Rufus Wainwright played before a crowd of admiring fans at the National Arts Centre on Nov 12.
Wainwright opened with “The Art Teacher” and “Martha, My Dear,” performing the entire show alone on a Steinway grand piano and acoustic guitar.
This change from his often elaborate stage performances demonstrated a versatility that allowed his vocal and piano skills to come to the forefront.
At times the concert felt like a practice session, and he stopped three times to correct and restart his songs.
Despite his charisma, without the supporting band Wainwright had to rely on older material, particularly songs from the piano-heavy Songs for Lulu, a 2010 album he once said made him uncomfortable with his own music.
He also performed songs from his soon-to-be released seventh studio album, Out of the Game.
Many of the new songs refer to his relationship and raising a child.
The title track will resonate strongly with the queer community, particularly its catchy pop chorus: “I’ve been out for a long time now . . . look at you, you, you suckers.”
Wainwright was chatty between songs, pitching upcoming shows to the crowd.
He dedicated “Going to a Town” to the Occupy Ottawa movement.