Rufus @ the Tabernacle

I am having a passionate love affair. With a gay man. With a gay man's voice.

Last Monday, I finally had the honor of seeing Rufus Wainwright live. And even better, it was at one of my favorite venues (if not my absolute favorite), the Tabernacle. For anyone who has never been, the Tabernacle is this gorgeous old building in downtown Atlanta, the kind of place that should be inhabited by the shimmering ghost of an opera singer or vaudeville magician. Every inch of every wall is painted with roses and stars and vines and diamonds, extending all the way up the multiple staircases and the three balconies and across the ceiling, where the whole thing is topped with a magnificent crystal chandelier.

And the sound! The Tabernacle proves that you don't need to deafen your audience to give them a rich experience. In my favorite moment of the evening, Rufus went sans microphone and sang a haunting Irish folk song, "Macushla." I can't imagine there are many venues where this would even be possible. His voice carried beautifully in the building, crawling up underneath the skin of my arms and vibrating. I cried. And, yes, I confess to being overly emotional, but this experience marked the first time that I've shed tears to live music.

But how could I not? Have you heard this man? There are only two musicians who I've ever fallen in love with on my first listen. The first musician is a story for another day (because it's a good story). Rufus was the second. The song was "Oh What A World" from Want One, and my love was immediate and profound.

Rufus is a showman. The concert was over two hours long, not including the intermission nor the two amazing opening acts, A Fine Frenzy and Neko Case. Multiple costume changes were involved featuring lots of sparkly brooches and, my personal favorite, custom-made lederhosen. Only Rufus could make lederhosen sexy.

And the set was filled with surprises: Two Judy Garland numbers (Who knew I'd like Judy? But if it's Rufus singing, I'd probably even like that Suncom jingle), a duet (in a bathrobe) with his sister Lucy, and then, well, what was UNDERNEATH the bathrobe.

Happy sigh. Go see Rufus, if you can. And buy me a ticket so that I can come along too.

One last thing -- A Fine Frenzy.

Wow. Really, really good stuff. I had never heard of Alison Sudol before, but as soon as her set ended, Jarrod and I ran to the merch booth and picked up her first album, One Cell In the Sea (where she also signed it for us -- she was very friendly and smiley and we both fell in love with her a bit). It's been playing on my stereo all week. If you have a moment, visit her MySpace and listen to "You Picked Me." So beautiful.

(Not that I would ever cheat on Rufus or anything.)

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