Beautiful yet challenging.
There was probably a solid train of thought in placing Anthony & The Johnstons directly after Rufus Wainwright. They're both singers capable of producing extra-ordinary sounds with their voices, they can switch between torch songs to camp clapalongs in the blink of an eye and there is definitely a shared audience for both acts. At first glance, it was inspired scheduling/
Unfortunately, it left Anthony a large spectacle to live up to which unfortunately was out of reach. Whilst Rufus is enigmatic and appreciates the art of putting on a show, there is more of a quiet observation to Anthonys performances. The show was quiet, it had many beautiful moments but its obvious that Anthony would be far more comfortable playing his own gig rather than performing at a festival. Even a minimal level of talking plays havoc with the show and unless you made the first few rows if devoted fans, it was too easy to be distracted from the set.
Which was a pity as right from the word go; the involvement of the string section was tremendous. Freeing him from the piano, standing at the lip of the stage allows Anthony to strike an imposing figure and at these points, he holds his own. Perhaps being behind the piano acts as some form of barrier between himself and the audience but when he was sat there, it was a different show.
The recorded output is of high quality but even then it depends on your mood, the live performance of Anthony & The Johnstons is so reliant on many factions it can be difficult to tell which one you'll get.