Rufus Wainwright played the Greek Theater in Los Angeles this past Friday,  a show that started off as some sort of baroque Oprea, but ended with Rufus playing all the songs everyone wanted to hear, including “Hallelujah” with his sister Martha Wainwright. Rufus walked out in a long Black cape, something that looked like it belonged on a Vampire bride. He sat down and played an hour of new material and told the crowd not to applaud. One of the strangest requests I’ve ever heard at a show. He then slithered off the stage only to return 15 minutes later in a loud pink, floral pants suit, reminiscent of Elton John or Liberace, and played an hour of his earlier material. This time the crowd was allowed to applaud and this set was much more friendly as Rufus had a nice back and forth with the crowd.

I’ve been a fan of Rufus’ for a while. He has a smooth yet unique voice and is a great songwriter. I caught an in studio set of his on KCRW several years back and have been wanting to see him ever since. The guy is a showman, definitely, but his performance was very minimal. I expected a band, but it was just Rufus and his piano. During the set he expressed his love of Jeff Buckley and darkly joked how jealous he was of Jeff, and that his death came as almost a relief, and may have been one of the biggest breaks in his career. It was quite an honest moment, if not morbid and inappropriate. But you can definitely hear the Jeff Buckley influence in Rufus’s music, and maybe even a little Thom Yorke. I don’t know what more Rufus can do as an indie pianist. He has had some great commercial success and has been critically lauded his entire career, appearing on several movie soundtracks and winning tons of awards. But, if he’s anything like his father Loudon, he’s going to be doing this for a long time.

Rufus Wainwright – Hallelujah

Rufus Wainwright – Across the Universe

Rufus Wainwright – The Art Teacher

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