So you know how I’ve decided to start taking care of my needs?
This grainy photo is taken from Seat 37, Row F, of the Stalls of the State Theatre.
You can’t see it, but to the right of the photo is a piano. A grand piano.
Guess who sat at that piano, peeps?
I didn’t see Rufus at the State Theatre in 2008, because I was busy paying off credit card debt. The things we do for love.
So when I realised he was playing the State again, I whipped out the plastic faster than you can say “Is he wearing a feathered cape?”
Hail Mary, of course he is.
The concert was divided into halves; the first was a song cycle, in which His Holiness played Songs for Lulu in their entirety. We were politely asked not to clap between songs, and to wait until Rufus had left the stage before we clapped, as his exit was part of the performance.
Yes, there was a lot of head scratching going on, but if you can’t indulge a man in a cape, who can you indulge?
It’s really hard not clapping after a song. I think most of us spent the first half of the first half in self-conscious agony, sitting on our hands cos we didn’t want to be the fool who clapped. It was an odd experience, and I struggled not being able to engage or connect with a performer with something as simple as clapping.
And to add to things the screen behind Rufus had video of large made up eyes looking back at us. I think I spent more time thinking about Laura Mulvey than I did Rufus. It was the kind of performance that probably goes down a treat in Manhattan, but I think it was all a little too self-conscious and a little bit clever. Or maybe that’s me, not being clever enough? So I sat with the self-conciousness of wanting to clap, feeling I wasn’t smart enough to “get” this concert and having the stage look back at me.
Anyways, the first half ended, then Rufus came out sans feathers and makeup, and plonked himself down and talked and played and ENGAGED! This is what I come to concerts for, a peek behind the curtain. God, what a relief to be able to clap between songs. He’s very softly spoken, which suprised me. He was chatty and camp and reallyreally funny which suprised me.
They are a family not afraid of opening veins for their art, and I cringed a couple of times on Martha’s behalf (“my mother’s in the hospital, my sister’s at the opera”) and wondered how Christmas was at their place? But they wear their dysfunction with some sort of pride the Wainwrights. And did I get the weeps when he sang, to his father “Dinner at 8“.
He’s been described as a warbler, a wailer (mainly by my friends, I hasten to add) a crooner, but he’s really none of these. He’s just a boy on a piano with the most beautiful voice. He is enchanting.
And if you ever get the chance to see him live, you simply must.
Love and Light.