The continuation of my quest took me to the Nutmeg State to see Arlo Guthrie at an appearance at Fairfield University in Fairfield, CT. I am mostly unfamiliar with his music excepting, of course, the Thanksgiving staple of classic rock stations, "Alice's Restaurant", and the Steve Goodman (who I saw in concert, when he was alive, opening up for comedian Steve Martin - but, that's another story and this blog is about Arlo Guthrie) penned "The City of New Orleans". .
For those of you who don't know, Fairfield County, in the State of Connecticut, is one of the wealthiest counties in these United States. The campus reflected that with nice new buildings and attendants in golf carts in the parking lots, who offered to transport patrons to the auditorium, free of charge, and back again at the conclusion of the concert. Given that the parking lot I parked in was less than 1/4 mile from the auditorium, and I parked in the farthest one, this seemed fairly superfluous to me, but then again - it isn't my money. Also, this blog isn't about Fairfield University and the frivolous use of tuition monies - so, let me get back to the story at hand.
After arriving at new looking Quick Center for the Arts from my 1/4 mile golf cart ride. I spied the merchandise booth and purchased his "Live in Sydney" CD. Sydney, referring to that city in Australia, and not a person's name - making the two CD set a document of a concert and not a document of some bizarre sexual conquest. I, of course, was interested in obtaining a greatest hits type collection in order to further appreciate his work and to have the knowledge in order to compile the obligatory set list that my friend Jimmy uses in his excellent concert reviews at the Bands Unlimited message board. But you're here because you want to read about Arlo Guthrie and not my friend, Jimmy, not the Bands Unlimited message board, not the CD I purchased (which, by the way is really good and is available at Amazon and at www.Arlo.Net), and it is certainly not about the imagined perversions of a nearly 70 year old grandfather - so let me continue.
I took my seat in the front row in the right corner of the auditorium which was about the size of a modern day movie theatre (I'm referring to the size of the auditorium and not the size of my seat) just before Mr. Guthrie took the stage. He came out wearing blue jeans, a button down shirt, and a black leather vest. He acknowledged the audience and told us that since all the other Sixties bands are reuniting, that this was his reunion tour. And since he is a solo artist - this was his solo reunion tour. He also acknowledged that he hasn't played alone in concert since he was just starting out. His concert was a mixture of songs and stories, which were often hilarious (the stories, not the songs - although, they were fun too.). He is as gifted a raconteur, if not more, than he is a musician. Below is his set list. He played most songs on one of two guitars (although there were three on stage with him) except for "St. Louis Tickle" and "The City of New Orleans" which he played on the auditorium's grand piano.
Chilling of the Evening St. James Infirmary Darkest Hour The Motor Cycle Song Haleiwa Farewell (Haleiwa Blues) Coming into Los Angeles Here's looking at You (new song) Green Green Rocky Road
2nd set: Alice's Restaurant When a Soldier Makes it Home In Times Like These ST. Louis Tickle (on piano) City of New Orleans (on piano) The Old Apple Tree This Land is Your Land
Encore: My Peace
His stories often were about his youth, and he mentioned his father, the late, great Woody Guthrie, often. Of course, two of the songs in his set list were Woody's ("This Land is Your Land" and "My Peace" - which was one of the unpublished lyric sheets that were discovered after Woody Guthrie's death in 1967). If you haven't had the pleasure, I would recommend going to see him.
After the show, a table was set out in lobby for Arlo Guthrie to meet his fans, sign autographs, and pose for pictures. He signed my Woodstock poster, the "Live in Sydney" CD (on the back of the CD booklet making display difficult), the concert program, and I went back to the merchandise booth and bought the 30th Anniversary recording of Alice's Restaurant, which he also autographed.
For those keeping score at home, my Woodstock poster now contains the autographs of: Arnold Skolnick, the artist who designed the poster; Grace Slick, Richie Havens (I purchased the poster with their signatures), Marty Balin, John Sebastian, and Arlo Guthrie.
Next up: Country Joe McDonald on Wednesday, October 3, 2007.
BTW, on my way home - I dropped a bag of litter out of car, down a cliff. Knowing my luck, I'll be arrested for littering (but that will be a whole other story).