Last night The Who played at Copps Coliseum in Hamilton. Or, what's left of The Who. Roger & Pete and their assocciates put on what was described in today's paper as an energetic, classic Who show. So...why wasn't I there? Big fan of The Who that I've been ever since my brother swiped a copy of the "I Can't Explain" 45 and gave it to me as something he 'thought I'd like'. He was right. I wasn't there because I drove to Brock University to see Arlo Guthrie in his Lost World Tour. That's right...Arlo Guthrie! And you know what...he was great!
He walked out on-stage at 7:30, followed by his band (guitar, bass, drums and his son Abe on keyboard), he sat on a stool centre-stage and picked up a shiny blue 12-string guitar (MacPherson?) and proceeded to play one of my favourite songs from his first album..."Chilling of the Evening". It's the first song on his 2005 Live In Sydney set too. And who could argue with it, it's a fine song. He followed that with a silly tune based on "The Shade of the Old Apple Tree". And it was that way for most of the night, a serious song, a silly song, prefaced by a story from his past. And the great thing is...it's a past we share. Bob Dylan, the Vietnam War, Woodstock, Woody...I was there, through all of it, and so was Arlo. After a couple of songs he brought out the Burns Sisters, three siblings from Ithaca, NY who added background vocals, and flipped their long hair around. They were woefully underused, but it's early in the tour and maybe Arlo will give them a solo spot later on.
The band started to rock out a bit when Arlo kicked off "The Motorcycle Song" but they kept it short, and disappointed people who were just starting to get warmed up. Then a little later when Abe seemed ready to let fly with a long organ solo, the guitarist jumped in, and stepped on his toes. But that was about the only miscue all night. A selection of old classics and songs from a forthcoming album were mixed with a few tributes to Dad Woody making for a great cross section of tunes. And Arlo's philosophizin' just gets better and better. I especially enjoyed the quick version of Joseph and the fancy coat, and the moral he drew! Fabulous!
OK, I hear The Who were really good, but Arlo told his own Woodstock tale. After all...he played there too!