You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant–‘ceptin’ Alice!

Posted: January 24, 2015 in Non-Fiction
Tags: , , , ,

ConcertFriday, January 23, 2014 my wife and I drove to the Capitol Theater in Clearwater, Florida. We were about to experience one of my favorite bards. A folksinger that defined an era just like his father before him. We stopped for dinner at O’Keeffe’s Tavern and ate as healthy as one could in public house. The aliments of age perched on both of our shoulders waiting with the patient of buzzards. Once fed, it was back in the car for a 10 minute drive to the theater.

Remember, when you were younger and went to a concert. You’d walk two miles or more, possibly park somewhere illegally, before you’d pay a lot or valet to park your ride. Yea, not when you are about to breach sixty years of young. Now I am one of those guys that does just that, pay the fee and walk right in—no mess, no fuss; except your pocket is twenty bucks lighter. But hey, you’re at the front door!

The venue was spectacular and cozy and the show was sold out. Like who wouldn’t have wanted a ticket to “Alice’s Restaurant 50th Anniversary Tour” starring one of the greatest folksingers of the ’60’s—Arlo Gutherie. That’s 1960’s not 1860’s for all you young ‘uns. This music man played at Woodstock and embodied the restlessness of the anti-establishment movement. He grew up in a music household with a famous father, Woody, who was a poet, a writer, an author and musician. Arlo followed in his father’s footsteps and his most famous song, Alice’s Restaurant,” which is really not about the restaurant but about the draft, defined all of us that grew up in that decade.

We took our seats and waited for the show to begin. The stage was lit with blue light and an emcee came out and gave a brief commercial on the up coming events.

Dude, let’s get on with the show.

Once he left the stage, I took a picture of it and posted it to Facebook. My nephew immediately respond and said, ”There sure is a lot of white hair in the audience.”

He was a very observant individual.

The lights dimmed and it was showtime. Suddenly, we were watching a claymation movie of Arlo Gutherie’s, “I Don’t Want a Pickle, I just Want to Ride My Motorcycle.” Then the band came out on stage and picked up the refrain as the animation ended. The show only got better.

We not only got to hear those songs that ran us backwards to our time of invincibility, we also got to learn a little about Arlo. He was married for forty three years but his wife had passed on. He wrote a children’s book about Al the Goose. It’s not politically correct but it is funny–in a dark way.

Me and my Goose

Me and my pal

We had some very good times

Me and my goose his name was Al

And he cost only a dime

Over meadows we’d stray

Playing all day

I missed him at night until dawn

Then one day I found he wasn’t around

I wondered where Al could have gone

I looked everywhere he just wasn’t there

Where could a goose be all day

I miss my pal

I miss my Al

It’s sad that things turned out this way

Then mom brought him
I remember her grin

Stuffed with his feet pointed straight

I’ll never forget the night that we ate

Al off of the old yellow plate

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If you want to check out the book here’s the link—

We heard many of his old songs, they were the ones he remembered (he’s almost 70), then “Alice’s Restaurant” which ended with a standing ovation. The show was over and the last song sung, he said good night and walked off stage. We all waited for the encore, you know it’s going happen, and it did.

He walks back on stage and as he was tuning his guitar, a guy steps up to the stage with an album and says,”Arlo, can I get you to sign this?”

He looks at the guy for a minute and says, “No.”

Everyone laughed but the guy was persistent and had to be seated by security.

Then Arlo sang a song. The words were written by Woody and he had put music to them. He had us all join in and it was absolutely a kumbaya moment.

I’ve seen a few musical talents from my youth: Edgar Winter, Leo Kottke, and David Brine. They were all fantastic. This was different. This one made me think about the time I signed up for the draft, Living on air and not much else, and how, at that time, everything was far out man. We were all on the cusp of loosing our innocence but it was still down the road—just a little ways. We didn’t want to eat a pickle, we only wanted to ride our motorcikle.


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