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National Beat: Kenny Loggins and Blue Sky Riders at Grand Sierra Resort, Reno

Blue Sky Riders
Blue Sky Riders
All Photos by Nick McCabe - Front Row Photo

Kenny Loggins and Blue Sky Riders at The Grand Sierra Resort

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By Nick McCabe – Front Row Photo
nick.frontrowphoto@gmail.com

Kenny Loggins has been performing since 1966 and found success shining on him as soon as his first album, Sittin’ In (with Jim Messina), released in 1971. Against advice from those close to him (because of…age) he recently started a new band which he brought on the road with him to open his current tour. For his show at The Grand Sierra Resort in Reno, Blue Sky Riders opened up and played a 40 minute set of what I would call soft rock with a country twist. Their first song, You’re Not The Boss Of Me, was written by the three of them together and set the tone for a fun set. They shared that they have a Kickstarter program that fans can get involved in to help them get their newest album produced without the intervention of big business. There are lots of benefits for those who get involved, so click here to find out more. Blue Sky Riders is Georgia Middleman, Gary Burr, and a newcomer named Kenny Loggins. Accompanying the trio on this particular evening was Kenny’s band which would return with him after a short intermission.

Kenny opened his set with Danny’s Song (I’m So In Love With You Honey) from his first album, Sittin’ In. Being such a recognizable song from his vast catalog it received a warm welcome from the crowd. Kenny is a very good story teller too. Some performers either don’t talk to the audience, talk too much, or just don’t have the gift of gab. As a lead in to the next song, House on Pooh Corner, he told the story of having the opportunity to have the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band record this song while he was still an unknown starving artist, but the Disney attorneys kept blocking the way, and Nitty Gritty finally gave up. Kenny shared this disappointment with his then girlfriend who said, “Let me talk to daddy!” Daddy, as it turned out, was the CEO of Disney!!! Talk about falling in sh*t and coming out smelling like a rose! He recorded it himself and it has been a standard of his ever since. Kenny done good!

He also told a good story about the writing of a song about his father’s fear of possibly dying from an upcoming surgery. The punch line was that it was only hemorrhoid surgery. The song is This Is It, and they played a very tight, broody version that was a little more reeled in than the original version. Next up was Whenever I Call Your Name, which he said Stevie Nicks helped him write, and then he played my favorite of the night, Angry Eyes. This song has always been a favorite of mine. It’s got an incredible heavy backbeat to it that makes it almost impossible to sit still too.

By now the audience was up on their feet and dancing along. Most of the audience appeared to be in their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. Moving is an option at the upper end of that range. But move they did! Early in the evening while doing my ‘shooting’ part of this assignment I had noticed steps installed leading from the stage to the main floor. To me this meant Kenny was coming into the audience at some point, and he did. It’s funny to see in these modern ‘techno’ times. When this happens, my pictures of these convergences of performer and audience members are filled with the images of smart phones taking pictures of the stars close up.

They finished the show off with an encore of hits comprised of Highway To The Danger from the movie Top Gun, Footloose, from (you know)…, Your Momma Don’t Dance from his 1972 album, Loggins and Messina, and ending the evening with Forever from his solo album, Vox Humana from 1985.

His band consisted of long time affiliates George Hawkins Jr. on bass guitar, Scott Bernard on guitar, Scott Sheriff on keyboards, and Tommy Brechtlein on drums.

This was a special evening from the start. When I was in line to get my tickets and photo credentials the Entertainment Director for the GSR saw me and told me to come with him after I got my tickets. He took me backstage to get my photo pass from Kenny’s manager. Then Valerie and I were seated in a great booth along with an intriguing gentleman who produces the Nutcracker shows for the GSR, and then Steve, the CEO of the Grand Sierra Resort joined us mid show at our table. I was feeling like a big shot! Kind of anyway. That’s one of the thrilling aspects of what I do. You never know what will happen, or who you will meet.

Please believe me when I say to you, over and over, there’s nothing like going to live shows. Get out there and have some fun.

For a much more complete photo gallery, click here.

…and the beat goes on.