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Rufus Wainwright, Usher Hall, Edinburgh Rufus throws his voice

Rufus Wainwright doesn't so much play a gig as curate an event.

From the brief opening set by the remarkably self-possessed Krystle Warren, one of Wainwright's backing singers, through a fine spot by chip-off-the-old-block charmer Adam Cohen and on to his own part-fashion show, part-classic singer-songwriter with top band performance, there was a feeling Rufus had personally selected it all for our delectation.

Cohen, with his beautifully modulated voice and inherited winning timbres, would re-appear to help out on his father, Leonard's, Everybody Knows, wherein the voices that had made Wainwright's choir-like, a cappella Candles such a stunning intro took an ultra-expressive verse each. Not all that followed Candles had the same clarity, though. Wainwright's rich, languid, almost molten vocal style can make it hard to keep up lyrically even if, musically, his songs also have a swoonsome harmonic and melodic shape to them.

Among the many peaks here were his own Respectable Dive and a parents' section that featured band members Teddy Thompson and Warren singing Kate McGarrigle's Saratoga Summer Song and a gorgeous I Don't Know.

Any carps about lyrical clarity were forgiven during an encore that found Wainwright, in Greek god garb as Rufus Apollo, reappearing in the stalls and leading part of the audience on to the stage, whereupon he sang Gay Messiah while acting as ventriloquist to a giant foam baguette-turned-Muppet-monster. Only Wainwright could carry this off with such winningly mirthful style.

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