Arlo and his 50 year pickle

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November 2, 2020 by jacklovelace

Usually when I write these music memories these days someone has kicked the bucket.

Fortunately that is not the case this time.

But Arlo Guthrie in a touching message to fans explained his touring days are over, even though he is alive and kicking, just the worst for wear like a lot of us.

We had tickets to see his show in Boulder when the pandemic hit.

We were fortunate to see him in the wonderfully intimate Armory in Fort Collins on his last tour.

Two stories come to mind when I think about times I saw Arlo in person.

A few years back he played an outdoor festival concert at Chatfield in south Denver in a park. It was a miserable spring day for a festival show, wet and cold.

When Arlo came on stage he stepped to the mike.

“I don’t know how much longer it will be before they shut everything down, or you need to get out of this. So I’m going to start with what I think some of you want to hear the most.”

And he dove into Alice’s Restaurant.

Classy. Real classy.

I love to see him sing City of New Orleans and the kickass Coming Into Los Angeles among other songs.

But my second story is when he began strumming during one concert and said: “You know, if I had known I would be singing this song 50 years after I wrote it, I would have paid more attention to the lyrics.”

And be began:

“I don’t want a pickle, I just want to ride my motor…..cycle (sickel)

And I don’t want to die, I just want to ride my motor…………si.”

When I would sing that song to my grandchildren, who loved it, I always thought of his dry, wry sense of humor and how I wouldn’t want him to change a word.

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