Never ones to shy away from an Upper West Side musical showdown, yesterday night we hoofed it up to the Beacon Theater on Broadway & 70millionth Street for the Rufus Wainwright/Ok Go extravaganza. We weren't immediately positive as to what the link was between the two until the end of Rufula's performance, when he and band strutted out onstage in saintly habits/roman togas and began to do that zany "A Million Ways" dance number that OG is known for.
Kulash and company have that shit down, Liza Minelli-pat, but it wasn't a bad effort. Other highlights included Wainwright covers of Jeff Buckley and Leonard Cohen hits, a new song that will be found on Rufus's mom's forthcoming Christmas album and Rufus donning Christ-like costume and affixing himself to a crucifix (complete with Roman guards) for one of his closing numbers. Low points included the fact that RW's voice got real strained by the end of the show and he was unable to hit any of the high notes toward the close—"I hope you don't mind that my voice is a little funky tonight. It's something I'm not used to: imperfection" were his words.
But how could we be mad? This was one of those die-hard, sell-out kinna gigs where the first two chords were enough for everybody in the audience to identify the song. We got a little shook by the encyclopedic knowledge all around us, but by mid-set, once the spotlight was turned out towards the audience and Rufus was imploring us to sing along, "Like they do in Italy at the opera," we were grinning and chanting the chorus to "14th Street" along with the best of em.