You Can Recall Everything You Forgot at “Alice’s Restaurant”
Litterbugs, protesters and folk fans, unite! Arlo Guthrie has launched his ambitious 18-month North American tour to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of “Alice’s Restaurant Massacre.” The most prominent song that has long served as a Thanksgiving tradition will be performed in its entirety at each stop on the tour.
The 50th anniversary tour rolls into Jacksonville on January 29 for a special performance at the Florida Theatre. Guthrie is commemorating the 1965 events that inspired his famous storytelling song, ‘Alice’s Restaurant Massacree.’ He will also present material from throughout his career during the jaunt. The massive tour kicks off on January 21 in Daytona Beach.
“I didn’t think I was gonna live long enough to have to learn ‘Alice’s Restaurant’ again,” Arlo Guthrie said in a statement announcing the tour. “It was a quirky kinda thing to begin with. Nobody writes an 18-minute monologue expecting fame and fortune. The initial success of the song really took me by surprise more than anyone else. The fact that I have contended with it for five decades either by having to learn it again or by not doing it, has been an interesting balancing act. I’m surely looking forward to adding it to the repertoire, though, for the 50th anniversary tour.”
‘Alice’s Restaurant Massacree,’ an 18-minute, 34-second opus, originally was released in 1967 as the first half of Guthrie’s debut LP. It tells a satirical tale of Thanksgiving dinner, garbage dumping, blind justice, draft boards and the Vietnam War. Performed in talking-blues style, ‘Alice’s Restaurant Massacree’ continues to resonate today, offering a satirical, “Can you believe this?” commentary on American politics and society. It also endures as a signature anthem for Guthrie, 67, the music-making son of folk legend Woody Guthrie.
Arlo’s band for the tour includes Terry Hall (drums), Bobby Sweet (guitar, vocals), Darren Todd (guitar), and his son, Abe Guthrie (keyboards). Along with ‘Alice’s Restaurant Massacree,’ the tour will feature songs pulled from all studio albums in his catalog, plus a multi-media presentation with photos from the Guthrie archives.
The “Alice’s Restaurant” anniversary tour will play more than 40 cities through May 3. Guthrie’s last public appearance was in Birmingham in June 2009, performing with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra in Caldwell Park. That two-set show featured songs such as ‘Darkest Hour,’ ‘City of New Orleans,’ ‘St. James Infirmary,’ ‘Last Train,’ ‘When a Soldier Makes it Home’ and ‘This Land Is Your Land.’