Rodriguez - House of Blues - 10/22/12

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Rodriguez House of Blues Monday, October 22

Last night, the Cambridge Room at the House of Blues was witness to a first, as Detroit singer-songwriter and current documentary subject Rodriguez took the stage in front of a sold-out crowd. After asking if anyone was from Detroit and offering his condolences, Rodriguez launched into his set.

See also: - Talking cold facts with Rodriguez

I must say I had some concerns about Rodriguez live. His recordings sound first rate, thanks to high production value and excellent writing, but I didn't know what we were going to get live from an artist who hadn't played much until recently. Those concerns melted away as Rodriguez's musicianship shined through on songs like "Cold Fact" and "Crucify Your Mind."

The audience was made up of a fair share of South African-raised Texans who sang along with every song, with "Establishment Blues" and "Sugar Man" being the favorites. Late into his set, Rodriguez played a series of covers, including "Blue Suede Shoes" and Detroit resident Little Willie John's standard, "Fever."

The highlight of the night was the stage banter Rodriguez shared with his audience. After every song, he would take time to tell a joke, or expound upon his political beliefs. He wants you to vote for Obama. At one point it felt like a Town Hall meeting broke out, as fans asked an extended series of questions that put the interview we published yesterday to shame. After his set, he was mobbed by fans at his merch table, where he stayed signing autographs and taking photos for close to an hour after the show.

Random notes:

-There was a lady in the crowd who took every opportunity to let Rodriguez know how much she loved him, his music, and that there was a virgin in the crowd.

-Hands down, Rodriguez's best joke of the night came from a give and take with the crowd. While tuning his guitar, he quipped how it was temperamental, which caused a fan to yell, "Like women!" Without missing a beat, Rodriguez countered, "Some compared the guitar's temperament to that of a woman, but that's not really fair to the guitar."

-At the end of the night, Rodriguez revealed he would be playing one of the major American music festivals next year, and make a stop at one of the nation's premier venues. Certainly a sign things are on the upswing for an artist who spent decades in obscurity.

-Encores are cool and all, but nothing is as cool as leaving the stage with a simple, "Power to the people."

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