Concert Review: Rufus Wainwright

Between soul-searching songs, Wainwright bantered with the audience, making for an entertaining juxtaposition of whimsy and weight.

December 1, 2008 13:36
2 minute read.
Concert Review: Rufus Wainwright

Rufus Wainwright 88 248. (photo credit: Ellis Parrinder)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


Rufus Wainwright Mann Auditorium Tel Aviv November 26 When one imagines a singer-songwriter going on tour without a backing band, images of coffee shops and small theaters are conjured. But Rufus Wainwright is too big for that kind of intimacy; his songs are too big, his flamboyant persona is too big, his longing voice is too big, and it's too big a deal that he agreed to perform in Israel. Arguably the stuffiest room in the land when it comes to high performance art, Mann Auditorium was stuffed to the brim with Tel Aviv's alt-hipster and glossy 40-something-pretty-people crowds on Thursday as Wainwright, 35, expressed jubilance over finally making it to the Holy Land between earnest, moving tunes. The strictly self-accompanied format served to heighten the immediacy of Wainwright's songs, which became even more haunting when he stepped out from behind the grand piano at center stage and strapped on an acoustic guitar, his rhythmic, no-frills strum serving to highlight the quirks of his chord progressions and melodic lines - elements which can sometimes get lost behind a band's wall of sound. With his eyes squinted in sincerity, the singer's soaring yet endearingly nasal tone enchanted the audience. Some artists manage to carve out international careers for themselves when they conform to - or help direct - the pop styles of the day. Others, like Wainwright, are such idiosyncratic individuals from the get-go that the mainstream pop gods have no choice but to make room for them. Not to imply that Wainwright sprung up from nowhere - the performer comes from an accomplished musical family, and he even invited his mom, old-school folkie Kate McGarrigle, onstage for a number of tunes. Wainwright's set list favored his later compositions, but covers, including an incredibly straight-laced "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and a somewhat hurried version of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," peppered the lineup. There also seemed to be a travel-geographical theme to his selections. He and McGarrigle had some fun with Gershwin's "A Foggy Day (In London Town)." Wainwright employed experiences on a tour of a German castle, "Sanssouci," as a springboard for introspection, and he tweaked his own "Going to a Town" refrain ("I'm so tired of you, America") to express disdain over Florida and California's recent decisions to ban gay marriages. He also sang about Paris. Between soul-searching songs, Wainwright bantered with the audience (expressing his love for local cuisine, wondering which album he was currently touring, even sharing an amusing anecdote about Walter Matthau fending off a fan while visiting Auschwitz), making for an uneasy yet undeniably entertaining juxtaposition of whimsy and weight.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Sarah Silverman
August 26, 2014
Jewish women take home gold at 2014 Emmys


Cookie Settings