CONCERT REPORTS: St. John's, NL (May 25, 26 and 27)

Canada and Europe (May 11 - August 3, 2008). Concert reports, set lists, photos, media coverage, multimedia links, recollections...
ohrus
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Re: Three concerts in St. John's (May 25 to 27)

Postby ohrus » Wed May 28, 2008 5:59 am

Just got back from my first (and thankfully, not last!) Leonard Cohen concert. I had expected a lot from this concert and I received oh so much more. The thrills still linger and I imagine will do so for the days to come. My thoughts are quite scattered right now so I'll make a few notes regarding the show.

- The Webb sisters were phenomenal. Most notable was their performance of "If it Be Your Will." They received a well deserved standing ovation. Leonard appeared to be in awe throughout their performance - mouthing the lyrics.

- The band was perfect. And I mean perfect. Leonard graciously acknowledged each member numerous times throughout the show.

- Sharon Robinson was a delight. Hearing her on "Boogie Street" was one highlight of many.

- Leonard was genuine, humble, and beaming all night long. It was a pleasure to be in his great presence this night. This presence was especially strong throughout the recital of "A Thousand Kisses Deep."

- Holy Heart Theatre will be more dear to me because of this show. "Take one last look at this holy heart before it blows." A nice little send off by Leonard to the theatre that may not be someday soon.

At 73, Cohen looks and sounds great. Here's hoping it's not his last tour!
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friscogrl
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Re: Three concerts in St. John's (May 25 to 27)

Postby friscogrl » Wed May 28, 2008 6:31 am

Ohrus, thanks for your great review of the concert. It was just enough and not too much. I keep telling myself I won't read these posts except for pictures and set list lists but every now and then I do. I am glad to hear they are doing "If It Be Your Will", my favorite Cohen song. I am seeing him in Toronto June 6 th>Thanks again
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mirka
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Re: Three concerts in St. John's (May 25 to 27)

Postby mirka » Wed May 28, 2008 7:05 am

Kacey wrote: I don't think that I can find words to describe the experience..... wish that I could..... ah, it would take a Leonard to do that.......
Thanks a lot, Kacey and all who cared to keep us updated on the miracle in progress.
I feel a little better about my command of English now, that native speakers are running out of words trying to capture the essence of Leonard Cohen live :) . It's a feast for senses, and a spiritual experience at the same time. Pleasure to go through, impossible to put in writing.
I was left speachless and elated, for a good couple of days.
/Warsaw March 22 1985 / Halifax May 16 /Charlottetown May 18 / Dublin June 15 / Vienna Sept 24 2008/
Oakland April 13, 14, 15, San Jose Nov 13 2009/
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Plannerman
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Re: Three concerts in St. John's (May 25 to 27)

Postby Plannerman » Wed May 28, 2008 1:34 pm

For me, it was a near spirtual event!

I think that it already has all been said, but I couldn't believe how much of a Statesman LC was. Some words that come to mind are humble, genuine and gracious. It was a truly astounding show (it was MUCH more than a concert) - everything was fantastic - the music, the mixing, the lighting, the chorography - the whole package.

To quote my wife, who (before last night) likes said that she likes Leonard Cohen songs done by others, "I have never before, and doubt I ever will again, see anything so fantastic".

Other performers that I have seen acknowledge their band. Leonard did much more - he wanted the audience to know the band and remember them. This simple point alone speaks volumes about the man!

I went to the concert to experience Leonard Cohen - I was surprised to realize during the show that I was enthralled by more than him, but also by the entire band - their talent is astounding.

I hope that Leonard will consider returning to Newfoundland & Labrador to experience more of it. Around Christmas, during the Feast Of Cohen, would be awesome!

Jarkko, please pass along to Leonard the thanks of Newfoundlanders for the adding of shows here. I never thought that I would see him in person, and now to have done so at home - I don;t know what could top this!


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anneporter
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Re: Three concerts in St. John's (May 25 to 27)

Postby anneporter » Wed May 28, 2008 1:59 pm

At the still point of the of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is...

T.S.Eliot

I never thought I would invoke the words of another poet to describe Leonard Cohen, but something happened to me when the first chord was struck at the Holy Heart show last night. I expected to be excited, in an adrenaline-rush kind of way. Instead, I was stilled.

I felt a deep calm spread though me, "a loosen[ing] of the high silver nerves", like total body acupuncture. I, a woman whose daughter has to shush her to stop her singing along at concerts, suddenly felt no need to sing. Leonard, the angels, the band were singing for me, singing through me, singing through us. Magically, there was no longer any me, or us or them. From the soles of our feet to the crowns of our heads, to the rafters and beyond, the music resonated, as though we were a collective instrument being tuned to a secret chord, a universal harmony. We were at the still point, and the world was spinning around us. Wrapt--wrapped in music--enraptured, I could feel my heart opening, "like a lily in the heat"

(Forgive the hyperbole: every word is honestly meant. My prose could wax even more purple: the words "spiritual orgasm" come to mind...)

