If you’re any kind of Conchita Wurst fan, you already know the Austrian singer kicks off her first ever concert tour in a couple of months, with tour dates in Austria, Germany and, as of this weekend, one announced in Switzerland.
On Friday night, Conchita premiered one of the songs she will be singing during the tour — a slowed down, jazzed up version of her 2012 Eurovision Song Contest entry ‘That’s What I Am‘ — during the Austrian national selection competition Wer singt für Österreich?
The performance was lovely, not just in the premiere of the new song arrangement itself, but also in the hint it gave us of what her upcoming concert tour is going to be like, and in particular of the staging and the ‘feel’ of it.
A feel I got of Conchita going for something even more elegant than she normally does, and an act that, if the whole concert is like this, would fit as beautifully in an upscale New York jazz club as it would in an intimate Las Vegas show.
What was even more telling to me here, though, was where her focus for this tour obviously is. Because, just from this one song, the feel of everything about it is of an elegance, richness, maturity, and a classiness you would normally equate with a 50-year-old diva with three Grammys and a stable of platinum records, rather than with a 27-year-old Eurovision Song Contest winner who really is still starting out.
And that’s one of the many things I love about Conchita Wurst. That for all that in reality she’s a young man in a dress, lashes and wig, her sensibility when it comes to music really does lie more with that of a middle-aged diva than anywhere else. Which is really ridiculously sweet and quite lovely.
As for the new ‘That’s What I Am‘ arrangement, it’s gorgeous. Mellow and mature, it has a richness to it of deep, dark chocolate, and it fits her voice perfectly. A voice, I might add, that has matured so much since Eurovision alone, and even more so since she first recorded this song four years ago.
Conchita’s stage presence here too is stunning, as there aren’t any stunts, tricks, flashy lights or graphics to make this performance ‘pop’. Just Conchita standing on a stage, dressed in black, backed by one of the coolest four-piece bands I’ve seen in ages, barely moving as she sings and yet holding the focus of everybody in that room. Something that, frankly, she couldn’t have done even a year ago.
As for her look here, as much as I can see what she and her stylist are going for when it comes to her tour, in this particular instance they do fall a bit wide of the mark.
A fact I talked about on her stylist’s Instagram page yesterday. (I have a big mouth and, when she is obviously testing out looks for her upcoming concert tour it seemed to me, when one didn’t work this much, it might be worth pointing out rather than letting them keep going with it).
And the problem here, of course, is the dress. Not the black (which is perfect) or the elegant, simple design, which is absolutely what she should be going for when it comes to her tour itself. But instead in the cut and that, with how it sits on Conchita Wurst’s very wide shoulders and accentuates her muscular Madonna-style arms, it makes her look twice her actual width and far more muscular than even she is. “Manly” as a few fans pointed out.
Of course, if that’s the look she’s going for, more boy than girl, more Tom than Conchita, hey, give me a few minutes and I can get on board. But, in this case, I don’t think she was at all. Which is why the whole look of the dress was so off.
However, while I do think I am still right about that dress, as it didn’t work, I now think I’m wrong about the make-up as, on Friday when I first watched the video I didn’t like the minimalist make-up, the lack of three pairs of eyelashes or the side-part wig either. They looked far less glamorous Conchita and more ‘boy in a dress’.
But now I’ve just watched that video through five times again and I’m changing my mind. Because I think, in this instance, I’m wrong and she’s right. The minimalist make-up really does work here, as it adds an understated elegance to her whole appearance and, without the massive eye lashes drawing away your focus to her mesmerizing eyes, you can concentrate more on the simplicity and beauty of the music and her voice. And that’s what this concert tour is all about.
Plus, the thing here is that Conchita Wurst, as always, does have a vision that was fully fleshed out before it ever hit the stage. And it’s a vision that is thought through from absolute beginning to absolute end and in absolute intricate detail. Including the make-up.
So, yes, Conchita, while I’m still up in the air about that side-part wig, and the dress style doesn’t work at all, not unless you’re going to be doing something on stage that requires heavy lifting, I do now think you are right and I am most certainly wrong, about the make-up.
Besides, no matter who is right or who is wrong about the make-up, the dress, the wig or any of it, there is something so satisfying in Conchita Wurst singing a new version of ‘That’s What I Am‘ and then ecstatically grinning from ear to ear when she’s done.
Because no matter what you like or don’t like about a performance, that beaming smile will melt your heart every time, and you’ll do anything to make her happy just so she will do it again.
You can find out more about Conchita Wurst’s upcoming concert tour on her website and, of course, watch Friday night’s preview performance below. It really is gorgeous.