Rufus Wainwright – [Album/DVD]

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

As idiosyncrasies go, few musicians can be topped by Rufus Wainwright; particularly now that the singer's adoration for Judy Garland has led him to recreate Garland's famous 1961 performance in every possible way from the set list employed to the venue in which the show occurred.

Okay, that's out of the way. Now then—belief in one's ability is one thing, but execution is quite another, and the amazing part about Rufus Does Judy is that Wainwright does better than pull it off, he nails the show cold. Often doing the songs in Garland's original keys (no small feat given her range and Wainwright's normally lower register), the singer goes to bat for the performance to give as close a reproduction to the original as possible—down to the timing between tracks when Garland would talk to the audience—and knocks it out with startling ability. He clearly relishes in the opportunity too; Wainwright just dumps all of himself into the show and lives and dies with the dramatic peaks and valleys of the set. After it starts rolling, no guest can derail the momentum either and normally scene-stealing moments (like sister Martha Wainwright's rendition of "Stormy Weather" for example) become background color to the Wainwright's show. By the end when the singer sits down on the floor under a single spotlight for "Over the Rainbow," the image is complete—for one night, Rufus Wainwright did better than a tribute show, he channeled Judy Garland and resurrected a magic moment that, while obviously not perfect, is as good as it gets.

More on Rufus Wainwright here:

Rufus! Rufus! Rufus! Does Judy! Judy! Judy! is out now on Geffen.

Rufus Wainwright – "Somewhere Over the Rainbow

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