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- Rufus Wainwright »
Now then, who gets your vote as the gayest man in music? The uninitiated might be tempted to say Elton, some might opt for that fella from the Scissor Sisters or offer George Michael as an outside bet. No, no – wrong, wrong. Anyone who has witnessed Rufus Wainwright ‘doing’ Judy Garland (some irony there, perhaps) will wholeheartedly agree on the winner. All hail, Queen Rufus.
Entering stage left, clad in full lederhosen get-up (not pictured, sorry – Ed) and looking like the estranged, über-camp Von Trapp child that got away, you know his live show is going to be anything but linear. This proves to be both a good and bad thing in – unfortunately – almost equal measure.
Highlights are many, but they tend to be overshadowed by the gimmicks. ‘The Consort’, ‘Beautiful Child’ and ‘Poses’ are all excellent live and this standard continues right through to newer material including_ ‘Do I Disappoint You’, ‘Sanssoucis’, ‘I’m Not Ready For Love’_ and the evening’s opener ‘Release The Stars’. This – on its own – would have made for a great live experience; it’s fluid and very well executed. Where it comes unstuck is when the other Rufus jumps in, awkwardly attempting to weave in and out of two very different offerings. Talented singer/songwriter intermittently morphs into transvestite covering Judy Garland songs in high heels. It’s too disjointed. Whilst the Judy interludes do very little for me, they do obviously appeal to some, to which a dedicated album and accompanying series of shows is testament. Granted, guilty pleasures are too few and far between these days so I’m all for indulging them if that’s your thing, but only in the right circumstances. It’s not that the gimmicks are particularly awful – and to be fair to the guy, he does have a great set of pins – but more that attempting to mesh two utterly opposing personas together in a single show just doesn’t work.
What Rufus Wainwright does best is standing (or sitting) still, guitar (or piano) at the ready and playing on his greatest asset – simply performing the accomplished self-penned set of songs that litter his growing back catalogue. Accompanied by a seven-strong backing band, his original material really does work well live. It’s easy to forget that behind all the glitz is a seriously talented guy. It’s this fact that makes the excessive flights of fancy all the more unnecessary and ultimately pretty darn irritating. If only he would just stick to either Rufus Rufus or Judy Rufus. With the right audience for either/or, he’d be onto a winner.
The album Rufus Does Judy… is out now – click here to pen a user review, or add the release to your collection.
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