Rufus! Rufus! Rufus! Does Judy! Judy! Judy! (2007)

Geffen

Cast: Rufus Wainwright, Martha Wainwright, Lorna Luft, Kate McGarrigle.

Rating: G

Run time: 120 mins

Genre: Music

Verdict: Brilliant (see rating system)

This is deservedly turning into one of the "wow" music DVDs of this or any other year.

In his brave song-for-song recreation of a 1961 "comeback" concert by the legendary Judy Garland after she'd suffered years of personal problems, singer/songwriter Rufus Wainwright breathes new life into classic songs in a touching tribute.

Backed by the hottest 36-piece orchestra I've ever heard, swinging like crazy in Garland's original arrangements, Wainwright puts his heart and soul into a 31-song set lustily applauded by a star-studded audience at the London Palladium that includes movie icons like Sir Ian McKellen and Jeremy Irons.

Already a triumphant sellout in 2006 at New York's Carnegie Hall and the Hollywood Bowl, the show
is a triumph for classic songs that really say something - as opposed to most of the pop song crap today. Don't even get me started on gangsta rap...

Wainwright isn't Judy Garland - and he also isn't Sinatra or Tony Bennett - but his voice is pleasant enough, and often very moving in songs like "Do It Again" and "Over The Rainbow". He also has great showmanship for barnburners like "That's Entertainment" and "Zing! Went The Strings Of My Heart".

Adding to the sense of occasion is a guest appearance by Garland's 55-year-old daughter Lorna Luft, who duets with Wainwright on "After You've Gone" then brings the house down solo with "Hello Bluebird" - a song Garland sang on the same stage during her last movie shoot.

Best vocal performances of the night belong to Wainwright's sister Martha, who pours it out in an anguished “Stormy Weather” and a touching “Someone To watch Over Me”. Yeah, no wonder Rufus tells the audience "I wish I had Martha’s voice!” Wainwright's mother Kate McGarrigle also plays piano on several songs.

There isn't a dud song on the recital and man, that orchestra is phenomenal. Spectacular sound on this collector's DVD.

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