The first moments of the show, in which Rufus performs an a cappella rendition of his song "Candles" in utter darkness with his backing band joining him on harmonies, catch you at once. You feel yourself living every second of it as his voice soars without instrumental accompaniment, and keeps soaring as the show continues with many other songs from his impeccable most recent album, Out of the Game—including my favorites "Jericho" and "Song of You." Throughout the night, he also throws in a few of his best songs from albums past ("The Art Teacher," "14th Street," "Going to a Town"); one of his most gorgeous Judy Garland covers ("The Man That Got Away"); and a few of his mother's and father's songs, performed either with or solely by his band members, who include Teddy Thompson and Krystle Warren.
The concert encore is also something of a special occasion, when Rufus sings Leonard Cohen's "Chelsea Hotel No. 2" with Adam Cohen, almost making it seem okay for the show to end and for Rufus to continue on his tour. You'll want to take the chance to travel to the next town and see him again, and if you're like me, you'll go for it.
(Photo, by Tina Tyrell, from rufuswainwright.com)