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Review: Rufus Wainwright in Christchurch

Fri 29 Oct 2010 In: Music View at Wayback View at NDHA

As soon as it hit 6pm on Wednesday (27th) I was at my inbox, fingers crossed and hoping that I'd be getting an email with the words “You have won” somewhere within. Goosebumps and a racing heart were soon to follow, I had won, two tickets waiting for me at the door for the concert the following day. I would be off to see Rufus Wainwright, a much beloved musician of mine, whose voice shakes me to the very core (in the best way possible of course!). I'm new to review writing, hence this is starting to sound like more of a story, and less of a review, but I do hope you can bear with me here, as my words cannot do justice… I am a firm believer that Wainwright's voice speaks for itself. The lights dimmed, the curtain rose, and the audience held our breath as a single light fell onto the grand piano, centre stage. For a whole minute I almost forgot to breathe, not wanting to shatter the tension as Wainwright marched onto the stage, sporting a black-feather cloak, complete with train. We were greeted with Who are you New York?, which was particularly haunting. The whole of the first set had an air of solemnity, the audience having been asked to refrain from applause and noise, whilst a visual cycle by Douglas Gordon was projected onto the back wall. I must admit, it felt a little pretentious at first, but before long, all thought had evaded me as I was wooed by the melodious tones of the piano. The first set was certainly something to be experienced; it's hard to find words to describe it. It really was one of those instances where “you had to have been there”. The recent death of Wainwright's mother clearly hung over the entire theatre. The second set saw a whole different performer, the dark gone, the stage lit by candles, and Wainwright himself now wearing skin-tight, pink snakeskin pants, accompanied by a fluffy pink scarf. For Wainwright lovers, the second half certainly got the blood pumping! Treated to a delightful mix of his own compositions, songs like Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk and Memphis Skyline, and of course a fantastic performance of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah, the audience was barely able to contain ourselves, overflowing with applause, whoops and the occasional scream of joy. Perhaps the highlight of the night was the encore, where Rufus gave us a few more songs, and we all got a little insight into how he has been coping these past few months. He made a few comments about the Kiwi accent, and his amusement at the way they say “death”. I have to say that the piece de resistance was his final performance, where he chose to play one of his mother's songs, Walking Song. It was a real pleasure to be apart of his special moment, performing a song that was sure to tug at his own heartstrings, as well as ours. The entire experience was a mix of emotions, tears rolling here and laughter there. Not only is Rufus Wainwright an incredibly skilled pianist, soul shaking vocalist and lyrical genius, he showed a vulnerable, yet upbeat side, that was nothing short of attractive. Wainwright ticks all the boxes; beautiful, broken and talented. I have to give him a complete ten out of ten (but then I am incredibly biased, he has certainly stolen my heart). Thanks very much to Luke for the review - Luke Kavanagh - 29th October 2010    

Credit: Luke Kavanagh

First published: Friday, 29th October 2010 - 1:12pm

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