Rufus Wainwright: Milwaukee at Last!!!

RufusWainwright_MilwaukeeAtLastRufus Wainwright makes himself at home on stage

Rufus Wainwright’s performances have often been larger than a recording studio could fully capture. His cabaret-styled vocals and opera-sized emotion are more naturally at home on stage, and captured live they resound not only with unbridled emotion but with the interplay of a performer and his audience. His tour of the classic American songbook on 2007’s Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall is now eclipsed as a live document by this tour through eight original compositions and covers of Noël Coward’s “If I Love Were All” (borrowed from the Garland set list), and the early twentieth-century Irish love song “Macushla.” Wainwright draws his own material almost entirely from 2007’s Release the Stars, closing the album with 2004’s “Gay Messiah.” His measured, emotional vocals hold down center stage, supported by rock band arrangements that would sound at home in a stage theater’s pit. He soars up and dips down with glissandos, reels listeners in with intimately quiet sections, and drives his lyrics home with dramatically held notes. The dynamic range speaks to both his talent as a live performer, and the raptness with which his audience is willing to pay attention. The result offers a great deal more delicacy, nuance and power than the average live album, and it provides a startling accurate portrayal of Wainwright’s magic. [©2009 hyperbolium dot com]

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