Washington @ The Spiegeltent
11:30pm, Fri 13 Mar 2009
I slotted Washington into The Schedule on her original date of February 26 because… well, just because I had room at that early stage of the Fringe. I had no idea who Megan Washington was, and a brief listen to a track on her MySpace page left me curious, but far from excited. When that show was cancelled I sighed a little, but when I saw that the revised date was still viable, I figured I might as well toddle along.
Now, let’s not muck around here anymore: I fucking loved this performance. LOVED IT.
There’s no doubt that Megan Washington is a delight to cast one’s eyes upon: slender, gorgeous short dress and librarian-sexy glasses, a coy grin and eye of glint as she stands at her electric piano, rocking her pelvis in such a way that I was convinced she was a pilates queen… well, her entire stage demeanour had me in lust. Which was awesome since, after striking up a friendly conversation with a couple opposite me in the Spiegeltent queue loop, they (having entered the ‘Tent much earlier than I) invited me to join them at their little table right in front of the stage. There were none more front-and-centre than I, and for that I feel blessed.
But that’s not to say the show was all about the physical nature of the performers onstage (and the blokes in her guitar/bass/drums backing band were certainly not poor specimens, either); no, that ran a poor second to the music. Oh god, the music – whether through Megan’s quieter solo pieces, or with the band kicking in for big blustering ROCK numbers – was incredible, and (despite claiming that “all [her] songs are about boys”) Washington’s lyrics songs sure covered a wide range of topics: love songs to gorillas, an ode to her sister. But, despite the topical gamut, they all had one thing in common: every single line of every single song was brilliant.
And I couldn’t help but contrast Washington with Abby Dobson from earlier in the evening: whilst her vocals weren’t as wide-ranging, Megan sure knew how to use them with sensitivity. Sure, there was no cello – but with a refined mix, the drum/bass/guitar combo more than made up for it. And the lyrics… the lyrics!
But the feeling from this show that will forever stay with me was the first song of her encore: a Rufus Wainwright track that ended with her mournfully repeating “I’ll take love” (or somesuch), pulling back away from mike – absolutely stunning. Just thinking about that now still makes me well up in tears – it was such a beautiful moment.
Here’s the thing, though: I’ve deliberately not bought any of Washington’s music after this gig, because I just know it’s got no hope of being able to live up to the memory of this show. Because it was, as you might have gathered, utterly amazing, and I don’t want to even risk sullying that memory.