Elvis Costello, Rufus Wainwright, and some soprano

10 September, 2008 at 2:12 pm (Uncategorized)

So this all started last week, when I received an email. I’m on some sort of mailing list from Rufus Wainwright’s site, and the email said that I could get free tickets to see Rufus at a taping of Elvis Costello’s new show for Sundance Channel. Sandy emailed for tickets – and they were already gone. Darn.

But! Monday, she received an email: tickets had just become available; did she still want any? She said yes, two please – and so, six hours before taping, we found out we got our places at The Apollo. Nice!

So I know nothing about this show, “Spectacle with Elvis Costello”. Turns out I know nothing about it because it’s not even out yet – episodes begin airing in December. And fun fact: it will be showing not only on Sundance here in the States, but also on CTV in Canada and Channel 4 in the UK. Neat.

Right, so I’m going to see this show. I know nothing about Elvis Costello other than he’s apparently cool. Like, old-school, cool-cat cool. He just seems to emit that – I’m not sure why.

Makes glasses cool

Makes glasses cooler

The doors were supposed to open at 6:45, taping was to begin at 7:30 – and since it was a tv show, I figured we’d be done at 9:00.


Now, just to backtrack a bit, I’ve gone to a few other tapings. The one for this lame-ass game show Drew Carey hosted, “Power of 10”, took FOREVER. It was ridiculous. But “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report” are both quick; the taping took as long as it would to watch it on tv. I figured that was the norm; it turns out that those two shows are just well-oiled machines and have it down to a science. The taping of Elvis’s show took much longer. Did we get out at 9? No. 10? Nope. 10:30? Hardly.

Try 11:20.

Anyway, that was the downside. The plus side – we got to see Rufus interviewed and perform a few songs. Going to The Apollo for the first time was pretty cool, and our seats were great (7th row center), so that was pretty fab. Rufus is not the best interviewee in the world, but his singing is amazing, so it makes up for it. He was apparently sick and had a fever that night, so they had to re-tape a couple of the ensemble numbers (hence us getting out so late), but it was still pretty amazing.

Then there was this soprano, Renee Fleming.

Sings really high

Sings really high

Apparently, she’s very famous, if you know opera. She’s the lead soprano (is that what that’s called?) at the Met; she sang at the Olympics, just got some big music award in Europe, blah blah blah. She sang an aria from “Tosca” and it was pretty amazing. And though I’m not what you would call an opera fan, I definitely appreciate the art. However, when opera singers try and sing non-operatic songs, it usually is lacking. Such was it with Renee. She, Rufus, Elvis, and Rufus’s mom (Kate McGarrigle, a folk singer with a following in the 1970s) sang a couple of songs together. Rufus, Elvis, and Kate all have pretty distinctive voices, but they mesh well together. But Renee? Gorgeous, full soprano voice…and when she lowered it an octive and tried to sound “folksy” it just sounded odd.

All-in-all, not a bad way to spend a Monday night. And this “Spectacle” show sounds like it will be interesting – previously taped guests include Bill Clinton, Sir Elton John, and all of the original Police, so those episodes will be neat to see. And, if you catch the one with Rufus, look out: they did lots of audience shots, so you may just catch a glimpse of me, attempting to look alert and entertained after 4 hours of sitting on my bum.



  1. Robert said,

    Yeah, he knows who she is. lol

  2. adayinthelyfe said,

    Ha! I knew he would. What a nerd 😉

  3. Jeff said,

    Good times! I went to a taping of Dennis Miller’s HBO show in LA once back in ’99. A friend of a friend hooked us up with VIP tix while I was there. It was okay. It’s just cool to see how all of that works behind the scenes I guess. David Spade was his guest and I knew the guy was little, but he’s really little in person. And I am not a tall man.

    I’ve yet to see Rufus perform although many of my friends have. Glad you had a good time. Too bad it took so long.

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