Australian Tour 1979
Rodriguez: Vocals, Acoustic guitar
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...
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)
SydneyMorning Herald, 19th March 1979
Rodriguez - 10 years after
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
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.
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 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.
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