On Sunday, 70-year-old folk rocker Rodriguez performed to a tent packed with a mostly young crowd, fans who most likely became exposed to his music after the 2012 Oscar-winning doc, Searching For Sugar Man.
The Detroit-based, Mexican American legend, whose birth name is Sixto Rodriguez, appeared in an outfit befitting of his near-mythical place in music history: a black fedora, black shirt, black leather pants, black boots and a black trench coat.
Backed by a drummer, an electric guitarist, and a bassist, Rodriguez delivered songs from his socially conscious first album, Cold Fact, originally released in 1970, the same one which went relatively unnoticed in the United States but went multi-platinum in South Africa, where he became a symbol of the anti-apartheid movement. From "I Wonder," a track in which he asks about the fate of those neglected by society and their broken dreams, to "Sugar Man," after which the documentary is named, to a cover of Little Willie John's 1956 classic "Fever," Rodriguez reminded everyone why his message, like him, is timeless. "Coachella, it's been an honor, a pleasure, and a privilege," he said before parting.
In truth, the privilege was all ours.