FOUND: SUGARMAN!!! IN CONCERT IN LOS ANGELES APRIL 16, 2013

RODRIGUEZ IN CONCERT.

FOR DECADES NOW I’VE BEEN FORTUNATE WHEN IT COMES TO SEEING AND HEARING SOME OF THE GREATS PLAY LIVE AND TO BE THERE TO WITNESS IT. I WAS IN THE AUDIENCE AT THE NEW JERSEY MEADOWLANDS WHEN STEVE LAWRENCE AND EYDIE GORME HAD TO HOLD ONTO AND HELP SINATRA ONSTAGE FOR HIS 75TH BIRTHDAY. I WAS SO GRATEFUL JUST TO BE IN THE AUDIENCE AND HEAR HIM AT THAT STAGE OF HIS LIFE AND WATCH ALL HIS FANS, FANS FOR WHOM HE WAS THEIR ELVIS OR BEATLES. I SAW AND MET NELSON MANDELA TOO (OKAY, NOT A MUSICIAN BUT IN HIS OWN CATEGORY!) WHO CAME TO A TRIBUTE CONCERT IN HIS HONOR AT WEMBLEY STADIUM IN LONDON AFTER HIS RELEASE FROM PRISON ON ROBBEN ISLAND AFTER 27 YEARS. LIKE EVERYONE ELSE IN THE CROWD, I SOBBED AND COULDN’T BELIEVE MY EYES WATCHING HIM SURROUNDED BY ROCK STARS ALL TREMBLING IN HIS PRESENCE.

I’VE BEEN MOVED TO TEARS IN CONCERTS MORE TIMES THAN I RECALL AS AN AUDIENCE MEMBER JUST STARING UP AT BONO, CLAPTON, MARVIN GAYE OR HENDRIX FOR THAT MATTER, REALLY.

BUT THIS ENTIRE STORY I’M ABOUT TO SHARE, THE UNLIKELY IF NOT PREPOSTEROUS TALE OF SIXTO RODRIGUEZ AND HIS MUSICAL REDEMPTION IS ONE FOR THE BOOKS, FOR THE AGES! IT IS MOVING IN A DIFFERENT WAY THAN THE TYPICAL STORIES OF PERSONAL COMEBACKS IN MUSIC. IF YOU’RE NOT FAMILIAR WITH IT YET, HERE IT IS. SIXTO RODRIGUEZ IS AN AMERICAN FOLK ROCK SINGER, THOUGH THAT DESCRIPTION DOESN’T REFLECT THE BREADTH OF HIS TALENT IN ANY WAY, BUT FOR HERE IT WILL DO. IN THE EARLY 1970’S RODRIGUEZ RELEASED AN ALBUM THAT WENT NOWHERE. (THERE ARE GOOD GUYS AND BAD GUYS IN THIS TALE, STAND BY). AND THAT WAS PRETTY MUCH THE END OF THE RODRIGUEZ MUSIC STORY, THEN. HE WAS A TRULY FINE, THOUGHTFUL, SENSITIVE WRITER, WITH A GORGEOUS VOICE, (IN MY OPINION THINK KIND OF DONOVAN LIKE, BOB DYLAN INFLUENCED WRITING BUT NOT COPYING.) FOLK ROCK ROOTS, BUT WITH FLAMENCO UNDERPINNINGS IN HIS PLAYING STYLE, HINTS OF JAZZ INFLUENCE AND VERY CALM. POIGNANT, POINTED AND TRUTHFUL WRITING, THE VOICE OF A LOVER AND AN OBSERVER WITH A GIANT ENORMOUS HEART.

THROUGH A KARMIC AND COSMIC SET OF CIRCUMSTANCES RODRIGUEZ BECAME THE VOICE OF THE ANTI APARTHEID MOVEMENT IN SOUTH AFRICA, ELEVATED IN THEIR SOCIETY TO AN ELVIS OR BOB DYLAN STATURE. EVERYONE THERE (OK NOT EVERYONE) OWNS RODRIGUEZ’ MUSIC. HE WAS THE SOUNDTRACK TO THE THEIR CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT. BUT THE URBAN MYTH SURROUNDING WHAT HAPPENED TO RODRIGUEZ THE MAN WENT THIS WAY OVER THE DECADES. HE WAS DEAD, SUICIDE OR SELF IMMOLATION ON STAGE. RODRIGUEZ, A DAY LABORER WITH A FAMILY IN DETROIT KNEW NOTHING ABOUT THIS ACCLAIM, RECORD SALES, SUCCESS, OR ANYTHING HAPPENING IN SOUTH AFRICA, NOTHING. HE WAS LIVING MODESTLY WHICH IS AN UNDERSTATEMENT REALLY. RODRIGUEZ THOUGH THROUGHOUT THE YEARS APPEARS TO HAVE MADE PEACE WITH IT ALL; WHICH PART OF HIS POWER AND APPEAL I AM CERTAIN.

