ARLO Guthrie always thought of himself as too much of an introvert for the stage. But when you’re coming up with Woody Guthrie as your dad and folks like Pete Seeger dropping by your childhood home, it might be hard to deny that the art of performance is in your DNA. 40-odd years down the road, Guthrie’s still got the bug.
In the days of internet “slactivism,” it will be inspiring to see someone kicking it old-school. A vital voice of the Vietnam era, Guthrie’s hippie sensibilities—anti-war, anti-nuke, anti-Nixon—are certainly of an era, but the heart and conviction of Guthrie’s songs still stand true. He still wouldn’t be able to get those “couple of keys” in 1968’s “Coming into Los Angeles” past the customs man—but it would certainly be a different tune if he’d penned it now, wouldn’t it?
Live, we’re hoping for some tales of yore to contextualize the hits. Guthrie’s famous for stretching out the iconic “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree” from its standard 18 minutes and 34 seconds (the length of one of the gaps in the Watergate tapes) up to 45 minutes in live settings; that bit of unexpected improvisation is just another reason his live show is truly one-of-a-kind.
Held in Georgia Southern’s Performing Arts Center, it will be great to see the timeless message of civic action spread to college students.