Monday, January 21, 2008

Kudos to Rufus in Osaka

Thank you, Rufus. But first, the backing band that performed in Namba, Osaka last night. The drummer that also played bass, the bass player that played an upright and an electric and managed also (like the gifted types that can gum chew even as they walk) to pull off a good moustache, the rhythm guitarist that also played the banjo and the piano, the lead guitarist who was also band leader and white haired aging craggy faced rock legend who you just know has been on the road for how many decades and all the stories, the rock legends he's known, the highs, the lows, the coke snorted up somebody's nose. Then there was the horn section. The French horn player and the trumpet player, the saxophonist too; the saxophonist who also played the flute and recorder. Thank you boys for backing Mr. Wainwright, son of legend Loudon the III, brother of Martha a musical powerhouse of her own who I once chanced into seeing, walking down Bloor street in Toronto, and noticing the last name and $15 door charge on the poster outside Lee's Palace and thanking my lucky stars, that they were released that night and I got to see this woman before she got (gets) as big as her big brother.

But back to big bro's show.

Thank you for the encore performance, for all 7 band members reappearing in tux jackets on stage, dropping your instruments (like metaphorical pants) to flutter ridiculous and hilarious amateur, dancing, strutting, pirouetting, like the distant and untalented cousins of musical chorus members, round the man we'd paid to come and see through dry ice under stage lights.

Rufus who first appeared in white blazer, with nothing (but chest hair) underneath. A white blazer festooned with glittery thingys and stars? and flowers all over it, came onto that stage and delivered each note, held each note, gave of each note with all the power and glamour that we had hoped he could deliver and did it all on a night when, a few songs in he told us, he was sick with fever. He told us also with a smile that charms the intensity from his face, that his guitar strap was crushing the rose on his white blazer. He told us how he loved that rose. He told us he loved that rose more than the white guy in the audience who had yelled out that he loved Rufus. But then the singer laughed and said no! Of course he loved the audience member more than that rose. I, for one, was not so sure.

With somewhat smooshed rose, a cold and a fever Rufus Wainwright delivered. Sick like he dreamed of his hotel - no his home - bed, he still managed to catch himself on the kind of fire that will get even a Japanese crowd, so notoriously still, flat and dead-fish like, to eventually clap, to hoot (or was that just me?, and my wife, when I prodded her - forced her), to holler and even to stand.

Rufus, of the piano and the guitar, Rufus with his phenomenal vocal repertoire, his range, his breath control, his flamboyantly charmingly uber-talented way. Such big balls to be so openly, prettily, sillily, mockingly, shockingly, honestly, performatively gay on stage. So unafraid to flutter his feathers, and strut like a peacock with raised eyebrow. How else to make a rock show a Broadway show too. How else to get the ipod, earphone generation excited to be in a public space, to understand the reason why a performance is worth the wait. How else to give the crowd it's 7,000yen's worth of pleasure, of pain, of drama and, for the finale, when the aforementioned band came back on stage sans instruments and in black blazers to dance around Mr. Wainwright who gave his last couple songs in Judy Garland drag, lipstick and all, to give us delight - and when was the last time this young century that you found you were even allowed to use the word delight in relation to anything not ironic, or bitter sarcastic insincere.

Thank you, Rufus, for giving me, my wife, my friend Gerald, his partner, Shig, and however many other hundreds that were in the crowd that much more input to inspire our output.

When you sing, play, perform you shine and when you shine we shine. Thank you.


  1. JaneDoe6:05 a.m.

    kudos to you for this lovely and honest review!


  2. Wonderful! I read this review on Rufus' site, and didn't know how to tell you how much I enjoyed the review (though I was sad to hear Rufus was sick, but happy he made it through anyway - like he always does!) -- and here you are, in blogland too :) (Found you via the board...)

    Can't wait to see Rufus again in April...


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