Rufus Wainwright / Shannon McNally

Burton Cummings Theatre, Winnipeg MB - April 12, 2004

BY Stacey AbramsonPublished May 1, 2004

Although the Walker Theatre had some of its haunting glamour taken away when its name was unfortunately changed to the Burton Cummings Theatre, Rufus Wainwright and his theatrical ambiance brought some of it back into the venue. Opener Shannon McNally, her first time in Canada, gracefully brought her country toned songs to the stage. Sounding and looking a bit like Linda Rondstadt, her New Orleans charm was an excellent start to the evening. For his first return to Winnipeg in many years, Wainwright wasn't on short of theatrics. He entered the stage shining with rhinestones and silver flip flops, sporting the over the top glamour that he is loved for. It's not very often that an artist can come into a venue and suit its atmosphere perfectly but Wainwright and his extravagance did so with ease. Throughout the show, his dramatics seemed like they were going overboard, but in the end, he somehow managed to charm the pants off of the crowd. Wainwright produced a beautifully organised show with his six-piece band, moving gracefully from one song to the next, and from full band to solo. The night featured a sampling of songs from all three of his albums, with favourites like "Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk," "Gay Messiah" and "Foolish Love." The highlight of the evening was definitely the first encore, in which Wainwright and his band-mates strolled back onto the stage in The Wizard of Oz-esque capes and hats. With everyone on stage swaying and moaning, the rendition of "Beautiful Child" was possibly one of the most perfectly executed performances I have ever seen. While Wainwright shook his pretty little hips and sung his lovelorn heart out, the encore completely amazed many in the crowd, making it the high note of the already extraordinary evening.

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