Kenny Loggins displays versatility beyond "soft rock" in Manila concert

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The more than a decade's wait for American singer-songwriter Kenny Loggins was worth it as Filipino fans filled up the SMX Convention Center for his concert held last night, May 22.


American singer-songwriter Kenny Loggins rarely visits the Philippines to reconnect with fans who grew up listening to his brand of music categorized as "soft rock" and "adult contemporary."

While peers and well-loved foreign acts have constantly included Manila in their itinerary, it took Loggins a little more than a decade before returning to the country to perform the hits that made him an international star.

The longing to see and hear Loggins was obvious based on the number of people who attended his one-night concert held last night, May 22, at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.

Loggins jumpstarted the show with an abbreviated version of "Danny's Song," which is a reasonable choice since it is one of the 63-year-old singer's distinct hits especially here in the Philippines.

Chronologically speaking, "Danny's Song" was Loggins's first certified radio hit during the '70s, although he was widely identified at the time as half of the pop-rock duo billed as Loggins and Messina.

The crowd, as expected, was appreciative of the effort and immediately sang the lines to earn the approval of Loggins, who performed the song with an acoustic guitar.

Even though we ain't got money / I'm so in love with you honey... goes the familiar line, which perfectly encapsulates one's uncomplicated view of love (matched only perhaps by the Eagles's "Love Will Keep Us Alive") during those carefree years.

BROAD REPERTOIRE. "Heart To Heart" and "This Is It" also took ardent listeners back to the soft rock era of the '70s.

There was a period when the title, King of the Movie Soundtrack, was bestowed on Loggins due to a string of hit singles he wrote for Hollywood film projects such as Caddyshock (1980), Footloose (1984), Top Gun (1986), and Over The Top (1987).

Loggins introduced his next song at the concert simply as a soundtrack for the 1996 movie, One Fine Day, which starred Michelle Pfeiffer and George Clooney.

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That song is the popular ballad, "For The First Time." Now, there are instances where a theme song plays second fiddle to a movie's overall success and eventual legacy.

But there are other soundtracks which assume a life of their own and even outlive the movies they came to represent.

Filipinos love listening to ballads on the radio. "For The First Time" has the right formula to withstand the passage of time and trends.

The crowd proved exactly that by singing along, while at the same time enjoying Loggins's smooth delivery of the Oscar-nominated love song.

Although it has been years since the release of Loggins's 1994 children's album project, the singer-songwriter demonstrated anew that playful side of him by performing "Return To Pooh Corner."

Illustrations of the popular children's literature character Winnie The Pooh flashed on the giant screens placed at both sides of the stage while Loggins was performing the song.

Loggins returned to familiar territory via "Whenever I Call You Friend, "a 1978 smash hit he recorded together with Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks.

"Leap of Faith," taken from the singer-songwriter's 1991 album of the same name, followed next, and it became obvious that Loggins wanted to share the spotlight with his bandmates to allow the musicians to brandish their virtuosity.

Guitarist Scott Bernard did exactly that, and even more, as he electrified the crowd through licks and impressive solos to beef up Loggins's inspired performance of "Celebrate Me Home."

The next songs, "Mr. Night," "Conviction of the Heart," "Your Mama Don't Dance," and "I'm Alright," had a jamming feel and interaction between the singer and his backup group.

ENCORE. Loggins and his band returned to the stage after a brief interlude to accommodate the audience's clamor for more songs.

The crowd was chanting "Footloose," prompting Loggins to jokingly reply, "We'll get there!"

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It was evident that the mood was gearing towards the request as Loggins opted to perform two rocking tunes: "Don't Fight It" and "Danger Zone."

Released in 1982, "Don't Fight It" showed Loggins stepping out of country-like ballads and flirting with a rock arena sound with the help of former Journey lead vocalist Steve Perry.

"Danger Zone," on the other hand, is a rock song written for the 1986 Tom Cruise film, Top Gun.

The crowd went into a frenzy the minute the familiar chords of "Footloose" boomed from the speakers.

By this time, security personnel were helpless to restrain the crowd—particularly those seated at the front rows—from standing and dancing to the beat of the hit single, which spent three weeks at the top of the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 when it was launched in 1984.

The evening ended with the song "Crossroads," before Loggins wrapped up his set with another hit ballad, "Forever."

The Concert King and longtime Kenny Loggins fan Martin Nievera emerged from the side of the stage to sing with his idol.

Martin's not-so-secret participation in the concert was well received and he even dished out some of the lines in Filipino much to the amusement of Loggins.

Most of the concert-goers felt the overall show was a little brief and loyal fans were, of course, expecting to hear more from Loggins's vast catalogue of hits.

Regardless of the mixed feelings from the concert goers, Loggins proved that he is still very much on top of his game as a singer-performer and never mind if years have stripped that great voice of his of some of its range.

Hopefully, and after seeing the warm reception from Filipino fans, the critically acclaimed singer-songwriter would return to Manila for another show.

Hearing "Meet Me Halfway" next time around would also be nice.

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