“Rufus! Rufus! Rufus! Does Judy! Judy! Judy!”
“Somewhere Over the Rainbow”
Judy Garland’s 1961 concert at Carnegie Hall has achieved legend status. Garland’s songs are hers alone and when someone else sings them, they tend to lose something. Her movements and her tears have been imitated for years so when I first heard that Rufus Wainwright was going to recreate that concert, I was a bit apprehensive. I also read that the concert was going to be recorded on both CD and DVD and I was anxious to see and hear it. I am not disappointed. It was not recorded at Carnegie Hall; but at the London Palladium but that is not so important.
Wainwright and the orchestra that back him show great esteem for the music and the tone of affection for Garland can be felt throughout. The audience loved the show and even on the DVD it is possible to sense the energy and love that was there.
We know the songs and they have become a part of many of us. I remember how Garland sang them and Wainwright does not imitate Judy—the way he delivers the songs is his own. He is a very talented person and the audience loved him. It is not easy to take a legend and do her stuff but it is even more difficult to hold a stage alone. He has energy and obviously enjoyed what he was doing.
Wainwright also brought his mother, Kate McGarrigle, and sister Martha on stage to sing and entertain as well as Judy’s daughter, Lorna Luft. It was an evening not easily forgotten. There are several highlights but in my opinion “Chicago” and “San Francisco” are still show stoppers. From the moment that the overture begins. The audience (and me too) felt that something magical was about to happen—and it did.