Review: Rufus Wainwright, Other stage, Friday 7.50pm

How to bring opulence to a field of slurry.

Stage: Other stage

Time: Friday 7.50pm

Dress code: A spangly, stripy suit with added brooches symbolising the good and bad sides of America. Then a bathrobe, and then full drag - lipstick, slingbacks and earrings. Did Arctic Monkeys top that?

In summary: Though bedevilled by extremely wonky sound, Rufus proved himself a trouper, even when his big finale - a lipsynched version of Judy Garland's Get Happy complete with dance routine and in drag, appeared to have been played through a badly tuned radio. So he stopped and started it again, and it sounded just as bad the second time round.

Apart from that, Rufus stuck almost exclusively to his new album, with only 14th Street and The Art Teacher featuring from Want One and Two respectively. That and a storming version of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah with his sis, Martha.

Highlight: Hallelujah brought the hordes flocking to the Other Stage, but they missed a swaggering - and heartbreaking - 14th Street. He also did a magnificent Between My Legs (steady!), which brought total opulence and drama to a field in which people were standing ankle-deep in slurry.

Lowlight: Rules and Regulations was introduced as the next single, proving that Rufus picks singles like Britney Spears picks suitable partners. Oh, and it was a shame that his big drag moment went rather pear-shaped. One imagines that he marched off and went straight to strangle the sound man.

Unusual occurrences: Well, full drag at a festival is pretty unusual. He also said that he was jealous of the crowd "all getting sexed up". What, when you're covered in E. coli?

Mark out of 10: 8 - but the sound man gets minus a googol times infinity.

Where he'll be on the bill next year: The brutal truth is, a bit lower down. Rufus' profile often blinds us to the fact that this is, and never will be, catnip to the View-loving hordes.

Will be talking about this set until: Drag is normal attire at Glastonbury. Then again, have you been to the Horse Meat Disco tent?


Alex Needham

The GuardianTramp

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