More than 40 years after his career-making performance at Woodstock, Richie Havens still walks the walk and talks the talk. On Saturday night, his performance at the Eighth Step at Proctors in Schenectady was peppered with plenty of ’60s lingo. “It’s so far out,” he said. “That’s how heavy it is.” And, “The vibe was on.”
Looking and sounding more like some spiritual guru than a pop star, Havens spoke in a hushed, intimate whisper that went way beyond “laid-back.” And he talked alot, opening the show with a ten-minute reminiscence about his early days on the Greenwich Village folk scene.
But on Saturday night, it also seemed as though perhaps Havens was lulled by his own voice. He seemed unfocused, several times forgetting the lyrics in mid-song, even during Dylan’s “Maggie’s Farm,” a song that I’m sure Havens has sung hundreds – if not thousands – of times.