22 June 2018 (gig)
24 June 2018
Rufus Wainwright is a man who certainly requires no introduction. The flamboyant Canadian icon, who moves the masses with his thought provoking, insightful and often risque lyrics has gone from strength to strength in an increasingly diverse career. Having spent his early years touring with his family as part of The McGarrigle Sisters and Family, before his father Loudon Wainwright really spotted his developing solo promise in his early twenties and ensured his demo recordings were heard by the right people. Twenty years ago his eponymous debut album debuted, and he has since proven his a capable pop, opera and theatrical composer.
However, before he takes the minimalist stage at the heart of Coventry Cathedral, the equally notable and respected Jersey's Nerina Pallot took to the stage for a tender 30 minute set. Boasting a magical vocal that is as pure as an angel's, Pallot took the audience on a journey through her stunning back catalogue. While the always awesome Sophia was a set highlight, the poignancy of History Boys, which closed 2011's Year of The Wolf, was notable in the historic setting.
Having been captivated by Pallot's magical delivery, Wainwright arrived fresh from opening for Kris Kristofferson at London's Hampstead Heath. Having flown by helicopter for the first time to ensure his arrival for the headline set, Wainwright joked he had fears of the evening being his funeral, before launching into an intimate set filled with slow numbers to suit the surrounding.
As all Wainwright fans are aware, slow and thought provoking is what Wainwright does best. Armed with just a Grand Piano and a guitar, Wainwright journeyed through choice cuts from his nine studio albums, while teasing next year's tenth.
While new song Peaceful Afternoon is certain to gain a revered place in the hearts of all his fans, it was classic cuts Gay Messiah, Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk and a stirring cover of Leonard Cohen's So Long, Marianne which really wowed. However, they did not come close to the pure magic of his a capella rendition of Candles, which relied solely on the Cathedral's acoustics.
Returning to his thrilled audience for an encore, Wainwright briefly touched on his disdain for Trump, which added a real fire to his impassioned Going To A Town, before he closed the night to rapturous applause for both Hallelujah and Poses.