Rufus Wainwright at Festival International de Jazz de Montréal | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Festival International de Jazz de Montréal 2014, Rufus Wainwright

Rufus Wainwright at Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, June 29th, 2014

Jul 01, 2014 Festival International de Jazz de Montréal 2014 Photography by Laura Studarus Bookmark and Share

It is impossible to see any member of the Wainwright clan in concert (be it Rufus, Martha, Lucy, or Loudon) without being drawn into their family dynamics. Rufus Wainwright’s set on Sunday night at Festival International de Jazz de Montreal was—at every level—a celebration of his intense family legacy. They sing with each other. They cover each other. Sometimes they even bicker on stage. When Wainwright’s sister Lucy skipped on stage during his set dressed as Liza Minnelli (to perform Out of the Game track “Me and Liza,” naturally) one gets the feeling that she didn’t exactly have to be convinced.

Billed as a “Best of” show, Wainwright’s set stretched over two hours and two encores—paying testament to how extensive his back catalogue has grown since the release of his 1998 self-titled debut. Although it quickly became clear that his most recent work simply doesn’t stand up to classic cuts such as “April Fools,” “Grey Gardens,” and even the stripped down version of “I Don’t Know What it Is.”

A noted fan of covers, much of his performance featured music by other people. Wainwright touchingly paid tribute to his late mother Kate McGarrigle performing her piece, “On My Way to Town.” He also sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” a song previous reserved for moments when McGarrigle was free to accompany him on piano. But perhaps most notable of all was Wainwright’s version of Leonard Cohen classic

“Hallelujah.” (Montréal is, of course, Cohen’s town.) Wainwright invited fans who backed his opera Prima Donna to join him on stage and sing backup. White the show was delivered with his trademark sloppy charm (full of false starts and self-deprecation), it was a moment of near transcendent musical bliss.

Check out a gallery of photos from the show here.


1. Grey Gardens

2. Montauk

3. Out of the Game

4. Jericho

5. Dinner at 8

6. Feux d’Artifice

7. Me and Liza

8. April Fools

9. Gay Messiah

10. On My Way to Town

11. Je Suis Venu Te Dire

12. Candles

13. On My Way to Town

14. Going to a Town

15. I Don’t Know What it Is

16. Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk


17. Art Teacher

18. Pretty Thing

19. Hallelujah


20. Quand Vous Mourez

21. Somewhere Over the Rainbow

22. Poses




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