Tour celebrates earlier, happier days
By Wayne Harada
Advertiser Entertainment Writer
Of their "Sittin' in Again" reunion tour, which rolls into Hawai'i this weekend, Kenny Loggins said it best:
"This is all about celebrating earlier, happier days we were there for a bunch of people in a particular time, where people were making a passage into adulthood.
"We became a soundtrack to that package, and because of that I notice when we go on stage a lot of people in the audience really are wrapped up with their own memories, practically swooning, not overtly about somebody, but about the memories from their own lives. It's a kick to see them, to be so much of their lives then, and now."
Loggins and ex-partner Jim Messina will revive their music and likely relive some of their personal memories when they perform tonight at the Blaisdell Arena and Sunday at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. The pair of shows brings to a close their first reunion tour since their 1976 split.
"Interestingly enough, this reunion reminds me of the last concerts we did in Honolulu," said Messina. "Happy memories abound. Hawai'i always has been one of our favorite places."
After a 30-year split, they felt the time was right for renewing ties "and enjoying each other's company again," said Messina.
Loggins & Messina they're both 57, though Messina turns 58 in December have been back together since June, when they embarked on a summer tour. The new bond was triggered by a 2004 charity event in Santa Barbara, Calif., when L&M shared the stage and realized what they've missed since the breakup.
They've always believed in "never say never," though a reunion a decade ago would not have been likely. They're both in a different space now and that allowed the opportunity to reconnect.
"I needed something to keep me busy, take me away really away from my everyday life," said Loggins,who had been moping over his divorce from wife Julia, with whom he had nurtured a New Age lifestyle.
"To get back together with Jimmy, I was able to reflect back to my youth. Certainly, the reunion occupied my recent life with things other than divorce."
Loggins was chomping on cold potatoes while chatting from his hotel room in Mashantucket, Conn. He seemed relaxed, at peace, happy; he was gushing over the prospect of reconnecting with L&M's Hawai'i fans.
"I'm doing much better now, with a better awareness of who I am. I'm more willing to admit my weaknesses and strengths," said Loggins.
What many fans don't know about, because neither commonly discusses it, is the rivalry that persisted within the Loggins & Messina partnership in the first go-round.
"The jealously and the competition have turned down to a simmer," said Loggins. "Sometimes I get competitive, as does Jimmy, but that's the nature of being in this work. We enjoy each other now and only do music of that earlier time. That's the reason for this tour go back to the past."
Messina, speaking on another day on a cell phone from the Mojave Desert while commuting from one California gig to another, said the homecoming has been occasionally emotional, particularly when he's on stage.
"I've tried to do everything to hold the tears back," said Messina. Reflection and reunion do that to you, he said. "You know, test your emotions.
"But it's been much easier than I imagined (to link up again). I think time has matured us both; we had resisted, but it was inevitable."
"We definitely get along better now," said Loggins. "We had that moment of reckoning and we survived. Jimmy and I are more gentle with each other."
A seal of approval from the contemporary audience has certainly helped, said Messina.
"A range of listeners have been showing up," he said. "We have such a mixed crowd parents who listened to us before are bringing their kids, so we have anywhere from 5- to 15- or 18-year-olds and folks in their 50s and maybe 60s. Our base, generally, is 40-to-60-year-olds."
About a month ago, between tour dates, Messina quietly slipped into Hawai'i to uncoil and regenerate. "I was burned out from touring," he said. "I took my son, Julian, 13, and the lady of my life for the past five years, and we went snorkeling. Well, they did more snorkeling than I did, but I got (sun)burned a bit."
Hawai'i, he said, has been so much a part of his makeup. "Maybe I was Hawaiian in my prior life," said Messina. "It's always felt like home to me. There was sadness shared by Hawai'i fans when we first broke up."
Loggins' has chalked up his share of solo hits, which eluded Messina. Loggins' signature tunes, since the split, include "Footloose," "Whenever I Call You Friend" (with Stevie Nicks), "I'm Alright," "This Is It" (with Michael McDonald), "Danger Zone," "For the First Time," and "Celebrate Me Home."
Messina reunited with Poco, his former group, but their recordings didn't win big sales or much attention.
THE WAY THEY WERE
In their prime, Loggins and Messina had quite a few chartbusters, including "Your Mama Don't Dance," "House at Pooh Corner," "Danny's Song," "Angry Eyes" and "Lahaina," a local favorite.
"The Best: Sittin' in Again" disc has been released by Sony, recycling the duo's early hits. (Note: "Lahaina" is not on the CD, and it has to be specially inserted into the Hawai'i show.)
The tour has been very successful, so there's talk about another one. A break would enable both artists to still tend to solo obligations and priorities.
For Loggins, the Hawai'i stop may be somewhat bittersweet.
"Hawai'i has been difficult for me since the separation (divorce)," he said. "We owned a home on the Big Island, which I've sold. I think I'll spend most of my time in Honolulu, because it's where Julia (his ex) and I rarely were. The hardest part ... is the old memories. It's taken me a long time a year and a half now to get over it. Everything I've ever had, I had to let go, and there were some deep clawmarks along the way. I guess it's a nature of the process. Like grief, you can't rush loss. You need time.
"But I've been feeling really good. In the process of going out on stage, I remember who I am in making others feel good, too; you send it to them, they send it right back. And that's how you heal."
Reach Wayne Harada at email@example.com.