Rufus Wainwright, Same Old, Same Old


Last night I went to see Rufus Wainwright again, this time at l’Auditori de Sant Cugat, with one of the biggest fans of his that I know, my old-time friend Pere Oromí. Pere asked me if I would write a concert review. I, facing the challenge to write something that would be surely read by him, was very reluctant to do it. Plus, I didn’t even take the camera with me, so I just got three crappy pics with my cell. However, here you find me, writing a few lines on last night’s gig.

Rufus Wainwright is now married, has a daughter and has recently moved to California, LA. He’s grown up. He’s become a responsible adult. Or so it seems. Or so he says. A responsible adult who goes on stage without the eccentric outfits that once used to spice up his performances. Just him, in a casual outfit, his piano and his guitar. And his voice, of course. A voice that comes out from inside with strength, body, life. A voice capable of nailing the first song of his predictable setlist, a cappella. A voice which, at times, was covered with too much reverb. Oh well.

Responsibility also entails commitment, in this case, of the political kind. That’s why we didn’t get to enjoy ‘Hallelujah‘, as he refuses to do it until he knows for sure that Donald Trump doesn’t become the next worst President of the USA. A commitment that didn’t give him the chance to memorize the words to ‘Barcelona’, a song that he promised he would sing again when back in the Barcelona area. Once again, oh well.

Of course he felt close to the audience, as usual, telling them recent anecdotes and wishing he could’ve sung with Victòria dels Àngels some aria of his operas, as he’s also composed one and is in the middle of another one, called, if I remember well, Hadrian, because that multitalented he is, and it’s perhaps because of his eclecticism and explorations that he just can’t fit the mainstream schemes. Oh, that would’ve been innovative. As innovative as changing the way of strumming his guitar from time to time.

Last night’s concert lasted 1h30′. That amount of time of good music is never boring, especially if the venue is as well-equipped as the Auditori in Sant Cugat. However, while the piano parts were mesmerizing, I couldn’t but help noticing that Rufus at the guitar is less Rufus so to say, a Rufus with less versatility, less power, less charm.

If you ask me if this is the best concert of Rufus I’ve seen so far, this being the third one (briefly and from the distance at Cruïlla in 2013 and then in full, from almost front row at Vida Festival in 2014), I couldn’t tell. As we say in Spanish, he was ‘en su línea‘. Nothing new under the sun. Complete set with all the musts except for ‘Hallelujah’. Now, if you ever read this, Rufus, next time, bring your orchestra with you: even if you don’t make it stand out or give it too much of a crucial role, it’ll give you a renewed and more powerful allure. Trust me.


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