Concert Photos

Rufus Wainwright at the Aladdin Theater in Portland (PHOTOS/REVIEW)


Photos and review by Keith Lancaster.

Off the heels of his recent record of adapted Shakespeare sonnets, Rufus Wainwright continues to tour the world with his own brand of simultaneously quirky, charming, and extremely powerful entertainment. Monday night at the Aladdin theater in Portland, OR, Rufus treated his typically diverse group of fans to a concert that felt more like we were all sitting in his living room than a sold out auditorium. He has a great ability to treat his shows like conversations, stopping songs and restarting them when he forgot to mention a detail, laughing at his mistakes instead of hiding them, and sharing recent stories from the road that provide a little glimpse into the life of an active touring musician. He explores themes during segments – notably a 5-song tangent on the subject of death (Rufus saying “Cause, ya know, it’s my fave…”) where he covered Lhasa de Sela’s “I’m Going In” in what was one of the most powerful things I’ve seen on a stage.

The evening was spent between an acoustic guitar and a piano as Rufus played through songs from throughout his entire career and was interspersed with his almost self-deprecating humor and stories. At one point, at the end of “Blue Moon” with Thomas Lauderdale on piano, he stopped after the pinnacle high note with a defeated, “Ugh, I was supposed to hold that note really long.” The crowd loved it. The night wrapped up with an encore of “Going to a Town” (which has become a powerful anthem whenever things are going wrong in America) and “Hallelujah” which is always a crowd favorite with help from the likes of Jeff Buckley and the ever popular creator Leonard Cohen.