I said,"Until now, I didn't know perfection was possible."
My friend said, "There is a crack in everything. How else would the light get in?"

Though I can find no cracks in last night's performance, it was truly suffused with light and so, now, are we.

Set list

The set list is becoming familiar now, but, for the record, here we go:

Leonard opened the show by saying;

"The Holy Heart of Mary: that's where we all want to be. I'm serious about that."
Then the music:

Dance Me to the End of Love
The Future (with the becoming-famous white man shuffle)
Ain't No Cure for Love
Bird on a Wire
Everybody Knows (with the change in lyric to honour the venue: "Take one last look at this Holy Heart/ Before it blows"
In My Secret Life
Who By Fire with an intricate little stand-up bass solo by Roscoe Beck
Anthem

intermission

Tower of Song Speaking over the angels' backing vocals, Leonard ended this song with a joke, saying "I looked all my life for the key to the great mystery and I found it here. It is--too dum dum dum ta-doo dum dum!
Suzanne
The Gypsy Wife (with Javier Mas on the bandurria masterfully taking the solo, so we didn't miss the violin)
Boogie Street ( featuring the song's cowriter, Sharon Robinson)
Hallelujah
Democracy
I'm Your Man
A Thousand Kisses Deep recitation
Take This Waltz Leonard interrupted himself when introducing this song, saying: "Before I finish this shabby introduction, I want to thank you all...we don't come across audiences with hearts like this every night...Thank you very much."

encore 1

Heart with No Companion excellent country version featuring Bob Metzger on steel guitar, which I loved
So Long Marianne lively calypso arrangement
First We Take Manhatten with Sharon keeping the beat on the shaker

encore 2

That Don't Make It Junk with dazzling Dino Soldo on the mouth harp
If It Be Your Will introduced by Leonard as a prayer for "various versions of adversity", then angelically sung by the Webb sisters
Closing Time

encore 3
I Tried to Leave You with stellar solos by each performer. Sharon Robinson's vocals shone: a shining star in a brilliant firmament.

The musicianship was exquisite throughout, each performer an elegant, joyful, modest master.
(Though I was especially transfixed by Dino Soldo on "the instruments of wind". With eyes closed, swaying , at times, playing air guitar on his saxophone, as though in a rapture...)

Leonard was remarkable, not only for the strength and beauty of his voice and his creations, but also for his vibrancy, and the humour, compassion and generosity of spirit that flowed though him.

I felt truly blessed, and had to restrain myself from bowing down (in manner of Wayne and Garth)
( I'd better stop now, or I'll be late for work)

Namaste,
Anne
Last edited by anneporter on Wed May 28, 2008 2:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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antiandrea
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Re: Three concerts in St. John's (May 25 to 27)

Postby antiandrea » Wed May 28, 2008 3:49 pm

What do you say after something like that? Every part of me is singing. I have never experienced such greatness in this lifetime. A glimpse of the Almighty. I am lucky to have lived at the same time as Leonard.

I don't think anything in my life will live up to how I felt tonight. My stomach is just in knots, my body doesn't know how to metabolize what it just ingested. I saw the reflection of his guitar dance on the walls, I drank the echo of his voice as vibrations in my water. I feel on fire, I feel holy, I feel whole. I am in tears of joy, tears of sadness, and tears of awe. I wanted to hold onto every word, I wanted to hug it so tight and never let it escape. But they slip away from you, and onto the next, and in vain you try again. Until all the words have swam past your ears, through the sea of fake smoke and body heat and tears, up through the roof, up up to heaven where G-d himself breathes them in like the burnt offerings of his ancestors. And he smiles. He takes his hat off of his white hair and he bows. He thanks us for being there, for letting him grace us with his presence. He leaves a hole we never knew we had filled with something we could never fathom would feel so good. Tears in our eyes, we reluctantly go home. The hole empties, and like a wound it fades into a scar. We are broken hearted but thankful for these moments he has shared with us.
there is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in
Steve Wilcox
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Re: Three concerts in St. John's (May 25 to 27)

Postby Steve Wilcox » Wed May 28, 2008 10:29 pm

Ya gotta love those upper Canadians eh? a "string of warm-up dates in Eastern Canada" !!?? a "proper tour that begins with three sold-out performances" in Taron-t'a. Get outta here area code 416! from the Globe & Mail . . . . .

Cohen welcomes guests for another Toronto date
BRAD WHEELER

May 22, 2008

Toronto -- Leonard Cohen, who penned the line "Welcome, welcome, cries a voice/ let all my guests come in," will play a fourth show at Toronto's Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, on June 9.

