What isn't mentioned in the recent documentary about him is that his career wasn't immediately suspended in the early 70's. He hadn't been completely forgotten in Australia. He toured there in '79, and '81. He even released a live album called "Rodriguez Alive" in Australia, in response to the rumors of his death. You'd think the album would have made it's way to South Africa by way of tourists, and that the researchers/fans tracking him down could have tried to trace royalties from that album in order to find him. Assuming of course that the Australian record label wasn't also ripping him off.
As the crowd anxiously awaited the headliner, stage techs tested the sound, and turned on a smoke machine. That's right, a smoke machine. This isn't Kiss or David Bowie. Rodriguez is supposed to be a man of the people, and anything even approaching a spectacle seems out of place.
When Rodriguez got to his song "Establishment Blues", the crowd cheered to hear lyrics like these:
I opened the window to listen to the newsI got to thinking, I'm surrounded by baby boomers, the people Rodriguez was thinking of when he wrote "angry young tune". It's safe to say they're the establishment now, and with the exception of the draft, they're doing much worse than their parents' generation. They're likely be the first generation of Americans to leave the country worse off than they found it. My generation, which doesn't turn out to vote in midterm elections because it's not cool enough isn't about to overthrow the boomer's establishment either.
But all I heard was the Establishment's Blues.
This system's gonna fall soon, to an angry young tune
And that's a concrete cold fact
He really enjoyed throwing some covers into the performance. The first was "Blue Suede Shoes" by Carl Perkins (not Elvis, as many now believe), and with its fast pace it was a real departure from everything else he did that night. He also did "Like a Rolling Stone" by Bob Dylan, and "Fever" by Eddie Cooley and Otis Blackwell.
On a final note, compare this audience size
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I'm a dork, I live in the Detroit area, and sometimes I take blurry photos on an outdated camera