Monthly Archives: September 2012

rufus wainwright @ hammer hall 15.09.2012

On his fourth visit in six years, Rufus Wainwright was certainly no stranger to Australia as he played the first of two nights at packed Hammer Hall on Saturday night. Supporting his latest album, Out of the Game, he started off with Candles sung a capella in the dark. He was very much at ease, singing effortlessly, his voice reverberating through the silent hall.  If anything, his voice was more refined than last tour for All Days Are Night, much like a good wine. The stage then lit up with elaborate lighting Dressed in a white suit adorned with sequins, his every movement created a reflection like a mirror ball, launching into Rashida. The band complemented very well, with two back up singers, guitars, keyboards, and drums, the setlist well chosen to reflect this. A number of crowd pleasing favourites, or as Rufus said, ‘greatest hits, volume half’ were played, including Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk, and The Art Teacher.

One of the night’s many highlights was the middle of the set, starring Wainwright’s backing musicians, Teddy Thompson and Krystle Warren, who each covered one of the late Kate McGarrigle’s songs, doing a fine job. They also joined Rufus in a touching cover of One Man Guy, one of his father’s songs. In contrast, Montauk was a more personal song from the present, followed by 14th Street to round off the evening. 

This wasn’t my first Rufus Wainwright show. I recall in 2008, when the encore was a sing and dance rendition of Judy Garland’s Get Happy. But I had no idea that it would be so elaborate. It all started off with the entrance of cupid, and in no particular order, followed with: mythological figures, Rufus as a Roman God, members of the audience joining him on stage, to Bitter Tears, as well as the entire three sections of Hammer Hall dancing, a rebirth, then Gay Messiah, for a really memorable evening.

Setlist:
Candles
Rashida
Barbara
April Fools
The One You Love
Cigarettes & Chocolate Milk
Teddy’s Song
Kystle’s Song
Respectable
Out of the Game
Jericho
Perfect Man
The Man that Got Away
One Man Guy
Art Teacher
Going to a Town
Montauk
14th Street

Grand Finale:
Bitter Tears / Gay Messiah

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patrick wolf @ sydney opera house 08-09.09.2012

Patrick Wolf has always been an artist that will keep reinventing themselves. With every album and every tour, he brings in a different side of himself. And with this year’s Sundark and Riverlight  tour, were acoustic re-recordings of songs in celebration of the release of his first album Lycanthropy. On board was a grand piano, a harp, and the signature assortment of ukeleles and violins, as well as an accompanying violinst and clarinettist.

Perhaps fitting with the venue, the studio of the Sydney Opera House, he produced a much more subdued performance compared to his two previous in Australia. Stripped away of the production evident in the albums, Patrick and his violinist worked beautifully, jamming off each other, re-incarnating his entire back catalogue. He played many old favourites, including Bluebells, which he described as the song which reminded him of Autumn in London. However, it felt as though the arrangements were a little hit and miss. Songs like Oblivion were more fierce than before stripped down, whereas Paris lacked its original fire on record, arranged for the piano.

It was also the debut for Trust from Lupercalia, which according to Patrick, had never been played before in its entirety. It was played poignantly, with Patrick’s fingers gliding across the harp in arpeggio motion.

Penzance was a real surprise, as a b-side from 2005’s Wind in the Wires. Especially as I had requested it earlier on Twitter. The arrangement also consisted of the deploying of a musical saw which was used to great effect. The audience were clearly happy to see him, made up of many fans who had been there during the last tours. He finished off by reciprocating the sentiment, joking at the lack of a band to jam off during The City, giving the audience a laugh as he feigned a mock self-destruction, before thanking everyone and bowing off till next time.

Setlist:
London
Teignmouth
Tristan
Paris
Bluebells
Oblivion
Hard Times
Together
Wind in the Wires
House
The Magic Position
Trust

Encore:
Penzance
The City

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