Sunday, November 11, 2007

An Evening with Arlo

Last night was awesome.

I truly think I was more excited about eating at Plush. I really love that place. It's so not what you would expect that it's really good.

Basically it is a little dark bar in a shopping center. The first time we went in, like 4 years ago, it was dark and the area where they now have tables was mostly couches and chairs, places for people to gather. it was more of a night spot than a bar and restaurant. They had an awesome bar menu, but we didn't know anything of a dinner menu.

Three years ago (actually it was probably less than that ago, I think Leda had been born) we had dinner there for the first time. And it was good. The service is good, the food is good, and the atmosphere is just awesome. We'd had dinner at a few other places around the Keswick (The Tavern, the Diner, the Greek restaurant) but Plush is the best of them all and is the only place we eat before a show now.

We had steak for dinner - Brock had the ribeye and I had the filet mignon (of course). And, of course I had the Plush Martini. In fact, I had two! It's a great drink made from Grey Goose vodka, Champagne and a splash of pineapple juice. It is yummy!

After dinner, we headed over to the theater for the concert. NOW, I was excited about the concert, having satiated my need for Plush! This was Arlo's "Solo Reunion Tour - Together at last." We weren't sure what to expect, but when we looked up on the stage, the only things on the stage were a grand piano, a stool and a few guitars. We were in for a treat - Arlo by himself.

When he came out on stage, he explained the meaning of the name of the tour. 40 years or so ago he basically played gigs by himself. He didn't have any band, no backup singers, etc. For the past many years or so, he's played with his kids, other musicians, etc. He decided all these other bands were getting back together for reunion tours, he decided to get back together with himself and go on a reunion tour. Together at last.

He was real good last night. Lots of new stories. Arlo tells the best stories. He can have you laughing hysterically in two seconds flat! He played the staples, City of New Orleans, Coming into Los Angeles, The Motorcycle Song.

Brock and I had been discussing earlier in the evening about the first time we saw Arlo (last night was our third time) and how all I wanted to hear him play was Alice's Restaurant and when he didn't that first time, I was more than fine with it because it had been such an entertaining evening and I knew more songs than I had thought. As we sat down for the evening and Brock went to get us drinks, the couple behind me were talking about the concert and what they expected from the evening and I heard the man state, "I don't care what he plays, as long as he plays Alice's Restaurant." I wanted to turn around and tell the man that he'd enjoy the evening anyway.

At intermission we decided to head over to the coffee shop to get a cup of coffee and use the restroom (the Keswick is notorious for it's long Ladies room lines at intermission). Turns out the coffee shop was closed, but as we were walking through the lobby, we overheard one man say to another, "there's no drums, so I guess that means no Alice's Restaurant tonight." Brock and I looked at one another and laughed - seriously, are there drums in Alice's Restaurant? And, if there are, will it ruin the song to do it without them? (there are no drums in Alice's Restaurant - it's one guitar and a guy singing! Duh!)

Intermission ended and those first chords after intermission indicated to the audience that the time had come - it was time for Alice's Restaurant. It's amazing that the man can remember the song word for word 42 years after first singing it. But as he said last night, it's a song we all know well, especially him!

The rest of the evening was just awesome. More new stories, beautiful and fun songs. He sang Highway in the Wind which Brock has deemed his favorite song and then he ended with My Peace, which was a song written by his father Woody Guthrie. Arlo wrote the music to the song and it's really a pretty song. He asks the audience to sing it with him and he explains that he thinks that music is meant to be sung together so it can go out into the world and brighten it a little (I am totally paraphrasing, but I love the sentiment). He did this song last year as well, and I really like it.

My peace my peace is all I’ve got that I can give to you
My peace is all I ever had that’s all I ever knew
I give my peace to green and black and red and white and blue
My peace my peace is all I’ve got that I can give to you

My peace, my peace is all I’ve got and all I've ever known
My peace is worth a thousand times more than anything I own
I pass my peace around and about ‘cross hands of every hue;
I guess my peace is justa ‘bout all I’ve got to give to you

(words by Woody Guthrie, music by Arlo Guthrie)

It was an awesome evening. We really enjoyed ourselves and hope that Arlo comes back next year! We'll be there!

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