s. He produced albums that sold over a million, and several Top 10 hits for movie soundtracks.

He also has done albums for children. As a star in a field where fashions can change rapidly, he shows an ability to adapt, grow and change well above many of his contemporaries.

Cheerful and sensitive

So how was he in person? His style has been described as cheerful and sensitive.

That was evident Friday night in his rapport with the audience. He exhibited that elusive stage presence that lifts the true superstars above the average talents. He also was a true musician, who used no gimmicks, other than the mandatory light display, to artificially enhance his performance, and he didn't really need that.

His music, of course, was based in the rock genre. There was at least one composition that reflected the genre's roots, in that the composition style was reminiscent of that of W. C. Handy. It may seem odd to think so, but it appeared that some of what was played could be a result of a collaboration between Handy and Shostakovich.

But Loggins' talent truly revealed itself in the quieter compositions performed during the middle of the show. It was there that his ability as a singer and performer was most evident.

There was another item that raised the performance above the average pop concert. The Youngstown Symphony was truly included among Kenny Loggins' very talented side men. Although there were many memorable moments Friday evening, this made it even more memorable. It is obvious Loggins is one of those who is not afraid of sharing the stage with equal talents. He also had the audience sing with him in some of his songs.

There should be more such personalities performing with the orchestra.




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