Fun night of music with Jim Messina at the Opera House

Posted:  Tuesday, July 25, 2017 - 11:45am

Jim Messina and his band played the Opera House on Saturday night. The group played a number of Messina’s hits from his time in Buffalo Springfield all the way through Poco, Loggins and Messina and his solo career.

While the jam-based set list delivered fun and talented music, quite a bit of the magic also came between the songs.

“My dad taught me how to play the guitar,” Messina said. “He’s still a better guitar player than I am. Dammit.”

Messina also revealed that the most difficult part of his concerts is the part his wife makes him do— a little self-promotion. When cutting his last album, Messina said he came to realize compact discs were a thing of the past, so when it came to pressing the album, he said, “Let’s do it on vinyl. We’ll put it on vinyl. But then I thought about it and I said, ‘Well, that’s a step backwards isn’t it?’”

His wife pointed out a credit card-looking USB device they had acquired from a function earlier in the year. Without needing the help of his arsenal of hits, Messina then asked what mostly every woman has on her mind from time to time: “… why is it that wives always come up with the best ideas?”

Later in the set, Messina referred back to Cathy Sherrill, executive director of the Opera House, and her introduction to the band. Sherrill had mentioned that the upstairs windows would control the room’s climate and that anyone seated in front of the windows had temperature control.

“Whew!” said Messina. “Who’s controlling the temperature? Holy smokes, I should have worn a Speedo today.”

The audience laughed, cheered and clapped.

“All you have to do is wait ‘til February,” said David Oleyar, fiddler and guitarist. “It’ll cool off.”

“And thanks for the visual, Jim,” added George Hawkins, bass player.

The crowd erupted with laughter.

Then Messina talked a little bit about the next song he was going to launch into — “Kind Woman.” As Messina mentioned, “Kind Woman” was written by collaborator and band founder of Buffalo Springfield, Richie Furay. It was Buffalo Springfield’s last song on its last album, which is why — with a strong Richie Furay-Rusty Young-Jim Messina presence on the song — it more or less established Poco.

However, Messina did not just engineer the track — nor did he play bass as on previous tracks — he played the guitar.

“But I didn’t want to put my name on it because I didn’t want Neil (Young) or Stephen (Stills) to get upset,” joked Messina. “Anyways, don’t tell anybody.”

“What did I do after Springfield,” Messina asked jestingly. “Oh, it was Poco, wasn’t it? So, I’m going to play the first hit that we had. It’s a real thrill for me to actually have a record that sold something. I don’t know, exactly, because I never got paid, but I think it sold something.”

The last thing Messina talked about before the end of his performance was about a song he had written while on the 1989 Poco reunion tour.

“It’s interesting how some of the folks, like Randy Meisner and I, when we got together, were just like brothers. And others like my good friend Richie Furay — his life had totally changed. He went from being a rock and roll star to a minister, so I had a chance to come back from my— evil ways. I didn’t cuss anymore after that, I stopped smoking, stopped riding motorcycles,” said Messina turning to his band. “Actually, I gave up an awful lot, didn’t I?”

The complete set list was “Mojito Moon,” “Keep Me in Mind,” “Whispering Waters,” “Follow Your Dreams,” “Kind Woman,” “Child’s Claim to Fame,” “You Better Think Twice,” “Listen to a Country Song,” “Holiday Hotel” and, after intermission, “Be Free,” “Sinners and Saints,” “Changes,” “Angry Eyes” and, for an encore,“You Need a Man” and “Your Mama Don’t Dance.”