Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Not Much Punch

"Performing when you're feeling less than 100% is VERY Judy Garland," Rufus Wainwright informed us at the start of his tribute concert in Paris this evening. Well, yes and no, Rufus love. With Judy, you knew about her life as a child star, the strapped-down breasts, the diet pills, the failed marriages, the drink and the uppers and downers. Watching her perform was thrilling not only because of her immense talent but precisely because there was always that risk that it would all get the better of her and her guts would come spilling out on stage. With Rufus tonight, well, we knew he had a cold. A bad cold, bless him. I felt for him, I really did. But there was no melodrama there, no crackle of electricity, no DANGER. Don't get me wrong, I had an excellent time and I certainly don't hold the cracked notes and slight dip in energy against him. Anyone who goes on stage when they're feeling like death and tries to entertain a crowd is a real trouper. And when he's on form and performing his own songs, Rufus is very, very good. Hearing him sing "The Man That Got Away," tonight, however, just brought back long-buried memories of the Sunday lunchtime drag cabaret at the Royal Oak in Hammersmith. You know, however much he shouts it, that Rufus hasn't "been through the mill," in fact, you very much suspect he's got someone rather tasty lined up backstage. Ditto sister Martha's HOPELESSLY overblown "Stormy Weather" - you can't stand snogging your boyfriend in the wings and talking about the price of fish and then potter on to tell people "Can't go on, everything I have is gone". Of course, you can fake it, lord knows even Judy faked it, but it has to be convincing. Otherwise it's just karaoke. Rufie was at his best in the uptempo numbers such as "That's Entertainment", "Chicago", "San Francisco, Open Your Golden Gates" where, whipped up a little by the FANTASTIC band behind him, his natural showmanship, humour and general pizzazz came to the fore. He almost had me convinced. I was tapping my foot and swaying in my seat. Then Lorna Luft came on and - in one song - showed them how it should be done. I wasn't even aware that I was giving her a standing ovation until I tried to sit down and found my annoying seat had folded up on itself. THAT'S Broadway, that's how those songs should be sung. Marvellous. Get well soon Rufus, I still love ya, but stick to what you do best, hon.
P.S. The Gayterati were out in force, naturally - you could hardly breathe in the loo at half-time for "designer" scent. I even indulged in a little air-kissing myself. I do love these "community" nights out - arf!

7 comments:

frog with a blog said...

Rufus ALWAYS sounds like he has a cold!

Thanos aka Mr Brightside said...

But Rufus is so lovely and his voice is so ... how could i define it... like velvet on my skin, giving shivers....

rhino75 said...

I COMPLETELY agree Mr. Brightside, I adore him, this was just the wrong show for him - in my opinion. I promise it won't stop me going to see him next time he's here.

frog with a blog said...

Ok, sorry, he doesn't sound like he constantly has a cold, let's say, he just sounds like squeezes his nipples everytime he utters a sound.
Rest assured, I do love him too. I do actually!

frog with a blog said...

of course, I meant "as if SOMEONE squeezed his nipples..."

Reluctant Nomad said...

I've tried so hard to like him but am unable to. Perhaps I should try squeezing his nipples?

maitresse said...

I don't know, I felt the danger for Rufus, the pressure he was under, and the keen fear that he would do disjustice to those songs-- I was on the edge of my seat during "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"!

And in his defense, he has been through some serious drug addictions and rehab. Although Rufus seems peppy enough (and self-satisfied enough) to be fine after all that, whereas there's something very fragile about Judy Garland.

Wish I had known you were there! we could have met for a tipple during intermission.