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POP MUSIC REVIEWS : LOGGINS, McDONALD ARE UP TO THEIR OLD TRICKS

October 13, 1987|DUNCAN STRAUSS

The middle of the road was rain-slicked but well-traveled Sunday when Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald performed separately and together at the Pacific Amphitheatre.

The pair's only Southern California appearance confirmed that you can't teach old dogs new tricks when the old tricks are going over quite nicely, thank you. The best-received part of Loggins' opening segment was a medley of Loggins & Messina hits--some now 15 years old--punctuated by a brief video retrospective of the duo's career. Note to budding entrepreneurs: There's a big future in nostalgia.

Things picked up in the rhythm and soul departments when McDonald hit the stage for his portion. Although his band was every bit the well-oiled machine you'd expect, drummer George Perilli continually constructed slippery, loping rhythms that helped inject spice and feel into the proceedings. And if McDonald hasn't been at the top of the charts lately, he's still at the top of his game as a singer, turning out those smoky, aching vocals with poignant aplomb.

As he established years ago, his voice lends itself exceptionally well to duets; he could probably pull off a convincing turn with Ozzy Osbourne. His collaborations Sunday with James Ingram (on "Yah Mo B There") and Loggins (a fistful of tunes, including "What a Fool Believes") were solid and certainly more than the sum of their parts.

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