Arlo Guthrie to mark 50 years of 'Alice's Restaurant' with concert at the Colonial


GREAT BARRINGTON, MASS. >> In 1965, the most fortuitous case of littering in rock and roll history was heard in the old Lee District Court.

That was the case in which folksinger Arlo Guthrie and a friend, Rick Robbins, were caught littering in Stockbridge, arrested and fined $20 in court a few days later. They paid in cash.

The adventure led to one of the most well-known albums ever made, Guthrie's "Alice's Restaurant." Later, a movie was shot about the story, which took place on Thanksgiving that year.

The entire saga is told brilliantly in his 18-minute song "Alice's Restaurant Massacree."

"That song didn't just boost my career," said Guthrie in an Eagle interview several years ago. "It started my career. I've written songs that I thought were more interesting, and I've written songs I thought were closer to literature. But I've never written anything more culturally interesting."

Not surprisingly, on this 50th anniversary of the event, Guthrie is playing "Massacree" as part of an anniversary tour. The show, according to news accounts, is playing well amongst the critics and is doing well financially.

On Thursday, May 21, Guthrie and his band will perform a special show at the Colonial Theater. The show will be filmed by PBS for a later showing.

Playing with Guthrie will be longtime Guthrie drummer Terry Hall, guitarists Bobby Sweet and Darren Todd, and Guthrie's son, Gabe, on keyboards.

As the story goes, Guthrie and Robbins, following a hefty holiday dinner, offered to haul Brock's garbage into a minivan and take it to the town dump. The dump, of course, was closed on Thanksgiving and the two boys tossed the garbage over a nearby embankment.

The garbage was discovered by former Stockbridge Police Chief William Obanhein who arrested and charged them. Ironically, Guthrie earned a draft deferment because the conviction gave him a police record.

Tickets to the concert are on sale now at the theater. The $75 price tag includes a "Massacree" gift bag.

Contact Derek Gentile at 413-496-6251.


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