MANCHESTER, NH – When legendary folk music icon Arlo Guthrie took to the road to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of his seminal song “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree,” he was incredibly moved by the feedback from enthusiastic fans. Alice’s Restaurant – Back By Popular Demand Tour, coming to the Palace Theatre on Oct. 12 at 7:30 p.m., will coincide with the 50th Anniversary of the feature film “Alice’s Restaurant,” originally released in 1969, starring Arlo as himself, directed by famed director Arthur Penn. It was filmed in the Berkshires, Arlo’s own backyard, recreating some of the events that launched the Massacree, while adding a good dose of fiction.
Ultimately, the movie garnered a “Best Director” Oscar Award nomination for Penn. Of the film, Roger Ebert had said, “It is also good to have Arlo Guthrie himself, who is quiet and open and good on camera… ‘Alice’s Restaurant’ …becomes a synthesis of Arlo’s spirit and Arthur Penn’s tact.” “Alice’s Restaurant” was Arlo’s first foray into acting, and he would later take roles in several television series.
“I didn’t think I was gonna live long enough to have to learn ‘Alice’s Restaurant’ again,” Arlo Guthrie says with a smile. “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 it again being a centerpiece of my live repertoire.”
Currently on the road for the last year presenting the Re:Generation Tour, Arlo along with his son Abe will be joined onstage on the forthcoming tour with longtime collaborators Terry “A La Berry” Hall (drums), Steve Ide (guitar, vocals) and Carol Ide (vocals, percussion) of his former acclaimed band Shenandoah. Arlo’s daughter Sarah Lee Guthrie, a lauded singer-songwriter in her own right, will open the shows.
In July 2017 to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the “Summer of Love” and the original release of Arlo’s debut album, Rhino Records re-released the full mono version of the album Alice’s Restaurant on 180 gram vinyl. In March 2018, the National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress inducted “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree” into the registry honoring the recording for its cultural, historic and aesthetic importance to the American soundscape.
Folk songs enduring many decades of change only become classics when storylines remain just as relevant today as they were when originally composed. “Alice’s Restaurant” is of this ilk; it’s now weaved into the fabric of American society.
Fans have embraced “Alice’s Restaurant” as part of their annual Thanksgiving tradition, but also view it as one of the more pronounced “anti-stupid” rally songs. Every year Arlo receives handfuls of letters from Vietnam vets and soldiers currently at war expressing their heartfelt connection to the song.
Today, times are eerily similar to the mid-’60s, with unpopular wars being fought far away from home, and soldiers finding ways to cope. Music is often the best medicine to soothe the soul. However listeners interpret the quintessential tune, we can be rest assured that people of all different walks of life come together singing that famous chorus, “You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant…”.
Tickets for Alice’s Restaurant – Back by Popular Demand Tour at the Palace Theatre are $44.50 – $74.50. Click here to reserve the best seat in the house.