Rodriguez – the “ordinary legend”
On Friday 29 January 2016, a friend and I went to see the legend in concert.
Rodriguez is of course the Sugarman aka Sixto Diaz Rodriguez, a Mexican-American folk musician, born on July 10, 1942 in Detroit, Michigan. I became a fan of his music after seeing the documentary “Searching for Sugarman”. For many other older South-Africans he gained cult status during the apartheid era
His fame in South Africa was completely unknown to him, until 1998 when his eldest daughter came across the website dedicated to him. In 1998, he played his first South African tour, playing six concerts in front of thousands of fans.
This year he is back. He is now a frail seventy-four-year old led onto the stage by his one daughter, sipping out of four coffee cups standing next to him on a stand, becoming flustered because it is the first time he performs before such a big crowd – 12 000 South Africans in Johannesburg hungry for his wisdom and eager to get a glimpse of him.
But when he starts to play and his fingers find the familiar path on his trusty guitar, he is in the zone and he starts to relax.
At first most of us in the crowd felt slightly confused and disappointing, because he didn’t just sing his own songs. He also did a few cover songs. When I came home after I was convinced he didn’t play as much of the songs we wanted to hear. But then I thought about it and realized he did actually do a lot of his own songs.
Songs he sang from his two albums:
- Cold Fact
Only Good for Conversation
Crucify your mind
This is not a song, it’s an outburst: Or, the Establishments Blues
Inner City Blues
Rich Folks Hoax
2. Coming from Reality
Climb up on my music
I think of you
It started out so nice
At one point he asks the audience: “Do you know the secret of live? The secret is: breathe in, breathe out.” And then he laughs. After every song he thanks us in different languages even in Afrikaans: “Baie dankie”.
Later he says: “The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement”.
The support act was also very good and surprisingly from South Africa! Alice Phoebe Lou is now known as a street musician in Berlin. I really liked her “Tiger and Dolphin” song, but I can’t find it anywhere so it must still be new.