It’s the twentieth anniversary of Rufus Wainwright releasing his self-titled debut album, so he’s taking his show on the road: performing classic material on his “All These Poses” tour.
There are certain singers who create an indelible impression. Part of what sets them apart is a unique vocal imprint; another part is their aura and mystique; and it’s also important that they produce consistent, quality, boundary-pushing work. Rufus Wainwright has all three of these qualities in spades. From the very first time I heard the artist’s music, I was intrigued and captivated. His unmistakable sound isn’t easily described, categorized or compared to others. Perhaps it’s the way he uses his voice to create a sublime mood — baroque yet novel — which keeps us coming back for more.
Like many of our greatest musical artists, Rufus’ meteoric rise was nearly undone by his inner demons. He struggled with addiction while writing his second album, Poses, during a six-month residence at New York’s fabled Chelsea Hotel, which is known for its impressive guest list of esteemed and tortured artists from Andy Warhol and Robert Mapplethorpe to Bob Dylan and Jim Morrison.
I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Wainwright perform live on multiple occasions, and he never disappoints. I’ve seen him play landmarks such as the Orpheum and the Hollywood Bowl, where he recreated Judy Garland’s Carnegie Hall concert. And I’ve also seen him perform at decidedly low-brow venues, including a rock lounge/bar in Hermosa Beach and a Borders Bookstore (before they vanished into obscurity). Well, starting November 9, in commemoration of the twentieth anniversary of his first, self-titled album, Rufus will be performing songs from his first two albums (Rufus Wainwright and Poses), on his “All These Poses” Anniversary Tour. Heads up, San Francisco, he’ll be at the historic Masonic Saturday November 20. Then he’ll head to other cities including Seattle, Chicago and Toronto before heading to New York’s Beacon Theater December 4. The complete tour itinerary (and information about premium ticket packages) is available here.
Want more Rufus? He has a number of additional exciting projects afoot – including his second opera Hadrian, a reimagining of the epic gay love story between the Roman emperor Hadrian and his young lover Antonious, which had its world premiere in Toronto in October. Rufus also released a new song (and video), featuring an assist from The Assassination of Gianni Versace Emmy-winner Darren Criss. The song is called “Sword of Damocles,” and it’s Rufus’s response to the turbulent political climate in which we’re living. On a brighter note, Rufus has also announced the revival of his annual Christmas concert Noel Nights featuring family members and friends on December 16th at New York’s Town Hall. Sources tell us that Rufus felt it was an important way to celebrate life and love in these dark times.
Last modified: November 8, 2018