12/21/2007 09:50 am ET Updated May 25, 2011


The audience claps at the very beginning of the 4 minute overture and throughout as the orchestra does selections of "TheTrolly Song," "The Man That Got Away" and of course "Over The Rainbow." Then the audience roars as Rufus Wainwright takes the stage. I was lucky enough to be there that June night last summer as Rufus re-created Judy Garland's famous 1961 concert. Now with the release of Rufus Does Judy I can go back and listen to it all over again. Re-creating a classic concert by a cultural icon is a daunting task to say the least, but it worked and this CD captures all of it. What comes across is ultimately devotion from one artist to another.

I remember listening to my copy of Judy Live At Carnegie Hall the week up until that night just so I could be prepared and I was not alone. The audience had done their homework too. I had gotten it when Capitol released a 40th anniversary edition a few years ago. I remember listening to it then and noting how passionate and fervent the audience was when she took the stage and throughout. She sang every hit and kept them begging for more. Rufus does the same. He talks when Judy talks and even messes up "You Go To My Head" just as Judy had done. The best thing about that night that comes across on this two CD set is the passion of the audience. We were all so happy to be there. I felt like I was taking part in some kind of cultural event and I know I wasn't alone.

There are some really terrific classic songs here from "Come Rain And Come Shine", "I Can't Buy You Anything But Love," to "Zing! Went The Strings Of My Heart", "That's Entertainment" and of course "Somewhere Over The Rainbow". It was quite a night and it's all here. It was also pointed out in a photo inside the playbill (and in the CD) that his parents -- Loudan Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle -- were in the audience in 1961. You can tell that family is so important to him as his mother and his sister Martha joined him on stage. Martha Wainwright does an amazing version of "Stormy Weather". I remember being completely blown away by her that night and that same goose-bump inducing performance is captured here.

I'm so happy to have a copy of this right now as it takes me back to that summer night on these cold days. These songs also seem completely perfect for this time of year. As I've said before, nostalgia is a powerful thing that can take you away. Whether it's from 1961 or from the summer of 2006, it's a wonderful trip to take.