June 29, 2009 Tanglewood concert review by Dave Read
How ’bout that Garrison Keillor, ladies and gentlemen, ain’t he something – signs you up for two hours of entertainment, then goes and delivers three! To the two hour live broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion, in the Koussevitsky Music Shed at Tanglewood, he appended a twenty minute pre-show and a forty minute after-show that included audience sing-alongs, duets with Heather Masse, and thrilling encore performances by guests Steve Martin with The Steep Canyon Rangers and hometown favorite Arlo Guthrie. (re: Arlo)
This was the tenth time he’s brought the 35 year old show to Tanglewood, and it keeps getting better. Arlo Guthrie, whose Thanksgiving garbage caper took place just down the road 42 years ago, was an unannounced guest; Keillor said he’ll be back next year so they can talk “Berkshire history.” Early afternoon showers had cleared by the time we arrived around 5PM and mother nature delivered a splendid tableau for the festivities. Maybe jealous at being upstaged by the lanky Minnesotan, midway through the show she delivered a steady drizzle that sparkled through bright sunshine to about one-third of the Lawnsters outside the Shed. Keillor asked Guthrie if that was typical Berkshires weather? “Oh yeah, it’s been like that for weeks.”
Actor Martin Sheen was the show’s non-musical guest, delighting the audience in the role of a prickly wi-fi hog at Arlo’s Dew Drop Inn. Sheen and family were seen around Stockbridge throughout the weekend, at Mass on Sunday and then greeting fans on the porch at the Red Lion Inn.
Keillor, Martin, and Guthrie are pretty good talkers
Even though all the music and comedy performed today was as good as it gets, this show is especially memorable because it displayed the powerful beauty of the spoken word; for the satisfying feeling of community that can arise from the plain speaking of artists whose medium is language.
Besides all their other talents, Keillor, Martin, and Guthrie are talking adepts, which raises all the connecting patter of show to the level of the performance. We’re envious, wishing we could summarize more smartly than by declaring that the tenth Tanglewood rendition of A Prairie Home Companion was a titillating picnic of linguistic penache, verbal verve, and jocular jello.
re: Arlo: You may be interested in : Arlo Guthrie concert reviews, photos, and an interview.