The earlier reviewer who had concerns over the track listing needn't worry - the version screened on TV a few weeks ago was just a taster. Accompanied by full orchestra, Rufus Wainwright runs the gamut of Garland's 1961 concert repertoire -- from an intense The Man That Got Away to an almost unbearably sensitive Over The Rainbow. These are songs which have much in common with his own work, but he makes a surprisingly good stab at the lighter material, too - camping it up on San Francisco, turning Puttin' on the Ritz into a jazzy tour de force and infusing Zing Went The Strings of My Heart with lively vigour.
Although he doesn't quite have the febrile, edgy quality that made Garland so watchable, Rufus's voice is well-equipped for transmitting emotional subtlety as well as barnstorming drama. The highlight of the show might well be his gently understated reading of Noel Coward's wry If Love Were All, along with a guest spot from his sister Martha singing Stormy Weather like a cross between Bjork and Cate Blanchett.
Judy Garland's daughter Lorna Luft also makes a brief guest appearance, and Rufus's mother Kate McGarrigle provides some of the piano accompaniment. A slightly shambolic but hugely enjoyable encore sees the family reunited on a spontaneous Someone To Watch Over Me and a beautifully sparse Every Time We Say Goodbye.
This two-and-a-quarter hour DVD shows the gay messiah in all his glamorous glory. A great Christmas buy.