On Friday, May 30, 2008, I returned to the Turning Point in Piermont, NY to see Richie Havens. I had seen the folk legend in the Woodstock movie and had heard some of his music; however, I hadn't had the pleasure of experiencing him. therefore, I was curious. Also, the poster that I originally purchased already had his already afixed to it in pencil - and due to handling the signature was starting to rub. Therefore, I also wanted to re-obtain his signature.
He played two shows that night and I opted to attend the late show. He played about 90 minutes. I was unfamiliar with most of his material, but he played about a dozen songs during his set. He was accompanied by Walter Parks on guitar and Stephanie Winters ..o. On speaking with Mr. Havens after the show, he does not play with a set list - he only knows the first and last songs that he will play and the rest he does as the mood strikes him. Mr. Parks and Ms. Winters (who used to play together as The Nudes) just go with the flow.
Richie Havens plays in a very unique style. Most of his chords are formed by pressing his thumb over the fretboard which can be seen on his website(How Richie Havens Plays). He opened with Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower", then played "Handouts in the Rain". He played another half dozen tunes before launching into another Dylan cover of "Maggie's Farm". Although, it wasn't solely "Maggie's Farm". Halfway into the song, he shifted into the Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again". In addition to the songs, he also told stories in between which were sometimes poignant and sometimes hysterical. He made a point to demonstrate how we are all related by discussing the old "The Adventures of Superman" telvision show. He started by singing the instrumental theme then started the narration. He started saying "Faster than a ..." and prompted the audience for a response - to which he recieved a rousing "...speeding bullet". This continued through "More powerful than a ..." "... Locomotive" and "Able to leap tall buildings..." "...in a single bound". He then continued with "fighting for truth, justice, and... and... and... the American Way". He then said that he thought that fighting for truth and justice was the American Way. He closed with "Freedom" and encored with his version of "Here Comes the Sun".
After the show, he met his fans, took pictures, and signed autographs. I had him re-autograph my poster, and obtained a signature for, my friend, Gary. I also had my picture taken with him (Thank You, Kristin).
I also saw and met Bill Kreutzmann of the Grateful Dead on Sunday, June 1 - but, that's another blog.