Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall
You might not be a Judy Garland fan beyond the ruby slippers. And maybe Rufus Wainwright’s nasal warble ain’t your thing. But one day, you’re going to get home after the shittiest day in the office/school/bar, and nothing is going to cure your malaise faster than a Rusty Nail and Wainwright’s “Over the Rainbow”— as cathartically tear-jerking as his cover of “Hallelujah.”
Garland’s more than just a canonized gay icon, and she and her roster of showtunes epitomize an era where even if you were hosed on copious substances, the show went on with a grandiose, glitzy finish. Unlike Britney’s wobbly return at the MTV Music Awards, Garland’s 1961 comeback concert at Carnegie Hall, and its accompanying live recording, were considered by some to be “the greatest night in show business history.” Wainwright recreates the night, same venue, song-by-song. The risks he takes on the two—CD and DVD—prove star-is-born-worthy.
As Wainwright points out between songs, like Garland, Wainwright’s all about his fabulous family. Sister Martha appears, and smokes “Stormy Weather.” Mama Kate McGarrigle—who also pens a sweet program note about the family’s multi-generational connection to Garland—provides banjo accompaniment on the famous Oz song. Even less-famous Garland offspring Lorna Luft makes an appearance. Divine, darling.
Sue Carter Flinn