WHAT HAPPENED NEXT TO RODRIGUEZ IS SO UNLIKELY, SO PREPOSTEROUS AND SO IMPROBABLE I WOULD ASSERT IT JUST HASN’T HAPPENED IN THE MUSIC BUSINESS BEFORE. MIND BOGGLING.

AND IT’S SUCH A TALE OF BEAUTY AND REDEMPTION AS TO BE IN A LEAGUE OF ITS’ OWN. INCREDIBLY POWERFUL BECAUSE OF WHO RODRIGUEZ TURNED OUT TO BE INSIDE AND OUT. A FEW FEVERISHLY DEVOTED SOUTH AFRICAN FANS WANTED TO UNCOVER THE TRUTH ABOUT THEIR HERO. THEIR SLEUTHING REVEALED THE SHOCKING AND UNBELIEVABLE FACT – RODRIGUEZ WAS ALIVE AND WELL IN DETROIT. THIS HAS ALL BEEN CAPTURED IN THE ACADEMY AWARD WINNING DOCUMENTARY “SEARCHING FOR SUGARMAN” AN ABSOLUTE MUST SEE. IT HAS ITS’ HEROES, RODRIGUEZ, THE SOUTH AFRICAN FANS, AND ITS’ MUSIC BUSINESS BAD GUY, CLARANCE AVANT, WHO IN MY OPINION, GIVES DARTH VADER A RUN FOR HIS MONEY.

THE END RESULT OF THIS MAGNIFICENTLY REALIZED TALE IS THAT SIXTO RODRIGUEZ AFTER DECADES IN THE WILDERNESS AND BEYOND IS NOW ON TOUR EVERYWHERE (EVEN AT COACHELLA) PERFORMING TO SOLD OUT CROWDS WHO CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF HIM. AND HE’S 70 YEARS OLD (LIKE MICK AND KEITH). TO QUOTE HIM FROM THE APRIL 16TH SHOW “A SOLID 70” AS HE REMOVED HIS JACKET TO REVEAL MUSCULAR ARMS. HIS MODESTY, GENTLENESS AND GRACE ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED TO HIM IS THE BONUS THAT MAKES YOU FALL FOR HIM EVEN MORE.

ORPHEUM MARQUEE RODRIGUEZ

AT THE SHOW AT THE ORPHEUM (A GORGEOUS OLD THEATER) IT WAS A SOLD NIGHT OUT WITH A REAL MIX ON HAND. THE CROWD INCLUDED L.A. HIPSTERS, PEOPLE IN THE MUSIC AND FILM BUSINESS, LATINO FANS, THE CURIOUS AND PEOPLE OF ALL AGES WHO GOT A TICKET AND CAME TO SEE HIM PLAY BUT I THINK REALLY CAME TO HONOR HIM BEING SO MOVED BY WHAT HAPPENED. THE TOP TICKET WAS PRICED AT $62 FOR AN ORCHESTRA SEAT; SCALPED SEATS WERE GOING FOR $400 TO WELL OVER A THOUSAND DOLLARS. THERE WERE CELEBS, JOHN MAYER AND NIGEL LYTHGOE AND OTHERS BECAUSE I THINK ITS IN HUMAN NATURE TO WANT TO BE A PART OF SOMEONE’S DREAM COME TRUE, PARTICULARLY AGAINST PREPOSTEROUS ODDS . IT’S A FANTASY ALL HUMANS HOLD ONTO IN THE SECRET COMPARTMENTS OF THEMSELVES. AND IT DID HAPPEN TO RODRIGUEZ. IN HIS LATE 60’S. NOT LIKE VINCENT VAN GOGH WHO HAD TO DIE FIRST TO THEN GET ACCLAIM.

