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RUFUS WAINWRIGHT

Photo by Toni Wilkinson
Photo by Toni Wilkinson

Lucy Wainwright Roche

Perth Concert Hall

Monday, March 2, 2015

This generation of Wainwrights appear to be a pretty close knit unit. The headliner’s half sister Lucy Wainwright Roche opened the night with a bright set of folk tunes. It was Wainwright Roche’s first visit to Australia since she was here opening for her father, and was thankful another family member would offer their audience to her. Not having any CDs at had to promote, Wainwright Roche was able to offer tunes from different releases. The Worst Part is a tale of broken love that has become the family’s staple.

Wainwright Roche has a quaint sense of humour and engaged the crowd by answering questions from the floor that ranged from her dress and her dog to her family and previous life as a teacher. Seek & Hide was affecting even without the Colin Meloy backing and sat well next to the dark lullaby that Wainwright Roche has written with her sister Martha. A cover of Hungry Heart with the lyrics swapped out to include the words cricket bat wasn’t a musical highlight, but was fun nonetheless. She may be the lesser known of the Wainwright siblings, but Lucy Wainwright Roche can more than hold her own.

It was a sparse stage that welcomed Rufus Wainwright with just a grand piano and acoustic guitar for company. The stylish performer drew all eyes to himself immediately with his bright pink blazer and hairstyle straight from an American daytime soap opera. Seated at the piano, Wainwright wasted no time in showing off his expressive tones during Grey Gardens and a heartfelt Vibrate.

Wainwright noted that some cricket players were staying at the same hotel as him in Perth, and revelled in the fact that they aren’t blessed with the same type of chiselled physique of other athletes. It was a cheeky segue into the bright Out Of The Game, the first tune to see Wainwright step out from behind the piano to perform. It was billed as a greatest hits show and Jericho and Art Class certainly fulfilled that billing.

Always one to push the envelope, Wainwright did some tunes from a couple of his current projects, putting music to some words by Shakespeare in Sonnet Number 20 and visiting his French opera Prima-donna. Excess is never too far away and, with an explosion of streamers and Wainwright Roche in a wig coming to the stage dressed as Liza Minelli, the performance descended into a variety show for Me And Liza and Gay Messiah.

Jetlag was starting to kick in and Wainwright meandered through Montauk and then misfired with a new tune, Lucy’s Blue, that would have been ordinary when played well, but was unbearable when stumbled through this evening. Cigarettes And Chocolate Milk is a tune that couldn’t be damaged even on auto-pilot and brought some grace back into the performance.

A visibly fading Wainwright still gave all he had left for an encore that saw Going To A Town and Poses handled with ease. In 2015 it should be known to all that there is no fathomable reason that an artist would need to make an audience endure Hallelujah ever again since it was brought within an inch of its life by Jeff Buckley, but the tune obviously has significance for Wainwright. It was a show of two halves, but even after a long flight the vibrato and tenor of Wainwright is one of the world’s many wonders.

CHRIS HAVERCROFT

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