Ok, (drum roll please), not to diss my wonderful sister and Blogger pal Sue, but the REAL reason I traveled 10,000 miles was to attend the:
Rufus Wainwright has a mystical connection to the late, great Judy Garland. On June 14 and 15 he wowed his beloved fans at Carnegie Hall (yes, the majority of them well- off gay men) and sang the entire “Judy Garland Comeback Performance” – the same performance she gave at Carnegie Hall in April of 1961.
Before the show I spotted Antony of Antony and the Johnsons and an old MTV VJ…I forget his name. I ran to the ladies’ room and did a little jig, realizing that the best thing about going to a Rufus concert at Carnegie Hall is: NO LINE IN THE LADIES ROOM! Woo hoo. (Ok the same can be said for a Who show, really).
I had nosebleed seats when my heart really wanted to be closer, but I treated my sister (ok dragged her,kinda) so I had to buy two tix.
Still, I was thankful to be at such a momentous spectacle, and even happier not to be alone, as I often am when I attend Rufus’ shows!
I was very very happy, as you can see (Jen took this pic w/her cell phone so, the resonance isn’t so hot).
I was tearing up during the intro/overture, pinching myself to make sure it wasn't a dream. And OMG what an orchestra! The sound...mwah. It was heavenly, and that was without Rufus!
Then on he walked and sang "When You're Smiling" and really truly, his voice has never sounded better. Big, velvety, it filled the entire hall, I kept picturing it emanating like a globe - it reached the ceiling. Global, think global. (ok I guess I got that off a bumper sticker).
I thought my heart would burst, I really did. Yeah that sounds over the top, but I was in this blissful state that is very hard for me to describe. At one point in the show, I realized that I forgot where I was (as in Carnegie Hall, NYC, USA, earth).Talk about a Zen experience. It was transcendent, maybe like having a religious experience. I don't know how anyone could have left there not believing in God, because I felt like he was channeling the Divine. I'm not exaggerating.
He even stopped a few numbers because they were too slow. I love that he has the guts to do that and why not? Do it right, right?? He's a perfectionist but I'm glad he is!
Rufus sashayed, shook his booty and even threw in a few knee slides (being a true Divo/Drama Queen, naturally). He even wore a top hat at the beginning of the second half:
Some funny highlights: Rufus introduced his mom, folk singer Kate McGarrigle, and she walked onstage, clad in a gold lame (Elvis-like) suit carrying a banjo. Rufus detests the banjo…and he deadpans: “Deliver us from Deliverance.” She was joking, of course:
Kate accompanied Rufus to “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” which he sang while sitting on the edge of the stage. It was beautiful, of course:
The encores were a real treat, and Kate returned to accompany Rufus on piano again, and for one song (I forget which one) he said, “Mom! I need more of an introduction that THAT” and then, not missing a beat, she said,” Oh, do you want the Philip Glass version?” hee hee!
Another funny moment was when Rufus returned for an encore ("Get Happy") wearing a Fedora.
After the song, Kate said: "Ah, Rufus, you're supposed to be Judy in that hat, right?"
Kate: "Oh. I was thinking it was more Michael Jackson."
Rufus’ sister Martha returned for her encore and Rufus embarrassed her by acting like a 5 year old: “Hey sis, it’s like we have our own Judy TV show for Mom! Which song should we play for her?!” Martha covered her face with her hands. I don’t think she was acting! When she had finished one song (she sang a total of 2 encores), Rufus hopped off his stool and said, “Ok! My turn! (Yeah you REALLY have to be a Rufus freakazoid to get all this. Laura, you understand, RIGHT???)
Rufus loves his dear sister Martha:
Of course I love Rufus to death, but can I just say that, besides my two favorite songs If Love Were All and Alone Together, Martha was a major highlight. OMG- her voice, delivery, emotion, heart - I just can't find the words. I think Martha could easily pull off a concert of standards, and I wish she would. Of course she can't do "the Judy Comeback" again, but honestly, her voice and her unique style are made for the interpretation of standards. I love her own songs, but she really shines when she sings songs like Stormy Weather and Someone to Watch Over Me (she performed both that night). The most important aspect of singing is to make the audience believe that you are feeling every word that you are singing, and in that respect, she is closer to Judy than Rufus, BUT I think she has an advantage being a woman. (!)
She never looked (or sounded) more beautiful:
I couldn't believe how quickly the concert went! I was counting the songs at the beginning, saying to myself, "aw, only 23 songs left..."
I was SO excited about meeting other Rufus Wainwright Message Board members. We were having cell phone problems, but miraculously,after the show I finally met Jody and her husband Joh from New Jersey. They are the sweetest, cutest couple on the planet. I hope I can meet up again with them (and drag my husband next time). I envy Jody because Joh likes Rufus as much as Jody. Lucky girl - and she knows it.
After the show we met some other board members (Yasmin, Emilie, Cindy and Jennifer). Rufus has the BEST FANS on the planet. Really wonderful people. (Well, besides Rachel Fuller, of course).
Jody, Joh, Jennifer and her sister along with myself and my sister were waiting by the stage door for awhile after the show. When Rufus didn't surface, that was our cue to head for the bar...my intuition told me that after a drink, he'd appear, so we went back and sure enough he did. My sister is pretty clever and figured out which door he'd come out of (not the main one but one to the side) so we were far from the crowd but close to him!
He signed my beautiful poster, but there was no time to get a word in edge wise. My poor little tiny sister got swept up by the mob that attacked him from the other door (within seconds). It was a little scary for her!
I felt badly because I had been chatting with Rufus’ cousin, Lily Lankin (daughter of Anna McGarrigle), and then Rufus appeared and in a microsecond I was like, poof, right there with my poster in his face! (not really but you know what I mean). After he signed my poster I did go back and apologized to her - she's so sweet I'm sure she understood! She even asked my name and shook my hand. Then I saw her dad, Dane Lankin who was standing next to her, and he introduced himself and shook my hand! They're the nicest people. What a family.
It must be kismet (?) that I waited so long to post this, because a few days back, Jody sent me a picture of all of us that appeared in a Sunday supplement to the Uk newspaper, The Guardian called Observer Music Monthly. It’s a picture of Rufus SIGNING MY POSTER!
Me (again!) :
And Jody (in the black cap, holding her camera):
Jen and I before Hurricane Rufus:
Joh got some great shots of Rufus:
THANK YOU RUFUS FOR A NIGHT THAT I WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER
(Please note that photos used here were posted on the rufuswainwright.com message board. Many thanks to those who posted them).