Why Conchita Wurst’s surprise duet with Revolverheld hit me so hard
Occasionally, out of all the amazing things Conchita Wurst does, there is something that makes me cry. It’s usually something she does in all innocence, without ever any intention of causing someone like me to dissolve into tears.
One of those times was tonight. During a surprise live guest appearance at a Revolverheld concert in Vienna, when Conchita walked on stage midway through the band’s hit song ‘Ich lass für dich das Licht an‘ (I Leave the Light On For You) and began to sing.
But what made me cry wasn’t the crowd screaming so loudly at the sight of her they might have raised the roof. Nor Conchita’s powerhouse duet with lead singer Johannes Strate of what is lyrically and musically a very beautiful song. Nor even that she was singing in German, which she rarely does.
Instead, it was midway through the song when her body language, the way she sang, and the obvious delight she was feeling at being able to perform at something so cool sparked a memory of something I watched a long time ago.
A video of Conchita’s alter ego, Tom Neuwirth, filmed almost eight years ago when he was just 19 years old. The year after his boy band, Jetz Anders!, had broken up.
The video was shot at the Phoenix Supperclub in Vienna in June, 2008 at a performance of Zweitfrau singing ‘Alles Dreht Sich‘, as the singer began to go around the sides of the stage asking audience members to sing.
Tom Neuwirth was the first person she picked and, as you might expect, his singing of a short part of the song was what you might call…huge.
But here’s what made me think about it again tonight as Conchita Wurst sang with Revolverheld. And this is what touched me.
Right where she begins to sing that enormous note (2:07 on the video), leans back into that completely recognizable Conchita pose and raises her hand in the air, there’s something about her body language at that particular moment, and the sheer joy coming off her as she sings, that immediately made me think of him.
Because, at their own exact moments, they both have the same energy radiating from them, and the same way of projecting themselves out into the room.
And what I loved about this, about him and about her, is that while she is now just about the biggest thing that has ever happened to Austria in the modern era, eight years ago Tom Neuwirth was just starting off on his big adventure.
He’s in a supper club, hanging out in an atmosphere he loves, and close to a stage you just know he is desperate to be on himself. He’s grabbing on to any opportunity he possibly can to sing, but with little idea of where he wants to go. And he’s right on the cusp of discovering Conchita.
And I watch her. Tonight. Singing with Revolverheld. Her with her big grins, her kisses to the crowd, and her cuter than cute shoulder shrugs, and with just absolute joy radiating off her, and it makes me cry.
Because I’m so happy for him that he found his way to the person who made it possible for him to achieve his dreams. And I’m happy for her that she is now getting to do something she loves all the time. Something that has given her so much happiness, and brought her so much love.
Watch Conchita Wurst singing with Revolverhead’s Johannes Strate at Gasometer in Vienna tonight in the videos below, and Tom Neuwirth several years before Conchita came into being below that.
They’re both really quite beautiful.