Rufus Wainwright – Rufus! Rufus! Rufus! Does Judy! Judy! Judy!

‘Rufus! Rufus! Rufus! Does Judy! Judy Judy!’ isn’t a top shelf film…it’s Rufus Wainwright after all. Rufus has written some of the most beautiful albums of the past decade. His lyrics, vocal and passion slip out of the stereo and pound into your heart; the songs stick in your head and cause addictive listening. So it’s strange that the gay messiah’s first DVD doesn’t include one of these songs. This is the revival of Judy Garland’s legendary performance of 1961. A gig so different to any other this year, it just had to be recorded to prove it happened; an American genius did come to London Palladium and sing as Judy Garland. People came, not to itch and scream for one radio hit single as has become this country but to see the best of live performers.

This feels absolutely natural, there’s ne’er a moment where you think, this is just plain wrong. Rufus comes out to massive adulation and takes his place ahead of an immense, truly dazzling orchestra befitting his voice. A number of the 36-piece come from the original New York show. The songs become his own, while his tribute to his heroine never fades. Rufus can charm any audience with stage chat brilliantly funny and natural; he simply belongs to the stage. On ‘Do It Again’ he is singing in the key of Judy and the voice didn’t even waver. The whole show just warms you and the entire audience who are lost in the whole occasion; the fact Rufus is mimicking a lady is forgotten and it is refreshing to hear a modern performer who hasn’t arrived to go through the motions and their back catalogue. Highlights from the mammoth 31 song set come from ‘San Francisco’, the Noel Coward oldie but goodie ‘If Love Were All’ and as part of a stunning encore ‘Get Happy’. Rufus is joined by his sister Martha, Lorna Luft and Kate McGarrigle for more classics including ‘Over the Rainbow’ and ‘Someone to Watch over Me’. This is a performance to remember – a highlight of 2007 and more than worthy of recording. Much fun and truly as camp as Christmas this should grace every collection.

The CD release of the New York Carnegie Hall performance from the Judy Garland tour is released on January 21st and will be similarly perfect.

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