I was lucky to attend Rodriguez with my family just a few days ago. I want to keep a record of this memory on my blog.
Rodriguez’s voice is still pristine, even at 72 years.
He sang as you would expect his own songs which many know from the movie or his two albums, ‘Sugarman’ and’ Establishment Blues’ were massive crowd favourites. He also did covers of ‘Blue Suede Shoes,’ and ‘Fever.’
He began the concert introduced I think by his daughter (she introduced the whole band), wearing a visor to protect his eyes from the lighting show and then after a few songs took off the visor and put on his black top hat, which the crowd erupted at.
The lead guitarist was brilliant, making use of pedal guitar effects to texture the songs and Rodriguez generously gave him (and the drummer as well) plenty of space to do some crowd cheering solos, as well as the lead guitarist he had a woman bass player and a drummer. It was magical listening to him under the stars and he had one song that began with lines about being under the stars. He sounded like a smooth Bob Dylan who has just drunk some honeyed tea.
During the concert they called out ‘Welcome to Queensland and we love you.’
‘I know it’s probably the drink, but I love you back, ‘ he said.
He said of ‘Sugarman’,’ it’s a descriptive not prescriptive song, don’t do drugs,’ and ‘let’s men end violence against women.’
At the end of each song he seemed to confirm in brief conference what he would do next with his band, and sometimes tune up a bit before playing.
Before the encore he had his guitar tuned, and apologized to the crowd they would have to wait a little. He said these would be his last songs and did two songs for the encore. When people requested songs he politely listened and smiled, but played what he wanted, saying ‘I have the senior priority – I am 72’ I think it was in relation to that, it could have also been that the concert was going to end soon.
At the end the crowd gave him a standing ovation.
A special moment before the encore was hen the band all gracefully bowed together. They all had excellent affinity with each other during the performance.
Some great, great guitar solos from lead guitar.
Some of the Playlist
THIS IS NOT A SONG IT’S AN OUTBURST: OR THE ESTABLISHMENT BLUES
RICH FOLKS HOAX
INNER CITY BLUES
CLIMB UP ON MY MUSIC
BLUE SUEDE SHOES
I’M GONNA LIVE UNTIL I DIE
I ONLY HAVE EYES FOR YOU
On the way to the concert we passed a moonlight walk raising funds for MS research. Everyone there carried pink lanterns with MS printed on the front. Some of the people doing it also went to the concert.
Archie Roach, sang several songs that we knew and a couple we hadn’t heard before, accompanied by another guitarist and harmonising vocalist – some of the songs lines…A Child was born here..’ be careful when you walk through this land ’cause a child was born here and a child was born there’..and a song by his late wife Ruby Hunter.
He was happy to be the lead in act to Rodriguez. He commented that not all working musicians are rich, but very hard working, and fame does not mean riches – He also sang and told the story of The Beggerman song.
Archie’s voice has aged a bit, but he has a satchmo quality to it, and he even did a bit of skatting on one of his songs.
Image of Sixto Rodriguez Live in Zürich. March 2014.creative commons, wikipedia.