Girls’ Night Out and a Historic Concert

My sister loves music.   I think in another life she would like to be a professional musician.   She is more than proficient on the piano but took up guitar lessons a couple of years ago.   She also plays the harmonica and has one of those Neil Young contraptions for it so she can strum and play.    What did she request and get for Valentine’s Day from her hubby and her boys?   A Fender.

Their Spring Break is a week earlier than mine so they were here this weekend.   When I heard that there was going to be a concert with mega stars in Tulsa to celebrate Woody Guthrie’s centennial, I emailed her immediately.

“Ya wanna go?”

“Buy tickets NOW,” was her reply.

So last night we set off on a girls’ night and left The Hubs, the brother-in-law, and the two nephews at home.     (We left early with the premise of getting prime parking.   In reality, we wanted some reprieve from the men!)

We had seen John Mellancamp when he was John Cougar many years ago at a Farm Aid concert.    Just last week Jackson Browne was added to the line-up.   I think Sis was secretly hoping the Bruce Springsteen would announce that he was coming and sneak on the stage.   She LOVES him.

This concert was historic!   Truly!   I am so glad we were a part of it.

First of all, it was in The Brady Theater.    This is a historic and intimate venue (and allegedly haunted by the ghost of Enrico Caruso).     I really don’t think there is a terrible seat in the house.    I hope not because it was a sold out (and quite eclectic) crowd.

These may have been some of the original 1914 seats. 🙂


Most of all Woody’s most famous songs were featured and Michael Wallis and Joy Harjo, esteemed Oklahoma authors, provided narration.

I am trying to give you a run down in order of appearance, but sis has already hit the road, so I have to rely on my memory solely.

  • Arlo Guthrie took the stage and sang “Talking Dust Bowl Blues” and was soon joined by Roseanne Cash (and later Hanson).
  • Tim O’Brien followed and and then he later joined Del McCoury and his band.
  • Another native, Jimmy LaFave, took the stage and sang “Woody’s Road,” by the late Red Dirt icon Bob Childress.    (And I have no idea why The Red Dirt Rangers, my favorite Okie band, weren’t included in the line up, but I was glad to see them take the stage for the heart-felt finale.)
  • Old Crow Medicine Show played some definitely foot stompin’ songs.
  • Jackson Browne wrote and performed a long song based on Woody’s poem,  “You Know the Night,” about the night Woody met his wife Marjorie.   I really fell in love with this song and I am still humming it.   (Please check out these lyrics/poem!!!)
  • Robert Santelli, Executive Director of The GRAMMY Museum, came on stage along with Woody’s “baby sister” (who had to be in her 90s) and the director of the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival.   Santelli presented them with a plaque for the city of Okemah to commemorate Woody AND Okemah’s commitment to keeping his music alive.
  • There was a lengthy intermission while the stage was reset for The Flaming Lips.

Aside:   I grew up in the mid-80s and I hate to say that I did not even hear of The Flaming Lips until about five years ago.   I had never seen them on stage.   One of the highlights of the evening was to listen to all the “old” people sitting around us comment on their instrumentation (iPods), their reverberation, and their musical styling!

  • The Flaming Lips took the stage and did an interesting rendition of “Vigilante Man” and then performed their own “Do You Realize?”, the official Oklahoma state rock song.  (I love this song, but I could start a rant here about how our legislature took valuable time, money, and resources to make this official.   We really need a state rock song?)
  • I personally was waiting for John Mellencamp to take the stage.   He got some of the most applause of the evening.   He probably gave Woody one of the best tributes of the night by stating that he stole “Little Pink Houses” directly from Woody and his influence.
  • Arlo returned to the stage and ultimately so did everyone else.    The evening ended with a couple of sing-a-longs, including all the verses to “This Land is Your Land” with everyone seeming to take a turn at the mic.

Wow—we were kind of speechless on the way home.

This was a fantastic evening and I am proud to have been there with my sister.   No matter your politics, you would have to admit that Woody Guthrie was an American icon that influenced many different musical genres.

I wish I could provide you with some epic pictures from this historic performance. This is the best one I got—John Mellancamp and Arlo Guthrie performing “Oklahoma Hills.”

When in Tulsa, take in a show at the Brady Theater, visit the Brady District (we supped and sipped at Hey Mambo and Brady Tavern before the show) and if you are here before April 29, go visit the Woody at One Hundred exhibit at Gilcrease Museum of Art. 

14 comments to Girls’ Night Out and a Historic Concert

  • wow..what fun. I wish I could have gone.

  • That sounds like a blast – bet you had a wonderful time 😀

    Choc Chip Uru
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  • Liz

    What a fun concert…such a magnificent line up! I’m so glad you and your sister could see it together!

  • Oh, what a wonderful thing to have witnessed! I’m so glad you seized the opportunity to be there! I remember the first time I heard Alice’s Restaurant and fell in love with Woodie. I had to look him up to make sure who this centennial was for and got caught up in reading about him on Wikipedia. Did you know he died of Huntington’s disease? The character, “13,” has the same disease on the show, House, otherwise I never would have heard of it. Anyway, got off track, this sounds like a pretty awesome night! Now where are the pics of you and your sister??? 🙂

  • What fun and such a great group of musicians! I am sure it was a wonderful night. 😉

    • Eliot

      Wow everyone, I am still in awe about what we saw and heard. It was truly historic. My sister and I were reminiscing all evening about our only other concerts that we experienced together, a one Farm Aide concert in Omaha and another in Dallas. Funny at one of those, I heard “Alice’s Restaurant” for the first time. We heard John Cougar at both as well. Maybe some more about those later! Have a great week!

  • What an amazing experience!!!

    I would just KILL to watch John M. in concert! Glad you had an amazing time!

  • This does look like a great line-up. No doubt it was a night worth remembering. Concerts are great, but even better when there are several bands all together. After seeing this I am ready to scan the net to see what entertainment is coming up this spring. Glad you had a blast at the concert!

  • I grew up in the late 70’s early 80’s so I would have been totally into this, wish I could have been your side kick! I have a concert lined up, Blake Shelton on the 23rd, can’t wait!

    • Eliot

      We would have loved another side-kick! I am addicted to “The Voice” so I would love to see Blake Shelton (a fellow Okie!)

  • Wow, what a line up. This is one me and my husband would have loved to of seen.

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