Saturday, 25 February 2012

Arlo, Beaches and Beer

The Parker Concert Hall held about 1500 people, and  98% of them were pretty much like us. The seats in front were a sea of balding crowns, greying afros and gypsy scarves as Fort Lauderdale's Baby Boomers enjoyed a night out with one of the heroes of the 60s sub-culture. Arlo was still in good voice as he swapped casually between acoustic, electric and 12 string guitar; his own early and more recent material and folk classics by his father Woody Guthrie, Ramblin Jack Elliott and Leadbelly. He connected the songs with anecdotes, including the amusing story of his wife's recent arrest at the airport, which gave a new resonance to "Flying into Los Angeles/ Bringing in a couple of keys/ Don't touch my bags if you please, Mr Customs Man..." The Motorcycle Song was there, of course, but he politely declined to sing Alice's Restaurant, explaining that the reason he had  made records was so that he wouldn't have to spend the next forty years performing that particular half-hour narrative. We could go home and listen to it.

I think what I enjoyed most was the feeling of a great American musical tradition at work. Arlo's son and grandson were up there playing with him. Woody's songs reflected the politics of the Depression and stretched back further through his relationship with Leadbelly to some of the earliest genuinely American music. Just one thing would have improved the night - I was hoping Arlo would finish with Goodnight Irene. He does a great version of this classic song that was first recorded by Leadbelly, who in turn learnt it from his uncle. Terry happens to have the world's largest collection of versions of Irene - 245 at last count! (If I ever disappear overboard, it may be because Terry has decided to stage an Irene marathon).

Now what's wrong with this picture? It's a beautiful warm day, the water is perfectly clear and there are thousands of people on the beach at Las Olas. Why are we the only ones swimming? Do they know something we don't? The Florida beaches are the places to see the kind of people you see on television but rarely in real life - perfect hair, perfect tans, skinny women with improbable breasts and toned guys with all their muscles, tendons and veins on show - like having all their plumbing on the outside. Maybe going in the water spoils the look? Anyway, we love it and we figure we're being good ambassadors for Australia by braving the briny. Even if we are a bit blobby by Florida standards.

Saturday night we went to a beer and wine tasting at what has become our local bar. I'm beginning to worry that Terry will settle in here and we'll never get to see the rest of the world. He looks pretty happy, doesn't he?

No comments:

Post a Comment