From the Vaults: Rodriguez live at Whale Hall, Hartenbos, Mossel Bay, 17 September 2001

Rodriguez and Brian Currin
Rodriguez and Brian Currin

What a wonderful evening! Rodriguez rocked the Whale Hall in Hartenbos and despite some comments to the contrary I think the new arrangements of his songs are stunning. The saxes really drive songs like ‘Climb Up On My Music’ and ‘Only Good For Conversation’ and that Rock and Roll medley (‘Shake Rattle & Roll’, Bob Dylan’s ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’ & ‘Hound Dog’) was pure energy from the band and Rodriguez.

I particularly enjoyed the long trippy interlude during ‘Sugar Man’ when Pete Saunders (ex-Dexy’s Midnight Runners) played this real spacey, jazzy piano sound, a bit like Mike Garson used to do for David Bowie in the 70s.

The hall wasn’t full, but the crowd were so enthusiastic, I kept looking back to check where all the cheering was coming from. Rodriguez spent a lot of time smiling and thanking the Big Town Playboys. And he thanked us in Afrikaans; “Baie Dankie”, he said, “…for keeping me alive”. And he came down to the front of the stage a few times to shake hands and he smiled broadly when a girl in the audience shouted: “Rodriguez I love you”.

Rodriguez live at Whale Hall, Hartenbos, Mossel Bay, 17 September 2001
Rodriguez live at Whale Hall, Hartenbos, Mossel Bay, 17 September 2001 | photo: Freddie Smit

Rodriguez hasn’t ever recorded any cover versions, and on his last SA tour in 1998 he played only his own music. But this time around he showed what a true legend he really is by making Midnight Oil’s ‘Redneck Wonderland’ his own, then adding bits of ‘The Letter’ and ‘Unchain My Heart’ in the middle of it.

At the soundcheck in the afternoon they played ‘Unchained Melody’ as well but it didn’t appear in the evening’s performance.

A medley of Vanessa Williams 1992 hit ‘Save The Best Till Last’ and ‘What The World Needs Now Is Love’ (written by Hal David and Burt Bacharach and a hit for Jackie deShannon in 1965) was dedicated to the victims of last week’s terrorist attacks… a very moving moment.

After the gig Rodriguez sat and signed autographs until everybody had gone home. A great night in the company of great musicians. Thanks for your time, Rodriguez.
— Brian Currin, 18 September 2001

Tour Set List
Tour Set List

Set List

  1. I Wonder
  2. Climb Up On My Music
  3. Jane S. Piddy
  4. Like Janis
  5. Can’t Get Away
  6. Crucify Your Mind
  7. Rock & Roll Medley:
    including excerpts from Shake, Rattle & Roll (Bill Haley & The Comets), Subterranean Homesick Blues (Bob Dylan) & Hound Dog (Elvis Presley)
  8. I Think Of You
  9. Street Boy
  10. Establishment Blues
  11. Redneck Wonderland (Midnight Oil)
    including excerpts from The Letter (The Boxtops) & Unchain My Heart (Ray Charles/ Joe Cocker)
  12. Inner City Blues
  13. Rich Folks Hoax
  14. Only Good For Conversation


  1. Medley: Save The Best Till Last (Vanessa Williams) / What The World Needs Now Is Love (Jackie DeShannon) dedicated to the victims of the World Trade Center and Pentagon terrorist attacks, 11th September 2001
  2. Sugar Man
  3. Forget It

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