The Rufus Wainwright show at the Vic last night was, predictably, outstanding.
He played a handful of new tunes from the forthcoming Want Two, including a song he wrote as a tribute to Jeff Buckley, in which he casts himself in the role of Orpheus going into the Hades below the Mississippi River. No joke. It was gorgeous, and highly emotional. He then nearly caused all of our hearts to stop by segueing directly into "Hallelujah." Other song highlights from the evening included "California," "The Art Teacher," and "Gay Messiah."
His solo shows put his personality center stage since he doesn't have a backing band (and, as much as I love her, Martha) dividing our attention. Much like his music, he effortlessly glides between being silly ("I hope you Want Two! Hahahaha!"), sexy (when a roadie makes an unexpected appearance on stage: "Wait, what are you doing out here? **shakes head** Spanking."), confessional (telling the story of his initially conflicted feelings about Buckley), insecure ("should I stand when I play guitar instead of sitting on the stool? Is standing sexier?"), and everything in between. There's something so startling and refreshing about going to a rock show and not seeing someone perform a persona in addition to performing the music you've gone there to see. He's grown and relaxed as a performer so much since I first saw him live. It's kind of hard for me to believe that this confident, peaceful troubador crooning at the piano last night is the same guy who I saw strip off his grimy vintage t-shirt during the big crescendo in "Evil Angel" two years ago.
(Personal to David Berkeley, Rufus's opening act: use the upper register of your voice more frequently. Your high notes are strong and exciting. You'll differentiate yourself from the glut of sensitive acoustic singer-songwriter guys if you push the limit a little bit. Just a thought.)
Death Cab tonight . . . quite looking forward. I [heart] Ben Gibbard right now.