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Rodriguez at the Masonic Theater

May 18th, 2013, at the Masonic Theater

The Masonic Theater is kind of an opera house style theater room. The interior is similar to what you see inside the Fox Theater, but not as ornate, and the capacity is about 10% lower (4404, compared to 5048). In the documentary, Searching for Sugarman, Rodriguez plays to a stadium of several thousand in South Africa in the late 90's. It would take until May of 2013 for Rodriguez to play for a crowd that size in his hometown.

There was a bottleneck of people just trying to get to their seats. It was the result of ushers in tuxedos examining everyone's tickets and guiding them to their seats whether they needed the help our not.

Caught the last half of Jenny O. She's a singer-songwriter with some folk influences that kind of leans more in the indie-pop direction. She was nervous talking to the audience in between songs, but she kept her cool when she was performing. The sound system and the acoustics were great, and she sounded just as clear as her recordings. She'll be back in Detroit on June 23rd, at the Magic Stick.

Much like last November's show, Rodriguez needed help walking out on stage. Unlike last November, he had a band backing him up. They all looked like the guys from Fleet Foxes.

Rodriguez's stage presence was much the same as it has been. He told a lot jokes that he's told on stage before. There was the one about Mickey and Minnie Mouse at marriage counseling, and of course the secret to life. He frequently revealed his age, calling himself a "solid 70". He didn't pontificate about Detroit's politics this time though.

He threw covers into the set sporadically. I didn't always catch what they were right away. Someone else had to inform me when he did a Cole Porter, or a Nina Simone song. I didn't need any help identifying Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone". It was weird that this song got a bigger crowd reaction than any of Rodriguez's originals. Overall the whole performance was tight, and there were several standing ovations.

Last November Rodriguez sold out the Crofoot at $20 a ticket. This was after the documentary about him came out, but before it was nominated for an Oscar. This show was announced after the Oscar was won, and the decision to have it in a huge theater paid off. This show sold out, with balcony seats at $35, main floor at $45, and the "orchestra pit" (first two rows?) at $55.
That's a long way from playing to a sparse crowd in a public park that didn't have to pay anything two years ago.

$40 t-shirts had me feeling the Establishment Blues all over again.

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I'm a dork, I live in the Detroit area, and sometimes I take blurry photos on an outdated camera