After 20 years at the University of Oregon, I have retired. So, I will begin posting about my new experiences here and hope you find them interesting.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Getting Footloose with Kenny Loggins on a chilly August night on the Oregon Coast

I am certainly not a gambler - too many years as a chief financial officer I guess - but as it turns out I am really grateful for the new entertainment opportunities offered as a result of the proliferation of tribal casinos. Last year I wrote about having a wonderful time at a Beatles tribute show presented at the Three Rivers tribal casino in Florence, Oregon. This year I had the opportunity to attend a Kenny Loggins concert at The Mill tribal casino in Coos Bay, Oregon.

We arrived in Coos Bay, dropped off our bags at the motel, then drove out to Charleston to walk around the fishing boats docked in the harbor. I decided I wanted to eat lunch at my late father's favorite fish and chips place named "The Seabasket" and true to form, they served me a succulent order of lightly breaded scallops cooked just the way I like them. I could almost imagine my Dad sitting there with me like he had so many times before.

A sea cave worn into the headlands at Sunset B...Although the water was calm inside
Sunset Bay, there were white caps on
the ocean outside the protection of the
cove.  Image by Mary Harrsch.

After we finished eating lunch, we drove out to Sunset Beach. It is nestled in a cove protected from the wind and I enjoyed walking along the beach taking a few photographs. As I looked out towards the open ocean, though, I noticed a lot of white caps so I wondered how comfortable we would be at the outdoor concert.

We drove back into town and went on over to the casino to have dinner. Since it was a Friday The Mill served a marvelous seafood buffet that included a wide variety of dishes including some of my personal "down home" type favorites like tuna casserole and fresh buttered brussel sprouts. If you don't like either of these two dishes, don't worry. They had crab, shrimp, scallops, white fish, salmon, and oysters fixed in just about as many ways as you can imagine! I sampled a few scallops and they were well done but not quite as delicate as those served at The Seabasket though! My Dad was quite a connoiseur of good fish and chips so of course he knew the best place to get them!

After that great dinner, we got in line to be seated for the performance. The Mill set up the concert stage and seating out on the dock where ships used to load lumber when it was a Weyerhauser production plant years ago. Under normal circumstances, you would think that sitting along the waterfront out under the stars on an August night would have been perfectly romantic. But the Oregon coast gets really cold after dark, even in August, so we all had to bundle up in our warmest parkas.

Unfortunately for Kenny, though, he was in shirt sleeves.

Of course, most of the audience, like me and my husband, were older baby boomers so the songs we really wanted to hear were from the 70s and 80s. Early in the show he sang "This is It" which is one of my favorites on his "Biggest Hits" CD that I have in my collection:

But my very favorites are songs he composed for the movies "Top Gun", "Caddyshack" and "Footloose". As the evening wore on, I feared I wouldn't get to hear my favorites after all as I listened, shivering in my seat, through song after song, quite a few, I'm afraid, unfamiliar to me.

About half way through Kenny's performance, he had to stop and warm his hands because he couldn't feel the guitar strings any more! I was afraid he wouldn't be able to continue but after a short break, he started up again.

He finally said he was dedicating his last song to golfers in the crowd and I knew I was going to get to hear "I'm alright!" Still, I was a little disappointed that I was only going to get to hear one of my favorites.

As the first few notes of "I'm alright" were struck, though, almost the entire crowd leaped to its feet and started doing the "gopher swivel", cheering and clapping deliriously. Apparently that song was a lot of other people's favorite too!

The crowd's enthusiasm seemed to breathe a little more life back into Kenny and, even though he had bid us good night, he came back on stage for an encore and I immediately recognized the opening chords for "Footloose".

Kenny actually went the extra mile and sang four more songs - more during an encore than I had ever enjoyed from any other entertainer. I was a little disappointed that I didn't get to hear him play "Danger Zone" but I found out Kenny, who opposed the war in Iraq, didn't like the association the song had with military aggression:
Go to a Kenny Loggins concert today, and chances are you'll hear the chart-busting movie hit 'Danger Zone.' But during the first US-Iraq skirmish in the early '90s, Loggins stopped playing the song, upset that it had been associated with military action.
"Back then CNN was using it as background music for the bombing of Baghdad, and it turned my stomach," Loggins tells Spinner. "So, I didn't perform the song for quite a while."
Of course, the song had already been associated with the military, having been famously used in the fighter pilot flick 'Top Gun' with Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer. Because of that, it became associated with real-life fighter pilots during the Gulf War a few years later. - Spinner
I certainly respect that! Although the article said you probably would hear it at a Kenny Loggins concert now, he apparently is still refraining from playing it because of  continuing US involvement in Iraq and the ongoing war in Afghanistan.  So we just must be content watching the original video from the movie:

For a couple of months before the concert, the casino had placed a Kenny Loggins favorite song survey on their website and I had dutifully voted for "Danger Zone". Actually, this type of promotion is a pretty good marketing tool for the band if more bands would use it. It's certainly one sure way to be sure you're going to play the songs a particular audience wants to hear!

I see that Three Rivers in Florence has an Elvis impersonator coming in January. My husband agreed to go if I wanted to. I was more of a Beatles fan than an Elvis fan - Elvis was my older sister's heart throb - but I would still enjoy hearing his music and seeing the performance. The casino has divided the music into decades and the 60s is set for Friday night. I think I'll get tickets for it since I was in high school during that time and we might get to sample another great seafood buffet!

Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow the Greatest Hits of Kenny Loggins
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