Sunday, May 03, 2009

Wainwright Family Gathering at HOB

Rufus Wainwright and a couple of his relatives graced the OC this past week with their presence at the House of Blues at Downtown Disney, and we all had a blast. The key to the HOB is eating dinner there first. Not only is the food good (and even the service was excellent), but you get to line up in a special line where they let you in first. Of course for about $30 a seat on top of the ticket prices, they will give you a seat upstairs. But it seemed like we had already paid to get in, so why would we pay again? Anyways, being about the 6th or 7th in line, we ended up leaning on the rail, pretty much front and center. 

Lucy Wainwright Roche, Rufus' little sister opened for him. She was charming in a self deprecating sort of way. I really enjoyed her songs; especially her sing-a-long, "Hungry Heart" by some guy named Springsteen. Her voice is smooth and pretty like her mom's (one of the Roche Sisters). Loudon Wainwright (dad) made an appearance late in her 30 minute set and they sang one of his songs (can't remember the name). Lucy was jokingly upset because he got a bigger ovation than she did. We all laughed along with her. It was a fun half hour. 

After a short delay, Rufus came out wearing Mickey ears, sat down at the piano and proceeded to sing "Going to a Town", changing the lyrics to make it even more obviously a song about homophobia. It almost doesn't matter what he sings; that voice of his is magical. And the styles changed with each song as he mixed up songs from several CDs and even a play he co-wrote over the hour and a half that he performed. Rufus switched off between guitar and piano throughout the night, joking with the audience (especially about the guy next to us who sang along so loud Rufus indirectly acknowledged him; "I didn't expect an Orange County crowd to be singing so loud"). Sister Lucy came out and sang backup on a few songs and swapped verses with him during the encore when he sang "Hallelujah". "Hallelujah" is always a moving song in concert, and Rufus is one of the best at it. And it was cool hearing lots of people singing along to it. At the end, dad (Loudon) came out with Lucy and they did a country folk tune together. It was a family portrait moment and they and we were all smiling and enjoying the moment. I loved seeing Rufus with a full band, but this more intimate version of him was even better. 

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