Monday, December 1, 2008

An evening with Rufus

Saw Rufus Wainright at the Mann Auditorium (heychal hatarbut) which is the home of the Israel Philharmonic. Rufus, who gave us a terrific show - his songs an amalgum of campy pop, classical, Broadway and folk - seemed (strangely) a bit overawed by the respectable surroundings. Hasn't he ever played in a concert hall before?

Anyway, he did a lot of rapping with the audience, and seemed to be having a good time in Tel Aviv. He was open and friendly and the crowd, which included a large contingent from the local gay community, lapped him up. He also brought out his mum, Kate McGarrigle - the Kate half of Kate and Anna McGarrigle - who has a great voice and seemed like a feisty lady.

I used to be a fan of Rufus' dad, Loudon Wainwright III, who by the looks of his website is still going strong. I remember, through the mists of time, seeing him in concert, circa 1969, at Manchester University where he sang his big hit 'Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road". I heard him say on a later recording that that song helped pay for a lot of child support (for Rufus?) Anyway the Wainwright-McGarrigle musical clan, with the possible exception of Loudon III, seems to prove that a family that plays together stays together.

Here's a clip with a few songs from Rufus Wairwright in Tel Aviv (you'll find more on You Tube)

At the risk of offending the audience, which he didn't, Rufus told a (true) Holocaust joke.
Walter Mathau was visiting Auschwitz and just as he was entering the gas chambers, an American lady recognised him, approached him and asked him for his autograph. Walter refused, telling her that he didn't think it was an appropriate moment. Once outside, the lady accosted him again and angrily told him : "I just want you to know that you've ruined my entire visit to Auschwitz!"

(Rufus' official site here ).

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