Review: Rufus Wainwright Colston Hall 9/10 (Mike Norton)
RIGHT from the get-go, it was clear that this was going to be a special night.
And it began with support act Adam Cohen. If the name sounds familiar, then it should. Adam is the son of Leonard Cohen and has inherited much of his father's talent and charisma.
Cohen's short set was like his repartee – thoughtful, funny and self-effacing.
And by the time he had finished with a fine version of his father's So Long Marianne (with a voice that could have been Leonard of 40 years ago) the audience had very much warmed to him.
As always with Rufus Wainwright, there's a family connection. He and Adam are sort-of brothers-in-law after Cohen's sister carried Wainwright's baby.
And the family connection continued during Wainwright's set – with lovely versions of his mother Kate McGarrigle's Saratoga Summer Song and I Don't Know, his father Loudon Wainwright III's One Man Guy and Leonard Cohen's Everybody Knows (for which Adam reappeared).
To say there was a lot of love in the room for Rufus would be an understatement.
Every song was cheered like it was his last and he really noticed it: "I will seriously consider moving here," he joked at the end.
Many of Wainwright's own songs were beautifully, sublimely performed.
His talent as a songwriter and musician is much vaunted but, for me, hearing the songs live also makes you aware of the clever rhythms he builds to drive them along – from the chugging sadness of Respectable Dive or Going To A Town to the unrelenting, nostalgic heights of The Art Teacher.
The finale was extraordinary. Adam Cohen reappeared as a cherub in nothing more than a loin cloth and encouraged the audience to dance in order "to resurrect Rufus Apollo".
Of course they did, and Wainwright appeared in the stalls in a toga, blond wig and mask.
My Rufus-mad friend Karen needed no more encouragement and, within seconds, she and about 30 other (mainly) women were cavorting with Cohen in the aisle before being led on stage by Wainwright for an encore of Bitter Tears and Gay Messiah – during which I could see her stroking Rufus' leg while he sang.
And so ended a night of great music and – less typically for Rufus Wainwright – great fun.