So my blog’s mainly about food…okay all about food (though I have blogged about shoes once). But I felt the need to talk about music…something I am not an expert on. Well, I love singing and I’m very average at it, and that’s being generous to myself. But I do feel that instant emotion when I hear a song and it reminds of something, where I was when I first heard it, what I was doing and why I loved it.
As a teenager I LOVED Abba. I was living in Zimbabwe and really wanted to be a member of the Abba Fan Club. My parents were amazingly accommodating and my Dad went to the bank and applied for forex (foreign exchange currency) and I became a member. Abba was so not cool then and neither was I. But I was happy as my walls were plastered with Abba posters, I even had Abba badges, which in retrospect made me even less cool.
Music makes memories and Rodriguez was one of those teenage memories. First year at university, aged 17, lying in what we called the L-Wing (we all dragged our mattresses out into the huge corridor from our shoe-box-like rooms) and plugged a tape machine in to sing along to I Wonder. It all seemed very exciting and adventurous.
Since then I’ve lived in London most of my adult life and been to a myriad of concerts. Billy Joel, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Simply Red, Peter Gabriel, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennet, Liza Minelli, even Sammy Davis Jnr (that I remember). I loved The Beautiful South, bought all their albums (or whatever you want to call them), went to every concert they performed at Wembley and knew (sadly still do) the words to every song…deep and meaningful lyrics fom different songs like: I love you from the bottom of my pencil case; Don’t marry her, fuck me; I may be ugly but I’ve got the corkscrew; Don’t know what I’m doing here but I’ll carry on regardless. What can I say?
I tried desperately to get Madonna tickets about five years ago, but failed. Now I feel I’ve missed the Madonna boat, she’s a bit older than me and undoubtedly a superstar but all that prancing around in leotards has worn my fanship down.
I bought tickets for the Lady Gaga concert in London last September and couldn’t go . I wasn’t that disappointed as I’d also got a ticket to see her in Cape Town last December. I LOVE Lady Gaga (though possibly not as much as I loved Abba). Her music’s got me through so many gym sessions. I saw her interviewed on the Jonathan Ross Show a couple of years ago and she properly put him in his place, which isn’t easy to do.
The concert was awesome! She emerged from a giant vagina…my sister turned to me and said: “Is that a ckicken?”. I shook my head and said that’s no chicken! She performed for over two hours; meat dresses, plenty of swearing, hectic dancing, audience participation, energy like you couldn’t believe. My best friend from school went to see her earlier in Joburg with her 19-year-old daughter and told me that the concert was amazing but Lady Gaga was a bit preachy. Said daughter was in the room while we were having the conversation and I could hear her shouting “No mum she wasn’t preachy, she was inspirational.”
Anyway, as someone who feels that I’ve been there and done concerts, I then went to see Rodriguez yesterday. When the guy who’d bought the tickets asked me if I wanted to go, my immediate thought was “Is he still alive?”. But hey if you’ve bought tickets for the concert, I guess he has to be, so I entered into the outing. In the month or so that passed between then and the concert I had a range of conversations with people who’d seen him in the last five years. They were all negative…he forgot all the words, he fell down several times, the band left the stage cos he was so nowhere. Wrong!
The concert was amazing, his guitar playing fantastic, his songs just as good as ever, transporting me back to my days on the L-wing!
I hadn’t been to a live concert for sooo long and I’ve been to two in about two months. And they were Lady Gaga (who turns 27 this year) and Rodriguez (who turns 71 this year). I loved them both.
Who will I be seeing next live…I just don’t know, but I’m open to suggestions. It’s clear my concert-going days aren’t over yet!
I need to add that I discovered that people who hadn’t grown up in Southern Africa (like my husband who’s English) don’t know much about Rodriguez and haven’t heard his music. But his popularity in South Africa is huge. Last night at the concert the stadium was full of people, mostly over 50, shouting “South Africa loves you Rodriguez”. His response? “I love you back, you saved me!” Awesome. He’s the coolest 70-year-old around.
You can read more about him at www.sugarman.org. And watch the film Searching for Sugar Man.