Rodriguez - The Magic

"...stuff that dreams are made of..."

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Australian Tour 1979

Tour dates | Musicians | Reviews | Live album

Rod in Oz

Tour Dates

March 15Dallas Brooks Hall, Melbourne
March 17Regent Theatre, Sydney (Saturday)
March 18Regent Theatre, Sydney
March 20Festival Hall, Brisbane
March 23Regent Theatre, Sydney
March 24Canberra Theatre, Canberra
March 26Festival Theatre, Adelaide
March 28Concert Hall, Perth
April 3Dallas Brooks Hall, Melbourne
April 7Civic Theatre, Newcastle (2 shows)
April 8Regent Theatre, Sydney


Rodriguez: Vocals, Acoustic guitar
Steve Cooney: Guitar, mandolin (from Australia)
Doug McDonald: Drums (from New Zealand)
Jake Salazar: Bass
José Guadiana (or Guadiama): Flute

Jake and José were Americans who left three-quartersof the way through the tour and were replaced by an Australian Joe Creightonon bass. The local boys all came from the Mark Gillespie Band whowere the support act.


...his aussie tour in 79 was an awesome experience...
- Stuart, Australia, May 1998
We will never forget the atmosphere and power of Rodriguez first Australian performance at Melbourne's Dallas Brooks Hall on 15 March, 1979. (We have the "Alive" record released here and treasure it)
- Jason and Anne, Australia, April 1998

SydneyMorning Herald, 19th March 1979

Rodriguez - 10 years after
by Ted Robinson

Rodriguez Regent Theatre

Rodriguez's first Sydney concert was the stuffthat dreams are made of. A man lost in time and space he reeled on to thestage to pick up the threads of a 10-year old career. A generally young audience on Saturday embraced both the myth and the mansupporting his every move with astonishing warmth. He was theirs and theywere his. Not such an unusual occurrence or at least until you know theRodriguez story. A decade ago he made a couple of records in the UnitedStates. They went unnoticed and he turned his thoughts to other things:an academic life, social work; and unsuccessfully running for both localand State office. Unbeknown to him, his records continued to sell... andsell in Australia, where until recently his background has remained a totalmystery and the subject of much conjecture. He has long since passed thecult stage with gold records, a published anthology of his writing andnow nationwide sold-out concerts. This huge success has something of thefairy tale about it. Not only for Rodriguez, but for the two young Australianpromoters who have seemingly pulled off an enormous gamble... to play Svengalito his Trilby.

Rodriguez writes (or wrote) simple but often darksongs of street life, drug culture and street life love. His neon-lit worldcelebrates characters that would be equally at home in Damon Runyon orWilliam Burroughs. Some songs take the form of powerful commentaries andsome are merely musings, most seem to somehow, almost inexplicably, touchthe emotional pressure points of a young middle-class white Australianaudience. Technically the night was sometimes shaky but more sound thanyou might expect from someone who virtually hadn't performed for eightyears. Someone plucked from innocent obscurity and delivered to the pressuresof expectation and anticipation that surrounds the living legend. Whoopsof joy and recognition greeted the introduction to each song, often a chord,feel or broken arpeggio was enough for the identification.

Even when he faltered in the introduction to asong and had to start again the spell remained intact. Ovation poured onovation. Rodriguez sang his songs, hunched over his guitar and drank nervouslyfrom empty cups. Finally he told his audience "after ten years yougotta be kidding... I'm just an everyday person"

Rodriguez has several more Sydney concerts at theRegent and State theatres.

TheAustralian, 19th March 1979

Nervous virtuoso
by Karen Hughes

Rodriguez was nervous. On Saturday night the houselights of the Regent Theatre dimmed and the band began to play but therewas no sign of the tall, enigmatic Mexican singer. Suddenly from the wingshe appeared, looking frail in a beige suit and open neck blue shirt carryingwhat appeared to be a student's briefcase and a handful of music sheets.Hard core fans screamed, shouted and gleefully exchanged knowing smilesas Rodriguez, eyes downcast, but beaming excitedly, sat on his stool, turnedside-on to the audience and after a sip of something soothing began thefamiliar opening to Street Boy. There was a collective sigh of relief asthe phrases tumbled out with the same intensity that had enamoured listenersof his two solo albums. Obviously his talent had survived the changes ofa decade completely intact.

Unused to playing large concert halls, Rodriguezmanaged to transform the Regent Theatre into a smoky intimate club. A kindof holy communion which only cult performers inspire was taking place...Theonly thing wrong was the singer's own continuing nervousness -- thoughhe did eventually manage to move around the stage, face the audience andexchange jokes. Rodriguez sang and played his guitar with great authorityand presence. The thunderous applause which greeted every number was modestlydirected to his musicians. With him from America were Jake Salazar on bassguitar and José Guadiana on flute, though it was the Australians,guitarist and mandolin player Stephen Cluney (actually Cooney) and drummer Doug McDonald(both from the supporting Mark Gillespie Band), who provided the music'sreal push.

Apart from a rare and strong empathy between performerand audience the music was the most important factor in the Rodriguez concert,a not insignificent fact in these days of glittering stage and lightingextravaganzas.

Perth 1979 I remember going to his Perth concert in 1979 because I loved Cold Fact. The concert was pretty disappointing and I said so in a review I wrote for the local evening newspaper, the Daily News. Rodriguez appeared to be right out of it, mumbling and carrying on like more excessively than Dylan in 1966. I wrote a scathing review which his daughter may have shown you. In hindsight, I should have been more tolerant. I look back on his music with great affection. I'm astonished and pleased to hear he is still on this earth and singing.
-- Arthur Hanlon, May 2000
Steve Cooney Fair play to you! I played guitar/ mandolin on the Australian tour in 1979 and my name is Cooney not Cluney! I was amazed at the Perth reviewer's 'repentence'!

My abiding memories of Rodriguez are his sensitivity and vulnerability. I particularly remember a delicatemoment when a gentle breeze blew his lyric sheets around, but he caught them so delicately; he and the wind seemed to be really at one...
-- Steve (in Ireland), March 2001
My name is Jake Salazar. I am the bass player who went to Australia with Rodriguez the first time around in 1979. What an experience it was for all of us. I am ecstatic although not surprised that Rodriquez is still making music and doing well as an entertainer. I got an email from someone who stumbled upon my name while visiting a website pertaining to Rod.

It has been many years since that tour. I have nothing but admiration for him and feel honored to have worked with Rod. The thing we went through to prepare for that tour and the events leading to each concert were ritually rock and roll. Rod is a phenomenal song writer and composer. A composer who creates melodies that establishes lyrical visions.

I remember the afternoon Josť Guadiana who was on the tour asked me if I would join him and return back to the US on account of him and Rod having a fall out. I tried to change Josť's mind and I also tried to talk to Rodriquez but to no avail so we were both asked to leave. Basically, Rodriguez fired us both in the middle of the tour. I have always regretted what happened. I enjoyed being around Rodriguez, Connie and the kids.

Jose Guadiana has since passed away and I haven't done so bad after 3 Grammy Nominations as a record producer (1986, 1997 and most recently in 1999). I really hope that Rodriquez continues writing and performing his great songs. I will always be a fan and a friend. I would enjoy to someday jam with him again.
-- Jake Salazar, USA, April 2001

The Tours

Australia 1979
Australia 1981
South Africa 1998
Sweden 1998
Blues Room 1998
South Africa 2001

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