We made our way to our seats, noticing that we were neither the oldest nor the youngest in the crowd that quickly filled Barclays Center, the new home of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets.
Too early in the season for basketball, we were there for a rock concert.
We were seeing Sixto Rodriguez, the Mexican-American rock singer from Detroit, who went unknown and unfound until a couple of fans decided to find him, turning their search into the movie, Searching for Sugarman,which won the 2013 documentary Oscar.
Not smart enough to arrive an hour after start time, after the pre-program, we suffered through the front acts, two singers and a really awful poet. I lamented I hadn’t brought either my knitting to pass the time or my earplugs to muffle the sound and protect my hearing. Alas.
By 9:40, the lights dimmed and Rodriguez, as he’s known, was escorted to the stage. He’s 71, not old by any standards, yet a bit frail. He’s had a hard life. His jet -black hair hangs to his shoulders shielding his face. He wore a black satin top hat, skin-tight jeans (he has long, skinny legs), and a Caribbean turquoise jacket.
He sang songs from his two albums: Cold Fact and Coming from Reality, both produced in the 1970’s. His voice sounds as clear and crisp as it does in the film clips. Competing with the likes of Bob Dylan and others from that era, he received little notice in the US but became a huge hit in South Africa. The movie chronicles this story. At the time, media focused on South Africa’s politics; an American musician entertaining its youth was ignored.
He made a few jokes and advocated for the end of violence against women. He sang for an hour plus, including an encore, waved to the audience, and left.
And so did we, happy to be home a bit past midnight, agreeing that it was great to see and hear the legend live. Tonight, we’ll play his cds.
See the movie, listen to his music.