Following support from the charming Adam Cohen, Rufus Wainwright took to the Vicar Street stage on Tuesday night. He launched straight into a rendition of Candles and as his voice seeped through the room the audience were plunged into darkness. Only the singer’s faint outline against candle light was to be seen. The opener provided a mellow start to the set, a strong and atmospheric beginning to the concert. “Hello Dublin, it’s great to be here” he said before knocking out another favourite from his latest studio release Out Of the Game. As the lights are turned on the audience were treated to a dazzling pair of canary yellow tartan trousers. ‘I bought them today’ he laughed ‘we’ll see how I feel about them tomorrow’. He moved on to reminiscing about ‘drinking rose in the rain’ and the somewhat mesmerising Barbara had everyone swaying in their seats. Rufus thanked the audience for joining him, saying it’s only been about three months since his gig in The Iveagh Gardens. “Don’t worry though it won’t be the same set” he chuckled, promising to mix it up a bit.
Rufus is no stranger to Dublin and it is easy to see why. He is funny, charismatic and at ease on stage and enjoys the time between songs to knock out various anecdotes. It is difficult to fault the performance or the set list. He played a wide range of material from his vast repertoire and included some covers for good measure. Building on that, Rufus is not afraid of using his show to promote new talent and often takes the opportunity to do this. The stage was cleared for singer Krystle Warren, who performed a stunning version of Kate McGarrigle’s I Don’t Know. This track was recorded for a film about his late mother and that just premiered in New York. The full band performances were simply wonderful and highly entertaining; highlights included Montauk a song written for his daughter Lulu and the title track of his new album before which he proclaimed ‘I’m out of the game and so are you’.
An old favourite, Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk received a warm response from the audience. He laughed as he sang ‘I’m just a little bit Irish’ and the crowd loved it. Charysse Blackman’s backing vocals were impeccable and were at times comparable to Clare Torry’s legendary Great Gig In The Sky recording. When Rufus took a seat at the piano his performances were stunning and allowed his expressively honest lyrics to shine. “Any time I sang this song over the last few months I had to give a spiel about how scary Mitt Romney is before I could start….yay Obama! Now we have to do something.” he said before introducing Going to a Town, a song he released before the 2008 US election. For Art Teacher Rufus had the stage to himself again and delivers a haunting performance.
Despite how recent his last performance in Dublin was, Vicar Street was jam packed with people of all ages. The band returned for the encore, but Rufus was missing. They were joking that he was pouring himself some Guinness when wham-bam there was smoke and Cupid (or Amour, the God of Love) who jumped onto the stage stating that if we wanted Rufus to return a “wild dance party must ensue”. Before long the audience were on their feet and Rufus brought the concert to a close with the Gay Messiah. Dublin was the first night of his European tour and with a concert of this caliber no one would object to him joining us again in another three months.
Rufus Wainwright Photo Gallery
Photos: Debbie Hickey