Wednesday, June 06, 2007

6 for 6/6: Rufus Wainwright

I was lucky enough to get return tickets, along with three friends, to the final night of Rufus Wainwright's five night run at the Old Vic in London. As far as I am aware, these were the only dates on the tour billed as "An Evening With" and had no opening act. I have to say I am a little huffy when it comes to Rufus. I only discovered him thanks to Lottie and when I first saw him live it was in a tiny tiny location that was fairly easy to get tickets to. Since then, he has slowly become more and more popular to the point where he now sells out gigs in seconds and charges a lot of money for them. And his newer fans are all "OMG I luv u Rufus. I have seen him five times, he's da bomb". Fuck off.

Anyway, my audience quibbles aside (I wanted to knife several people in my immediate vicinity), it was an amazing concert. The set list:

Release The Stars
Going To A Town
Sans Souci
Rules & Regulations
Art Teacher
Leaving For Paris
Between My Legs

Harvester Of Hearts
Do I Disappoint You
Foggy Day in London
If Love Were All
Nobody's Off The Hook
Beautiful Child
Not Ready To Love
Slide Show
14th Street

I Don't Know What It Is
Pretty Things
Complainte De La Butte
Get Happy
Gay Messiah

Cunningly it's the same set list for the whole tour. He has really made this into a show, a piece of theatre. He's a true performer. It's been fascinating to watch that develop over the few years I've been a fan and seeing him live. The whole of the new album was played which I love plus some Judy Garland numbers and a traditional folk song that was performed without microphones and was AMAZING. Of course, the highlight was the encores. Returning to the stage in a bath robe to perform the "I Don't Know What It Is" with the band, they left and he performed the next two songs solo at the piano, still in the bath robe. He then walked to the front of the stage, donned some blinging jewellery and some lipstick. The band returned, the bath robe removed and all he was wearing was a suit jacket, a pair of tights and a fedora. This was what he wore to perform the last two numbers. He then came back on and performed another solo folk song, without a mic. People were yelling out Rufus songs (ugh) for him to sing and he looked at the crowd and said "I am Judy Garland right now".

Sian Phillips popped up to perform the dialogue at the end of "Between My Legs" which was most interesting. In the interval, Rufus changed out of the tightest pair of striped pants I've ever seen into the lederhosen get up which was most amusing. Vocally he was a little strained in places and he totally fucked up "Tulsa" but that song is all over the place anyway. All in all, it was a quality evening and I am glad I went. I forgot my camera though so I stole the pics from another website.


Eric said...

God dangit, I hate you. At least I got to see him do Judy at Carnegie.

Limecrete said...

Having never really sat down and listened to his music, my only exposure to Rufus Wainwright so far has been reading a few press interviews, most of which gave me the impression he is kind of a tool.

So this entry wasn't sparking much envy until...

"Sian Phillips popped up to perform the dialogue at the end of "Between My Legs" which was most interesting."

WHAT?!?! Sian Phillips? The I, Claudius Sian Phillips? The Sian Phillips I love more than anything? Squeeeeeee!

Popcultureboy said...

Yes, really. Sian Phillips. The very same. She watched the rest of the show from a box and he thanked her at the end of the show. He made the lighting guys shine a spotlight on her whereupon she maved at the audience and proudly showed off her Rufus t-shirt. Bless.

You should listen to his music, Limey. He may be a tool (I've never actually read an interview with him so I can't comment on how he comes across) but he's a tool with an incredible voice.

And Eric, I hate you for seeing him do the Judy concert. The tickets for the UK dates of it were extortionately expensive and still sold out in no time at all. At least it's been recorded for DVD. As was the penultimate night of his run at the Old Vic.