Concert review

Rufus Wainwright – multiple streaming concerts on Facebook Live

Rufus Wainwright could perform in his bathrobe and still have me spellbou…. Oh wait! He IS in his bathrobe!

Starting last week, Rufus began a series of at-home concerts broadcast as part of the #TogetherAtHome initiative. He is fundraising for global citizen.org/coronavirus.

Together at Home is a virtual concert series happening in partnership with the World Health Organization, which is helping to promote social distancing in the era of this worldwide pandemic and to promote global health. Other celebrity performers who have joined in this initiative include John Legend, Shawn Mendes, Camila Cabello, Niall Horan, Charlie Puth and One Republic.

It was so nice to get a glimpse of Rufus at home with his piano and guitar, along with an occasional cameo of his very talented husband, arts administrator Jörn Weisbrodt. 

Rufus has performed several separate online concerts now, featuring some of his most lovely compositions and covers of other great songs. And yes, each time, he is performing in a robe. We have seen four or five of them now, each one lovelier than the one before.

Last Saturday’s Facebook Live concert lasted 56 minutes. Lots of time for a little chatting and several songs, including “Complainte de la Butte,” which was Rufus’ French contribution to the 2001 film Moulin Rouge. Rufus showed his significant prowess on his grand piano and guitar. Jörn has also been doing a great job as cameraman, showing us Rufus’ gorgeous fingers in action over those ivory keys.

“Going to a Town” was also on the Saturday set list, and Rufus’ performance made me remember how completely he inhabits this song. It was stunning. And then, with equal passion, Rufus finished up his set with Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” which he dedicated to all the healthcare workers who are working so hard on the front lines of the Covid 19 pandemic. 

Other live performances of this past week saw him perform “Grey Gardens,” “Millbrook,” “The Art Teacher,” “Dinner at Eight,” “Vibrate” and others. Rufus’ daily concerts (at 10 a.m. LA time) will be going on for a while, he said, meaning that we all will eventually hear that favourite song that means so much to us. The concerts are all up on his Facebook page, so don’t worry if your timing doesn’t coincide with his.

It was so lovely to see Rufus close-up, at home, completely immersed in his music, away on another planet altogether, taking us with him, up and away from the mess the world is in right now.

You can see his daily concerts on Facebook Live. And do visit the charity website to give to the World Health Organization’s coronavirus initiative: citizen.org/coronavirus

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