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From the Country Standard Time Archives

Poco shows its roots

The Grove Of Anaheim, Anaheim, Cal., Oct. 10, 2002

By Dan MacIntosh

ANAHEIM, CA - Poco's appearance, along with The Marshall Tucker Band and Dickey Betts, appeared on paper like a musical "One Of These Things Is Not Like The Others" segment, from the old Sesame Street program. One couldn't help but wonder why this country and soft rock outfit was playing along side a couple of Southern rock stalwarts. But even though this veteran group may have rocked it up a little more than usual - in order to better fit into this unusual context - Poco never betrayed its strong song-centered roots.

Co-led by Paul Cotton, who held down lead guitar work and occasional lead vocals, and primary vocalist Rusty Young, who also handled MC duties, this quartet's brief 45-minute opening set was filled with both warmth and professionalism. Cotton may be a little paunchy and gray now, and Young might have completely shaved off whatever hair he had left, yet Poco appeared to still be enthused about playing music together.

The band closed with "Crazy Love," which was sung unplugged and with four-part harmonies, and "Heart Of The Night," which was the only moment where Young's pedal steel playing was heard. The brevity of his pedal steel work was a shame, since his instrumental prowess on it gave this El Lay softie of a song a bit of an extra eerie edge. The group's well-seasoned harmonies were especially on display with the a cappella "Keep On Tryin'," and an early set run-through of "Call It Love" came across as peppy pop.

On a night when long guitar jams were the primary musical focus, Poco provided a much-needed alternative by way of its breathtaking singing and simple songs.