South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center (SMDCAC), 10950 SW 211 St. in Cutler Bay, presents Arlo Guthrie’s Aliceís Restaurant 50th Anniversary on Sunday, Jan. 17, at 7 p.m.
Tickets are $40-$65 with table seating available. For tickets the public should call 786-573-5300 and for information visit www.smdcac.org.
Legendary folk music icon Arlo Guthrie embarks on an 18- month North American tour to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the event that inspired the seminal song, Alice’s Restaurant Massacree.
A musical monologue running more than 18 minutes, Alice’s Restaurant has become a Thanksgiving holiday anthem to families across the globe and it all originates from Guthrie’s experience on Thanksgiving in 1965. Guthrie will perform his most prominent work in its entirety each night on the tour, as well as selections from every full-length studio album he has released since his debut, Alice’s Restaurant (1967).
“I didn’t think I was gonna live long enough to have to learn Alice’s Restaurant again,” Guthrie said 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 adding it to the repertoire though for the 50th anniversary tour.”
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-war 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-1960s, with unpopular wars being fought far away from home, and soldiers finding ways to cope.
Music is often the best thing 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.”
Alice’s Restaurant’s hilarious account of actual events that precluded Arlo Guthrie from military service (1966) became a platinum selling record (1967) and fulllength motion picture (1969) at the outset of his lauded career. Interestingly enough, the song’s lyrics reference the number 50 several times (i.e. “…there was five police officers, and three police cars, being the biggest crime of the last 50 years I had to pay $50 to pick up the garbage…”), and here we are 50 years later commemorating the lengthiest hit single in music history.