Sunday, 9 September 2007

20 August 2006 – V Festival (Chelmsford)

Rufus Wainwright - Beautiful South - Gomez

Festivals are much like theme parks – lots of attractions but too many punters and only enough time (and space) to get round to a few. There being no fast track, this was for me an ‘Operation Rufus’ – this being his ONLY UK date in 2006. So – the signing tent and then on to the JJB stage.

His Rufusness arrived looking tanned and relaxed. He patiently signed, chatted and good-naturedly posed for pictures with everyone. People wanted to know if he was to bring the Judy Garland show to the UK, perhaps to the Palladium, to which he replied “We’re working on it”.. Such a doll. Trek back to the stage and begin to squeeze to the front of the crowd as fans of other bands left after their sets. Getting closer.

Gomez – a real belter of a set (shame the recorded version turned out to be much tamer). A little closer.

Beautiful South (before the split) – who played their socks off. Closer yet. Result – front of stage.

Then out comes the grand piano and lone guitar stand, some anxious prodding of out-of-tune hammers by concert-pianist-looking roadie and several worried managers, then at last we were ready.

(Oh yeah, the other downside to festivals is that they offer ‘taster’ sets – which is fine if you turn up out of curiosity to hear someone and you’re pleasantly surprised. On the other hand, you’ll only get a “best of” set from your main band.)

Rufus Wainwright. Some Rufus is better than no Rufus and there was absolutely nothing to complain about here. Great songs played to rapt attention, regrettably no peek preview of next year’s album. Droll chat and banter in spades, but the funniest moment was when Rufus got his foot caught in a guitar cable – “Hey, this lead’s trying to hit on me”. Lucy Wainwright Roche (a half-sister) ably supporting - Wainwright gigs being usually family affairs. Come back soon, honey.

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