WHEN HE CAME ONSTAGE HELPED BY A FEW YOUNG WOMEN I THINK FROM HIS FAMILY (HE APPEARS TO HAVE A VISION ISSUE AS HE NEEDS DARK GLASSES AND A HAT WHEN HE PERFORMS) THE AUDIENCE JUST STOOD AND CHEERED HIM. REALLY, HE COULD’VE BEEN CHEERED ALL NIGHT WITHOUT SINGING A NOTE. RODRIGUEZ WON THE LIFE LOTTERY. SOMEHOW, HE BECAME A RECOGNIZED AND ADMIRED AND RESPECTED MUSICIAN 30 PLUS YEARS AFTER A LOT OF PROMISE, THEN NADA.

RODRIGUEZ LIVE at the Orpheum

HE SANG HIS OWN SONGS AND THE CROWD SANG ALONG. HE ALSO SANG SOME HE CLEARLY LOVED LIKE “BLUE SUEDE SHOES” AND “LUCILLE” AND “I ONLY HAVE EYES FOR YOU” TOO AND EVERYONE SANG ALONG WITH THOSE TOO. RANDOM SHOUTS OF I LOVE YOU TO RODRIGUEZ ONSTAGE PRODUCED THIS RETORT: “IT WAS THE DRINKS BUT KEEP SAYING IT ANYWAY”. WATCHING HIM ALL I COULD THINK ABOUT WAS HOW NATURAL HE IS ONSTAGE AND THAT HE WAS MEANT TO BE PLAYING HIS GUITAR AND SINGING. BUT THE MYSTERY OF LIFE APPARENTLY UNFOLDED IN A WAY THAT REQUIRED A LONG BREAK INDEED BETWEEN THE TIME THAT RODRIGUEZ WANTED IT AS A CAREER AND WHAT HAPPENED, NO DOUBT ABOUT IT.

NO ONE IN THE AUDIENCE WANTED HIM TO GO. HE CAME BACK AFTER THUNDERING APPLAUSE AND PLAYED A LITTLE ENCORE BOB DYLAN – A TIP OF THE HAT TO BOB. FINALLY HE LEFT THE STAGE WITH THESE WORDS TO THE CROWD “IT’S A HONOR AND A PLEASURE AND A PRIVILEGE TO BE HERE”. YOU COULD FEEL IT, HE MEANT IT.

IT’S NOT OFTEN I CAN RECALL GOING TO A CONCERT WITH THE SPIRIT OF OFFERING YOUR CONGRATULATIONS AND LOVE AND SUPPORT TO AN ARTIST. I BELIEVE EVERYONE HARBORS A DEEP HEART FELT DESIRE FOR SUCCESS OR RECOGNITION IN A PARTICULAR WAY THAT MAY OR MAY NOT BE DISCLOSED OR ACTED UPON OR REVEALED OR ACTUALIZED. BEING THERE WITH RODRIGUEZ TURNED OUT TO BE BOTH A NIGHT OF GREAT MUSIC AS WELL AS A CHANCE TO SIT THERE IN THE AUDIENCE AND KNOW PROFOUNDLY THAT IT’S NOT OVER UNTIL ITS OVER, REALLY. DREAMS DO COME TRUE. RODRIGUEZ IS PROOF OF THAT.

5 responses to “FOUND: SUGARMAN!!! IN CONCERT IN LOS ANGELES APRIL 16, 2013

  1. Just watched Searching for Sugar Man and I’m filled with a mix of emotions. He could have become embittered about his “lack of success,” but instead, is filled with grace, in every sense of the word. He is the definition of cool. He’ll be in Austin May 4, and I just purchased a front row center seat. Thank you, again, for this post. I’m really excited to hear him.

    • Let me know how you like the show, enjoy! -Rona

    • The limit of obligation will soon be demonstrated in the announcements site. The limit of insurance QuotesChimp obligation for uninsured driver protection is demonstrated in the conditions site just like it’s in the obligation part of the plan. Then, &#3 4;$15,000/$30,000" in the announcements site indicates $15,000 optimum protection per person and also at the most $30,000 complete per coated mishap.

  2. Hey what was the encore ” Like a Rolling Stone” or did he do “Street Boy” as everyone was shouting?

  3. Thank you, dear lady, for reminding me that I need to see Searching for Sugar Man. It’s downloading now.

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