The iconic troubadour is in the midst of a string of warm-up dates in Eastern Canada that precede a proper tour that begins with three sold-out performances (at least) at the Sony Centre. Capacity crowds in Fredericton and Halifax this month heard concerts that began with Dance Me to the End of Love and ended with encores of Closing Time, I Tried to Leave You and So Long, Marianne. Tickets for the just-added Toronto show go on sale at noon on Saturday, through Ticketmaster.

And, a reply to the story posted to the G&M website -

So, Leonard Cohen's string of concerts throughout the Maritimes is not a "proper" tour (Cohen Welcomes Guests For Another Toronto Date - Review, May 22). The real tour, we are told, will commence you-know-where. I just marvelled at Leonard Cohen at the Savoy Theatre in Glace Bay, Cape Breton. His concert seemed proper to me and those of us who gave him eight standing ovations. So rest assured, Toronto: Leonard has the Cape Breton stamp of approval and he is good to go.
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antiandrea
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Re: Three concerts in St. John's (May 25 to 27)

Postby antiandrea » Thu May 29, 2008 12:03 am

I would do anything to have him stop here again on the way back home...
there is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in
Kacey
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Re: Three concerts in St. John's (May 25 to 27)

Postby Kacey » Thu May 29, 2008 12:18 am

Almost a full day later and I am still walking around in a Leonard instilled Buzz...... ah, I feel like I need a post coital cigarette..... :o) I hope that the fans in Toronto and the rest of " the real Tour" receive half the joy that we did..... half the pleasure..... half the intimacy of a venue like Holy Heart...... Leonard anywhere would be perfection...... at Holy Heart he was that, and sublime.....

Anne, so nice to see you last night, and numbers eight and two as well..... Did you take any photos of the concert itself??? After not being able to bring cameras into the Dylan concert I assumed that they would be checking for them .....and left mine at home......... I sure would love to see and have some of them....... or anhyone else who took any photos......... I am on facebook as Karen Dawe-Cooper and my email is kacey@nl.rogers.com .... I would love to receive any that anyone would be willing to share...... the man and his music were beautiful..... what more could be said........ there is not a man alive who could not take lessons from Leonard Cohen in how please a woman..... :o)...

Karen aka number nine
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anneporter
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Re: Three concerts in St. John's (May 25 to 27)

Postby anneporter » Thu May 29, 2008 1:17 am

Kacey/9
Great to see you as well.
I didn't take any pictures of the concert--I decided to concentrat on absorbing it all though my senses.
I'll e-mail you--maybe we can get to gether for some Cohen too dmm dum dums...
newfoundland--understand?
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st theresa
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Re: Three concerts in St. John's (May 25 to 27)

Postby st theresa » Thu May 29, 2008 1:53 am

Dear Anne

Thank you for that heartfelt review of the concert. I just want to express how much it meant to me. I have been corresponding for some time with a friend on spiritual matters. He sent me TS Eliot's Four Quartets and I sent him Leonard's Ten New Songs. He went so far as to send a cd with the Four quartets recorded. We both study
a spiritual resource that teaches that we are indeed one spirit. Your review again affirms that for me.
Thank you so much, and I hope you don't mind that I copied your letter and sent it to that friend.
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anneporter
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Re: Three concerts in St. John's (May 25 to 27)

Postby anneporter » Thu May 29, 2008 2:17 am

St Theresa,
You are most welcome. I am intrigued to hear your exchange of Cohen and Eliot with your friend.
Anne
newfoundland--understand?
eheath
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Re: Three concerts in St. John's (May 25 to 27)

Postby eheath » Thu May 29, 2008 6:33 am

Quote" there is not a man alive who could not take lessons from Leonard Cohen in how please a woman..... )..."

The best way I find is to get out of her hair by going for a few hours to the golf course. :lol:

I have a few pictures and video that I will try to send you over the weekend.

Husband of # 3 in lineup.
Dream Warrior
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Re: Three concerts in St. John's (May 25 to 27)

Postby Dream Warrior » Thu May 29, 2008 7:19 am

[quote="Steve Wilcox"]Ya gotta love those upper Canadians eh? a "string of warm-up dates in Eastern Canada" !!?? a "proper tour that begins with three sold-out performances" in Taron-t'a. Get outta here area code 416! from the Globe & Mail . . . . .

Hey Steve,

Yeah I felt the same way when I read the Trawna piece, but managed to resist posting anything until I saw your response. Only in "The Big Smoke" (aka "Hogtown"), eh?

Liam
hanes
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Re: Three concerts in St. John's (May 25 to 27)

Postby hanes » Thu May 29, 2008 1:42 pm

Reminds me of an old joke........

"How many Torontonians does it take to screw in a light bulb?"
"1 million, 1 to screw it in, 999,999 to tell everyone how capable their city is of holding such a world class event"

We love you though Toronto :D

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