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Album Review

Kenny Loggins and Jim Messina's combined talents reached a kind of apotheosis in concert, all based on the same relationship they'd had in the studio — Loggins' songwriting and singing, supported by Messina's performing and his long experience with Poco, came to a head on the tour leading up to this concert album, recorded at two East Coast venues in March of 1973 and at Winterland in San Francisco the following month. After a gorgeous yet subdued introduction by Loggins as a solo performer on a handful of numbers, Messina and the band take the stage and loft the proceedings into a bracing mix of folk- and country-rock. And they break those boundaries, soaring into psychedelic territory on the 21-minute "Vahevala," which took up all of side three on the original LP. One would think that everything after that would be anti-climactic, but all involved are just as sharp on the fourth side of more modestly proportioned gems. As praiseworthy as the duo's playing and singing is, one must also credit the rhythm section of Larry Simms (bass) and Merle Brigante (drums), and Al Garth (violin, horns) and Jon Clarke (flute, horns) for their performances. This is a live album that hits on all cylinders, and its only flaw, if there is one, is actually a byproduct of one of its virtues: On Stage was recorded so early in their history that it only really represents the songs off the duo's first two albums (Full Sail wouldn't be out until six months after these shows). Otherwise, it could easily have copped the "best-of" designation in substance, if not actual name.

Biography

Formed: 1970 in California

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '00s, '10s

Kenny Loggins and Jim Messina were the most successful pop/rock duo of the first half of the '70s. Loggins was a staff songwriter who had recently enjoyed success with a group of songs recorded by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band when he came to the attention of Messina, a record producer and former member of Buffalo Springfield and Poco. Messina agreed to produce Loggins' first album, but somewhere along the way it became a duo effort that was released...
Full bio
On Stage, Loggins & Messina
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