Arlo Guthrie played to a packed house at the Kimo Theater on Tuesday, April 3, as part of his 'BOYS NIGHT OUT' national tour.
The son of famed folk singer/songwriter and political activist, Woody Guthrie, Arlo first appeared on stage at the age of 13 and never left. He came into his own in 1969, just seven years later, when he took part in the legendary Woodstock Music Festival and released Alice's Restaurant, which soon became a symbol of the late 1960s and is still his best known work.
But his signature song, or a part of it (it lasts 18 minutes and 34 seconds, as originally recorded) wasn't included in the April 3 show. Dressed, hippy-style, in jeans, casual shirt and leather vest, with gleaming, shoulder-length white hair, Guthrie did make reference to it and even strummed a few bars, but chose to focus on other, more traditional compositions. Accompanied by his son, Abe (keyboard) grandson, Chris (guitar) and long-time friend, Terry A La Berry (drums) he kept the audience enthralled for over two hours, with a mix of songs (including his Dad's classic, "This Land Is Your Land") personal memoirs and entertaining stories.
An exceptionally accomplished musician—according to his official website, arlo.net he plays over a dozen different instruments—Guthrie shifted effortlessly between six and twelve-string guitars, harmonica and keyboard, tuning and re-tuning as he went along. The laid back presentation and informal, four man band, gave me the feeling of being in an intimate blues club, rather than a theater.
He did deliver a generous helping of classics from the 60s and 70s, including "Coming Into Los Angeles" and "City of New Orleans," the latter prompting personal references to Katrina and his own efforts to help musicians devastated by that hurricane. Many of the songs, notably "When a Soldier Makes It Home," which he wrote in the late 1980s, are as relevant today as they were back then. And, to drive home how history repeats itself, Guthrie brought things right up to date with the story of how he and other musicians, including Willie Nelson, had organized a bus tour in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Woody Guthrie, whose 100th anniversary comes up this year, would be proud.
Other US cities where Arlo Guthrie's tour bus will be stopping include Los Angeles; Portland, OR; Edmonds, Tacoma and Port Angeles, WA.
Photo courtesy of the Kimo Theater cabq.gov/kimo
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