Last weekend, I saw one of my favorite musicians, Rufus Wainwright, currently on tour for his newest album, All Days are Nights: Songs for Lulu.
I got the tickets months ago, and while I love me some Rufus, was a little conflicted about going. I wasn’t super crazy about the latest album, but figured – well, it’s Rufus. He’s amazingly talented and always puts on a good show.
Needless to say, he did not disappoint.
He came out slowly, in a long dark robe, shuffling toward the piano, sat down, and started playing. We had been instructed not to clap between songs, as this was to be a continuous performance. What followed was a combination concert/art show. He played the entire first album straight through, while we listened and watched the images. (Which consisted of…eyes. Yes, eyes. I’m not sure either, though it did get sort of memorizing after a while.)
Then there was a brief intermission, Rufus came out again, this time dressed in a fabulous multi-colored suit, and basically played a greatest hits show. (Or maybe it just felt like that to me because I love almost all his songs.)
Toward the middle of this set, he stopped to introduce “Dinner at Eight”, saying it was a song written about “the man who started it all”, his father Loudon Wainwright III.
So..being the huge Rufus fan I am, owning all his albums, and having seen him twice prior, I should have known that, right? Right. I know that “Memphis Skyline” is about Jeff Buckley. I know “Martha” is about his mother dying. Why on earth didn’t I know this?
In retrospect, I’m glad Ididn’t know it, because I got to hear it again through a new set of ears. And jeez, Louise, is it not the saddest song in the world? What is it with male artists and their tourtured relaltionships with their fathers?
See? Saddest song ever, right?
I’ve been listening to Rufus all week, reacquainting myself with an old friend. And actually, the new album is pretty great. Man alive, can that boy play piano. That’s one of the things I love about going to shows – you get immersed in the music again, remember why you love it so much.
Rufus Wainwright is currently on tour. If you’re a fan of his music, or of music and piano playing in general, get thee to one of his shows. You can do that here.
Videos of the Day: Two of my favorites from All Days Are Nights: Songs for Lulu.
“Who Are You New York?”
“Martha” (This is the one about his mom. I dare you not to get choked up.)