Milwaukee at Last!!! captures singer/songwriter Rufus Wainwright performing live in Wisconsin at the Pabst Theater on August 27, 2007. Recorded while on tour in support of his 2007 studio effort, Release the Stars, Milwaukee at Last!!! finds Wainwright drawing heavily from that album, along with a few inclusions from 2003's Want Two and 2007's Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall. In that sense, Milwaukee is reminiscent of the opera-esque aspirations of Release the Stars, as Wainwright includes the best material off that album and delivers the songs in a timely, dramatic fashion that makes for a well-paced listen. If Rufus Does Judy was Wainwright's own homage to a classic live recording, then Milwaukee plays as his own would-be concert masterpiece. Surrounded by a large brass and woodwind ensemble and backed by a superb rock band, Wainwright is left to command center stage here as only he can, with a cabaret sense of derring-do and a theatrical style, while never sacrificing the true emotional weight of his songs. Reminiscent of live shows by such similarly inclined artists as Elton John, David Bowie, and, well, Bette Midler perhaps, Milwaukee is simply a fantastic listen that showcases Wainwright as both a showman and a deeply creative songwriter with a superb knack for live performance.
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AllMusic Review by Matt Collar