Rufus Wainwright and Jose Gonzales

The Chicago Theatre // Chicago, IL // September 24, 2021

Two incredible singer/songwriters on one iconic stage.

It feels like the Chicago Theatre was made for Rufus Wainwright. The historical venue is ornate, beautiful, and just a little bit dramatic. That’s Rufus Wainwright. The singer/songwriter’s powerful vocals radiated through the theatre, all the way to the top balcony. Concert goers were so silent during Wainwright’s performance of his iconic song “Poses”, you could’ve heard a pin drop.

Wainwright has been on tour in support of his most recent album, Unfollow the Rules, despite some serious setbacks. “We were supposed to be on tour last year, and we were supposed to win a Grammy,” Wainwright joked, “but two things happened: the pandemic and James Taylor.” Playing songs from his new album, including “Damsel in Distress” and “Unfollow the Rules”, Wainwright and his band were truly happy to be playing for a live audience. The group did seem a little apprehensive during certain songs (Wainwright mentioned they were meant to have fancy lighting and set pieces but, again, pandemic). It has to be hard to come back and play a full tour without being able to orchestrate the full vision of each show.

Guitar virtuoso Jose Gonzalez opened for Rufus Wainwright and set the mood of the evening. His classical guitar styles and soft, melodic voice put the audience in a trance that would remain for the rest of the night. Gonzalez’s newest album, Local Valley, had been released a week before the Chicago show, and a few die-hard fans already recognized the tracks he played. Gonzalez played “Line of Fire” his most iconic song from his band, Junip, to massive applause. He ended the night with a beautiful cover of “Teardrop” by Massive Attack.

Both Rufus Wainwright and Jose Gonzalez were right at home at The Chicago Theatre. Despite a few moments of (understandable) uncertainty from Wainwright, fans were treated to a night of passionate live music. After the last year, that’s all fans want anyway.

Rufus Wainwright. Photo by Kate Scott