Stunt was part of singer's "bacchanalian dance party" encore
Rufus Wainwright‘s sold-out gig at London’s Hammersmith Apollo ended in bizarre fashion as the singer duetted with a six-foot tall foam rubber sandwich while dressed as the Greek god Apollo.
For the encore of a two-hour set including tunes from across his career as well as covers of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Everybody Knows’ and Judy Garland’s ‘The Man That Got Away’, his band – who’d previously all been dressed in somber black compared to Wainwright’s yellow checked ‘Rupert The Bear’-style outfit – emerged dressed as wizards, slave boys and a compere Cupid to spark off a “bacchanalian dance party” in order to summon Wainwright back to the stage.
Eventually, Wainwright appeared at the back of the auditorium in a toga and blonde wig performing ‘Bitter Tears’ as he made his way through the audience, bringing a selection of the crowd onto the stage with him. Foam rubber cocktail glasses and bunches of grapes were brought on to enhance the theme, followed by a six-foot long fake sandwich with lips at one end, made to appear as if it was singing the final song, ‘Gay Messiah’.
“The critics love this part of the show,” he said, before climbing down from the stage again and completing the song in the aisles. He finally disappeared through a fire exit. See Wainwright performing this part of the show in Belfast in the clip below.
Earlier in the evening, Wainwright introduced his Judy Garland cover ‘The Man That Got Away’ with a tongue-in-cheek attack on Garland’s daughter Liza Minnelli, who had failed to appreciate Wainwright’s performance of Judy Garland’s entire Carnegie Hall 1961 set in 2006. “I used to introduce this as ‘The Bitch That Got Away’,” he said before offering Minnelli the chance to apologise: “The ball’s in your court Liza.”
The set also contained some far more touching moments, including tributes to Wainwright’s late mother Kate McGarrigle, who died from rare cancer sarcoma in 2006 – Wainwright’s guitarist Teddy Thompson sang McGarrigle’s ‘Saratoga Summer Song’, while his backing singer Krystle Warren performed another McGarrigle song, ‘I Don’t Know’.
Here’s how Twitter reacted to the unusual performance.
Rufus Wainwright played:
‘The One You Love’
‘Saratoga Summer Song’ (Kate McGarrigle cover, performed by Teddy Thompson)
‘I Don’t Know’ (Kate McGarrigle cover, performed by Krystle Warren)
‘Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk’
‘Out of the Game’
‘The Man That Got Away’ (Judy Garland cover)
‘One Man Guy’ (Loudon Wainwright III cover)
‘Everybody Knows’ (Leonard Cohen cover)
‘The Art Teacher’
‘Going to a Town’