Friday, August 17, 2007


It was a hot but very fine night to see Rufus Wainwright ply his craft in the backyard of Stubb’s BBQ. He freaking opened with the tune I was probably most looking forward to, the eponymous final track on his new album, rocking the horns and the kind of SNL/Motown flavor he first touched upon with 14th Street. Put that song to bed, killer opening. And what he was wearing had to be a deliberate crime against fashion, this striped number, really short shorts and a matching jacket, orange and green and white and blue. It was awesomely hideous. Followed the first tune with Going To A Town, probably my least favorite on the album. America upsets me at times too, but that number’s just no fun. Powered on with all new tunes, eight total before the intermission. Which is cool, you know, he’s toured heavily so might as well play the new stuff. That Sanssouci was third, great one there. When he started in on Tulsa, I thought it was Art Teacher, those tunes must both be in Eb. He played for an hour, then took an intermission.

Came back out (so to speak, yah-hah) in the lumberjack lederhosen he apparently picked up in Bavaria and they were a grand sight. Opened with Harvester of Hearts, another one I’m not in love with, but followed up with Do I Disappoint You, which he really tore up. Kept the Martha background vocals from the album, and how could he not? Then he let his inner Dorothy shine and sang a couple of numbers accompanied only by piano, A Foggy Day and another Garland tune I didn’t catch the name of. Impassioned solo rendition of Nobody Gets Off the Hook, followed by an excellent Beautiful Child, which I really felt owed, as his drummer completely fractured that tune during the encore when we saw them last time at La Zona Rosa in 3/04. He played the last two songs off the new album that he hadn’t played, that’s right EVERY damn tune got aired, I’ve never seen that in all my years, no, then he did this killer Irish ballad, sounded like Meshuggah (well, less Lovecraftian probably, but those were the phonetics) and then thanked us all for coming out and busted out 14th Street, which he tore up. Every member left the stage until it was just the banjo player. Killer rendition.

Obligatory encore for the sold-out crowd, of course. He came out in a bathrobe and told us all he was naked under there and then played I Don't Know What It Is solo; I did miss the loping McCartney bass on that one, usually supplied my Mr. Jeff Hill. Next was Pretty Things and Complainte de la Butte, the latter of which was especially gorgeous. Over the course of all this, he applied lipstick, then at the end of Butte, he jumped up and threw off his bathrobe to reveal not his johnson but a coat and panty-hose, kind of a Liza Minnelli Cabaret thing, he donned a top hat then had his poor band run out and do their best in a synchronized dance number while he sang Get Happy to, seems like, a backing track. Jazz hands and everything, it was hilarious. Haven’t seen choreography that awesome since Hot For Teacher. It was a spectacle, I tell you what. Great performance, over two hours of music in the hot Austin night.

Set List:

Release the Stars
Going to a Town
Rules and Regulations
Leaving for Paris No. 2
Between My Legs


Harvester of Hearts
Do I Disappoint You?
Foggy Day
Judy Garland #
Nobody's Off the Hook
Beautiful Child
Not Ready To Love
14th Street

I Don't Know What It Is
Pretty Things
Complainte de la Butte
Get Happy

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