Rufus Wainwright and Rachel Eckroth at the Boulder Theater in Boulder, CO on 11-17-18

Rufus Wainwright – All Photos by
The Rock and Roll Princess

On Saturday night, Rufus Wainwright recalled the first time he performed in Boulder. It was about twenty-years-ago at a radio conference promoting his first album. When Wainwright sang April Fools, several fraternity brothers in the audience became angry about his flamboyant delivery. That’s when two avid followers of the singer (Wainwright described them as “bears”) started dancing between the perplexed members of the Greek organization. This silenced the detractors and made others witness his unique talent.

Rufus Wainwright in a colorful cape

Rufus Wainwright is music royalty. He is the son of renowned folk-singer Loudon Wainwright III and Canadian folk singer Kate McGarrigle of the legendary McGarrigle Sisters. Wainwright has recorded multiple albums, written two operas, and covered classic songs for the movies I am Sam (a Sean Penn film about a mentally handicapped man) and Moulin Rouge (a musical starring Nichole Kidman). Wainwright’s current tour is revisiting his earlier music that catapulted him into the spotlight.

He appeared on stage in a pin striped suit and a Charles Dickens style top hat (possibly to use for caroling after the show). The first half concentrated on songs from Wainwright’s 1998 self-titled album. He revealed his mother was the inspiration for one of the songs entitled Beauty Mark – “I may not be so manly/But still I know you love me/Even if I don’t have your beauty mark.”

Rufus Wainwright in a feather cape

Wainwright informed the audience about Joni Mitchell’s star studded seventy-fifth birthday celebration that he recently attended. Apparently, Seal played the song Both, Sides Down at the party. But Wainwright performed it flawlessly at the Boulder Theater.

After a brief intermission, Wainwright returned in a colorful cape and yet another top hat (more Steampunk than Dickens this time). He sang the entire album Poses with more attitude and power than the record. Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk had the audience sing along to the silly lyrics about addiction. During Evil Angel and In a Graveyard, Wainwright slipped on a black feather cape to illustrate the darkness of the songs.
The night ended with the song he recorded for the I Am Sam Soundtrack (re-recorded for the Poses album) The BeatlesAcross the Universe –  “Words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup/They slither while they pass, they slip away across the universe.”

Rachel Eckroth

Rufus Wainwright’s multi-instrumentalist band member was also the opening act. Rachel Eckroth adorned a sparkly blouse and sat behind two keyboards she called, “the spaceship.” She played mainly material from her new album When It Falls. The songs explore her melancholy state of mind after the recent death of her father. The studio album features her Grammy award winning producer/bassist husband Tim Lefebvre (David Bowie’s bass player). Eckroth has a beautiful voice that complimented Wainwright vocals throughout the evening. On her own, Echroth’s singing was powerfully moving despite the use of backing tracks. The crowd was memorized when she repeated the phrase, “I had the strangest dream.” 

See you at the next show. I’ll be wearing a Charles Dickens’ top hat looking for a feathered cape.

 

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