Rufus Wainwright skips up from behind the gleaming centre stage grand piano, and declares: ‘Ok, time to talk about my outfit. I’m the Big Gay Sultan!’ – resplendent in calf-length multicolour dreamcoat – and it’s clear that the man is in chipper mood.
Central Istanbul’s Küçükçiftlik Park is tonight covered in billowing burgundy fabric, half the audience seated in the front half of the arena, with the plebs to the back (though no-one’s able to smoke – that job is left to the gusty dry-ice on stage).
Wainwright is seriously into family. From name-checking his sister (Lisa, who supports tonight, and joins him for a tear-inducing, spine-chilling ‘Hallelujah’), father (‘Dinner At Eight), mother, husband missing him from faraway lands (‘Argentina’), and of course the ever-present shadow of equally-famous other sister Martha, Rufus is like some gay patriarch, elegantly preening his way through the process of holding a staggeringly creative brood together.
He toes the line brilliantly between classically-trained, high-drama, orchestral genius (though essentially solo tonight), and vaudeville light entertainer – quipping with hecklers, and bantering in scripted Turkish with his fleeting sidekick ‘Liza Minelli’ – to huge cheers, naturally.
‘I know that you guys have your…issues here’ he says during the three song encore, ‘and I guess gay marriage isn’t at the top of the agenda right now…but it will be’, again to huge applause. Through images of a phone set to ‘Vibrate’ in order to give someone complete attention, to missing someone so much it hurts (the aforementioned ‘Argentina’), to a future Facebook anthem (‘Friendship’), Rufus Wainwright in full confidence, sweetness and charm, brought the quality to town, just for one night.