RUFUS WAINWRIGHT // CORN EXCHANGE, CAMBRIDGE

RUFUS WAINWRIGHT BRINGS HIS SUMMER UK HEADLINE TOUR TO CAMBRIDGE'S CORN EXCHANGE

★★★★☆ (4.5/5)

Nerina Pallot opened for Rufus Wainwright's visit to the Cambridge Corn Exchange. She played six heartfelt, passionate songs. Pallot began with three breathtaking songs on the grand piano that she has mastered over the few shows she's opened for Wainwright. Her vocals were unbelievable and I was truly shocked that she didn't have her own concert that night, Pallot owned the stage. Her down to earth nature between the songs where she addressed the audience with several jokes about how intelligent the crowd were due to it being in Cambridge and how she failed her Maths GCSE 3 times then eventually passed with a C which was received with a great response, she gave the audience a sense of warmth with her personality and you felt like you knew her after her short set.

The songs she performed showcased her incredible voice with wonderfully jazzy piano/guitar chords to accompany her, it worked beautifully. Though it was just her on the stage, her presence kept every audience member focus on her with full attention. There were several moments in the songs where she took a metaphorical step back from the piano and showed her perfected singing, her voice was beautiful and amazed all of the audience. The barren stage with only the guitar and piano in the centre made it even more magical: there was nothing to hide behind, just raw talent.

Wainwright came to the Cambridge Corn Exchange on the 7th night on his UK Summer tour. He was there to promote his upcoming 'All These Poses' Anniversary Tour and also to revisit Cambridge where he had performed as a child. 

Wainwright strode onto the stage to thunderous applause, he raised his hand in appreciation of the audience. He took his seat behind the grand piano, he waited for the audience's clapping to stop before he placed his fingers on the keys. Once he began to play the applause re-erupted, his piano ability was expressed from the very start, his fingers danced up and down the keys and his face was filled with concentration. His many years of being a performer were clear to see and he knew what he was doing. 

He played a wide range of songs, some from his 20-year-old debut album and some that hadn't been released yet. Wainwright's concert was filled with serious songs with beautiful piano, but also a few humorous songs like 'Gay Messiah' and a hip-hop song where he spoke about his negative opinions on Donald Trump. During this song, a muscley man came from backstage wearing very skimpy clothing and twerked to Wainwright's singing, a very unexpected occurrence. Wainwright also told a multitude of humorous jokes about his different songs and his personal life that left some audience members in tears. During his set, Wainwright went between his guitar and grand piano, his piano ability seemingly a lot better than his guitar ability. Throughout the show, Wainwright played intricate piano parts that amazed the older audience.

During the concert, Wainwright sang his song, 'Candles' which is usually performed with his acoustic guitar, but Wainwright sang this song with no instruments - just his powerful voice. This acapella version of 'Candles' was absolutely breathtaking, between his singing you could hear a pin drop. This voice echoed through the venue and sent shivers down audience members spines, truly amazing. After this showcase of pure talent, the audience matched their applause at the beginning. 

After the extremely short encore, Rufus Wainwright jogged back onto the stage and played his final three songs. Within these songs Wainwright sang his take on 'Hallelujah' which was beautiful, he played the piano along with his vocals and left audience members shocked with his brilliance. After this amazing cover he played his song 'Poses' then bowed before leaving the stage, the crowd rose from their seats for the second time and couldn't stop singing Rufus Wainwright's praises when leaving the venue.

Overall the concert was brilliant, a real showcase of talent from the very beginning. An epic opening act lets the audience know the magnitude of the concert, the excitement didn't stop rising until the concert was over. It's difficult to keep the audience entertained for several hours non stop, but Wainwright accomplished this feat. An incredible gig that I recommend going to for great music and also a good laugh

SETLIST - | RUFUS WAINWRIGHT - CORN EXCHANGE, CAMBRIDGE - 29.06.2018

  • Beauty Mark
  • Vibrate
  • Memphis Skyline
  • Out of the Game
  • Jericho
  • Peaceful Afternoon
  • The Art Teacher
  • Early Morning Madness
  • Pretty Things
  • Gay Messiah
  • Only the People That Love
  • Trump Song
  • So Long, Marianne (Leonard Cohen cover)
  • Montauk
  • Alone Time
  • Candles
  • Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk

ENCORE:

  • Going To A Town
  • Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen cover)
  • Poses

REVIEW BY: ALASTAIR HAMILTON