Openly gay singer Rufus Wainwright brought his latest album, Out of the Game, to The Vic last week. His set began with candles adorned on the stage as he played, fittingly, "Candles." The lights came up to reveal Wainwright in hipster red sunglasses and white-lettered tight pants. He launched in to the new material from the Mark Ronson-produced album such as "Rashida."
As in the past, there was plenty of banter from him as the audience discovered the story behind many of the new songs. One example was the song "Barbara," which is not about Barbra Streisand but a good friend of his named Barbara who is from Chicago.
He announced his impending wedding with longtime partner Jorn Weisbrodt (who was in the balcony), which will happen at the end of August. He then took a brief break while openers Krystal Warren and Teddy Thompson each did a song. But no costume change? He continued to focus on the new work, such as the title track and "Jericho."
The acoustics were pitch-perfect and his voice was in tip-top shape. He was funny as ever while relaying a story about Liza Minnelli. Apparently, when asked if she had listened to any of Wainwright's renditions of her mother's songs, she said, "Why would I do that?" He dedicated his Judy Garland cover "The Man That Got Away" to her, renaming it "The Bitch That Got Away."
He sang his father Loudon's song "One Man Guy," which is always a crowd-pleaser and full of harmonies.
To stir the pot more he dedicated "Going to a Town" to Mitt Romney, stating, "He's doing a wonderful job." The lyrics describe his real feelings: "I'm so tired of America."
He played a past favorite, "The Art Teacher," then explained that the song "Montauk" is about a band member's daughter telling the story of two dads. He had the room dancing with "Bitter Tears" while he played a tambourine.
He returned for an encore of " Grey Gardens" and a Leonard Cohen cover with Cohen's son Adam. He chose "Chelsea Hotel #2" because he said he's sick of singing "Hallelujah." After "Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk" he did another surprise encore of "Poses" that was original for our city.
For more on Wainwright, visit www.rufuswainwright.com . Photos Jerry Nunn