I don't know what went on at the Delta Center Tuesday night at the opening concert, but I can sure tell you Kenny Loggins blew us out of our seats at the Capitol Theatre.
Spreading the gospel of his newest album, "Leap of Faith," Loggins wooed a nearly full house of Salt Lakers by taking a seat on the edge of the stage, calling up the house lights so he could see and speak to his audience. What round heels, Salt Lake! A standing ovation he got just for walking out. From the new album he sang "Will of the Wind" a capella and then his beautiful "Cody's Song" with just his own guitar for accompaniment.Loggins told about the song-writing process and how the song he was supposed to write about a christening instead became a song telling his daughter that he wouldn't be living at home anymore. For any family that has survived a divorce, the song touched a tender chord.
Then Loggins began courting his fans with some serious reminiscing as he brought out his entourage with guitars, saxophones and exotic percussion instruments. We all sang along to "Danny's Song," and "Your Mama Don't Dance," which included a low-down harmonica solo by singer/percussionist Vickie Randall. "Celebrate Me Home" had a virtuoso duel between Mike Russo's saxophone and that instrument Loggins sometimes plays and sometimes sings - his voice. Back and forth, the voice and the sax wailed and teased and crescendoed.
Billows of fog rolled up the aisles from the ornate stage of the Capitol, changing colors with the elaborate laser lights. Loggins was grinning and having a great time. The audience was bobbing and weaving and clapping and cheering.
Loggins talked to us about finding and keeping love. He sang "Sweet Reunion" about his sweet Julia and we were all happy for him. Then he talked to us about the tendency to stay in a bad relationship until "something better comes along - I consider that suicide," he said. He told us about making a leap of faith even if it means diving off a high dive not knowing if there's water below and he sang the title song "Leap of Faith." This is one songwriter who knows how to make the moment build. The driving beat just reaches out and pulls you into the music. After the instrumental bridge, Loggin's backup was off-key for a moment but it all pulled together by the end of the song.
A thoughtful moment was when Loggins told about a drive from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles that took about 8 hours because of a toxic spill. "It was like, what's wrong with this picture," he told us. "People were treating it like a tailgate party!" And this led into another killer song from his album, "Conviction of the Heart." You haven't heard rhythm until you've listened to this song cranked up on your car stereo or sitting in the Capitol Theatre listening to it live!
The final number was a song he said he had carried around with him since the days of "Loggins and Messina." "If You Believe in Me" (I will believe in what will be . . . ) and call it gospel, folk, whatever, it rocks.
We're talking three encores. "Footloose," "I'm All Right" and "Forever in My Heart." Hock the typewriter, borrow 10 bucks from Aunt Maude and sell a pint of blood for the other $10, if you have to, but hie yourself down to the Capitol for Wednesday night's performance. Kenny delivers.