Dave Matthews Band Revives Rodriguez Cover Near Detroit

Watch the first full-band performance of "Sugar Man" since 2015 after Dave discusses a highlight of his life.

By Scott Bernstein Jun 22, 2022 9:27 am PDT

Dave Matthews Band dusted off a cover of Rodriguez’s “Sugar Man” for the first time since 2014 during their concert last night at Pine Knob Music Theatre near Detroit. Frontman Dave Matthews met acclaimed singer-songwriter Sixto Rodriguez before the show in Clarkston, Michigan and called the experience “a highlight of my life.”

Sixto Rodriguez is based in Detroit and his tale was told in the Oscar-winning 2012 documentary Searching For Sugar Man. “When you’re in high school there’s music that means the world to you sometimes,” Matthews told the crowd towards the middle of last night’s main set. “There’s a few different artists that I grew up on and one of those artists was this person from Detroit. But what I discovered — I may have told you this before, maybe you saw a movie about it — but what I discovered when I came back here (from South Africa) was that nobody ever heard of this guy or not many people.

Matthews went on to share the following:

“It was kind of insane. I remember a friend of mine was playing me some music, I think it was Tracy Chapman, and he played it and I said, ‘You know, that reminds me of Rodriguez.’ And they said ‘who?’ I said Rodriguez. They said I never heard of him. So I went around the restaurant and I asked everyone, ‘Hey, you’ve heard of Rodriguez, tell him about Rodriguez.’ And they said ‘who, the baseball player?’ And I said ‘no, the songwriter.’ I mean he was as important to me as Bob Dylan, as Cat Stevens, as Marvin Gaye, you know. And all these people never heard of him? I was like ‘what is happening?’ I’m losing my mind! Anyway, I got to meet him today and it was a highlight of my life and I want to sing this song for him.”

Dave then led the group through Rodriguez’s signature song “Sugar Man” for its first play by DMB since September 6, 2014 at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Irvine, California. Watch fan-shot video of Dave’s intro and “Sugar Man” below:


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Mitch Wight (See 15 videos)
Dave Matthews Band (See 967 videos)

“Sugar Man” came towards the middle of the septet’s 21-song performance in Clarkston. Dave Matthews Band opened the concert with “Proudest Monkey,” marking the first time the song had been played to start a show since December 15, 2012. Next came a run of classics “Satellite,” “Tripping Billies,” “Funny The Way It Is” and “When The World Ends.” DMB then delivered the tour’s first “Recently” to the delight of the crowd.

A “Rooftop”/”Come On Come On” pairing was followed by “Sugar Man.” The seven-piece then linked “So Much To Say,” “Anyone Seen The Bridge” and “Too Much” before offering more recent fare in “Madman’s Eyes” and “Samurai Cop (Oh Joy Begin).” From there, DMB played the beloved “Grey Street,” recently revived “Break Free” and the tour’s third “Lie In Our Graves.” Matthews and company went on to close the set with staples “You & Me” and “Dancing Nancies” as well as “Louisiana Bayou.”

Matthews came back to the stage by his lonesome to begin the encore with a solo take on the traditional “Rye Whiskey.” The night ended with a full-band “Two Step.” See video of the “Recently” tour debut below:


00:00:00
Mitch Wight (See 15 videos)
Dave Matthews Band (See 967 videos)

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Setlist (via DMB Almanac)

Set: Proudest Monkey » Satellite, Tripping Billies, Funny the Way It Is, When the World Ends, Recently, Rooftop, Come On Come On, Sugar Man, So Much to Say » Anyone Seen the Bridge » Too Much, Madman’s Eyes, Samurai Cop (Oh Joy Begin), Grey Street, Break Free, Lie in Our Graves » You & Me, Dancing Nancies, Louisiana Bayou

Encore: Rye Whiskey, Two Step

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