Good Feelings at the Beach, Poco and Loggins & Messina at Jones Beach

One of the best double bills at Jones Beach this past summer was Poco opening for Loggins & Messina on August 23rd. In fact had the headliner Loggins & Messina not been so tight, Poco, as the opening act, could have easily eclipsed it. The current incarnation of Poco features original member Rusty Young and longtime member Paul Cotton. The two and their band began the show performing the most familiar songs from the Young and Cotton version of the group, such as “Under The Gun,” “Rose of Cimarron,” and “Indian Summer.” The smooth pop of those songs still sounds fresh and the crowd loved it. However, on this night, longtime Poco fans were treated to Richie Furay re-joining the group. Furay, one of the founding members of Buffalo Springfield and a founding member of the original Poco, was greeted warmly by the crowd like he was a long lost friend. With him they performed such classic Poco cuts as “Good Feeling To Know” and “Kind Woman.” They were also joined by their ex-drummer George Grantham, who has recently been ill, but who sounded in fine voice on “Pickin’ Up The Pieces.” To cap things off, Jimmy Messina, who like Furay was a member of Buffalo Springfield and Poco, joined the band for “You Better Think Twice.” Messina has only joined the group twice during this tour, both times when it opened for Loggins & Messina: at Jones Beach and the previous night in New Jersey. It was also the last night of Poco’s tour.

As good as the Poco set was, Loggins & Messina, on its second reunion tour (the first being in 2005), put on an exceptional show. This is a tight, well-oiled machine. As well-produced as Loggins & Messina’s albums are, the group’s live show is dazzling. Mixing rock, pop, country, and improvisational playing, as well as New Orleans jazz, L&M has an unmistakable American musical sound that has not dimmed over the years. Long, suite-like songs such as the trilogy “Lovin’ Me/Make a Woman Feel Wanted/Peace of Mind,” “Changes,” and “Angry Eyes” showed off the group’s intricate musicianship. Although the group did perform such hits as “Your Mama Don’t Dance” and “House at Pooh Corner,” it didn’t perform “Danny’s Song,” the only disappointment of the evening. The group also performed a cover of the Beatles’ “Two of Us,” which is on Loggins’ forthcoming album for Disney, All Join In. This is the first time the two have worked in the studio in years, and given how enthusiastically the crowd responded to the song, let’s hope more Loggins & Messina studio material will happen again sometime soon. The blend of the duo’s voices is still magic and although Loggins sometimes appears to be the more commanding singer, Messina’s singular plucky guitar style and leading of the band and the sound shows how the equal talents of these two make them one of the greatest American duos in musical history.

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