A Weekend In The City Part 1: "Can’t Sleep In This City Of Neon And Chrome…"

Never mind the food. That’s right, you heard me. Well, never mind the food for now, anyway… all photos by Tim.

Above: We were THIS close to La Rufus. It was almost unbearably wonderful.

Above: Zing! Went the strings of my heart, let me tell you!

You may have noticed I’ve been a little thin on the ground lately (one of the few times I could use the word thin to describe myself) – or you may not have, judging by the fact that my mother is the only person who has commented on my last post! Well, either way, Tim and I took a mini-break up to Auckland to see the fabulous Rufus Wainwright in concert. We paid the whistlingest of whistle-stop visits to Mum and Dad, before getting on a bus to the Big Smoke. I realise this may sound funny coming from someone based in the city themselves, the capital no less, but Auckland is a lot bigger that Wellington, and, unfortunately, it is where a lot more stuff happens.

If that wasn’t enough – guess who we met (read: forced ourselves sweatily upon) at the gig…

Above: Pascal and Loretta from Outrageous Fortune! Now, you know we feel about this show. I must have plugged it, oh, a squillion times on this very blog. Our entire flat went into a decline when Series 3 ended. Tim and I bought the first two seasons on DVD when we really couldn’t afford it, and then went on to watch the whole lot in one weekend, even though we really should have been doing other things. We even went and logged in to all those online NZ magazine polls so that Robyn Malcolm would have a better chance of winning. That’s right, we are boffins, and so to those of you who haven’t heard of Outrageous Fortune, this was kinda a Big Deal.
We were all, “Should we? Shouldn’t we?” Until we settled on the fact that we’d never be cool anyway, so there was no need to be like all the other people milling round with their shields of ennui. So we went up to them, and said hi, and that we were enormous fans of the show and we were sorry to bother them but would they have a photo with us? Now, the above picture is admittedly pretty awful: Photographer Tim’s face is chopped off, I really hope I don’t look like that in real life, even Siobhan something-or-other and Antonia Prebble (they have names!) look kinda shiny, and on the whole the photo is haplessly bungled. But still: SQUEEEE!!!
I know I tend to gush over things, “exaggerate,” some might say, (although I’m really not exaggerating! I just like a lot of stuff!) and I do use the word ‘ridiculous’ a lot… But Rufus was just bafflingly excellent, ridiculously talented, and completely charming. His voice is staggeringly beautiful. It soars. The concert felt really special, it was just him, a pianny and a guitar. Nothing else. He talked to us between songs in a surprisingly nasal Canadian accent – about how he always loved Kiri Te Kanawa…”but I hear she’s a bitch! We grew up with her music…I loved to think of her practicing Strauss…on the beach…” and performed a haunting song from Brokeback Mountain, hinting at the added significance of this song but breaking the tension afterwards by saying “it was, of course, filmed in New Zealand…just kidding, ha!” And then he put on his guitar with a red-sequinned strap and said he was going to sing a song about America…not the one from the new album that everyone is expecting – “but it’s still negative anyway, so don’t worry! Here we go-” and launched into California, one of my favourite songs of his. One of my favourite songs of anyone, really.

He was supported by – speaking of Outrageous Fortune- Madeleine Sami and her two sisters, who are seriously lucky: as well as being completely gorgeous, having wonderful voices and a knack for writing kicky but bittersweet songs, they got to open for Rufus. Some people… but really, they were great, they didn’t give themselves a name but they were light years better than most of the crap on the radio these days.

Above: This was the view out the window of our room…with a view…Did you know that K Road is seriously noisy? Distractingly so; Tim and I got to our hostel on Sunday afternoon – a Sunday – and at 12.30am there were still voices, cars, music, sirens…it kept us awake and made me realise how serene our little neck of the woods in Wellington is! But still it was kind of exciting, in a Spongebob Squarepants kind of way, to a country gal like me – I’m being kept awake by sirens and yelling…in Auckland…

I’ll write about what else we got up to and what we ate tomorrow, I just couldn’t hold all this in but I didn’t want to subject you to the whole darn thing in one enormous post. As a parting shot though, here is a video that Tim took from last night. Don’t, don’t for goodness’ sake judge Rufus’ voice on the really pretty awful sound-recording capabilites of Tim’s aging camera, he sounded clearer than the clearest bell could ever hope to sound. But isn’t he good on the piano?

PS: I also found the Rent OBC soundtrack at Real Groovy on Queen Street…Result!!

5 thoughts on “A Weekend In The City Part 1: "Can’t Sleep In This City Of Neon And Chrome…"

  1. adam_alligator says:

    Hi there!Came across your blog through the RWainwright official msg board. Some clever person found your photos (and video) of last night’s concert and had to share with the deprived, linking back to your blog.Just thought I would say HI! as I was standing right next to/behind you and your boyfriend. (Me with the plain white tee and the very noisy sister.)We were equally spazzy about the Outrageous Fortune girls, and our only regret of the night was not asking for a photo with them! Shanti too.. After overhearing our fanchatter, your boyfriend Tim mentioned to us that he’d got a photo with them which made us incredibly jealous – but it was too late at that stage, save extreme stalker tactics. The night was about Rufus anyway.I’m an out-of-towner as well – we drove up from Hamilton to see Rufus. Best 64+dollars I have ever spent. I could sense the surreal atmosphere you describe and I was left totally gob smacked by his talent. I am now having dangerous thoughts such as timing any overseas trips to coincide with future Rufus Wainwright concerts. How very sad – but he is that great. The greatest, I think.Aren’t we lucky?PS You looked much better in person than in that photo – it’s true.


  2. Anonymous says:

    I love him too Laura. To bad he would never come to Puerto Rico. People here just don’t know music. Hey, please tell me that I am not the only person on this earth of who remembers the movie he made when he was a kid titled, “Tommy Tricker and the Stamp Traveler?”


  3. Laura says:

    Adam: Hi and thanks, truly! Wow – the internet certainly makes New Zealand an even smaller world. Do you have a link to this message board? Tim would be seriously stoked, since he took all the photos. Didn’t realise there was a RW msg board(I’m such a forum geek already, can I really handle another one? LOL) I remember Tim mentioning you though! *Sigh* it really was amazing. Sarah: I haven’t heard of this film, but I wikipedia’d it – doesn’t Rufus look cute as a kid? It looks like a gorgeous movie though. Will have to try and find it…He may well come to Puerto Rico, I never thought he’d come all the way out here!!


  4. Anonymous says:

    Greetings from Florida, USA.Hello, I just wanted to let you know that I reached your blog through the Rufus W message board found at: rufuswainwright.com. Thank you so much for sharing your comments, and the pictures are wonderful (Thanks Tim). I enjoyed them very much.Joanie


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