CONCERT REPORTS: Manchester, UK (June 17, 18, 19 and 20)

Canada and Europe (May 11 - August 3, 2008). Concert reports, set lists, photos, media coverage, multimedia links, recollections...
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Byron
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Re: Manchester, UK (June 17-20)

Postby Byron » Mon Jun 23, 2008 2:11 am

My miggle name is a secret. Only captain Mainwaring knows it. 8)
"Bipolar is a roller-coaster ride without a seat belt. One day you're flying with the fireworks; for the next month you're being scraped off the trolley" I said that.
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Re: Manchester, UK (June 17-20)

Postby Byron » Mon Jun 23, 2008 2:24 am

I've read all the reviews, and some of the abstracts, made a note of the likes and spurned the dislikes, watched the Redtops and the quality newspapers render to us their take on it all, but they all come to naught. Written by journalists who are paid to perform on pages of ink for the unfortunate many.

Gingermop did her best and it came up to scratch with truth and objectivity whilst clearly subjectively smitten. Thanks G-Mop. Gina (not in G-Mex)

What I do have is this...."I was there."

Those of us who were ever so lucky to plant our bums on seats can look forward to years of mellowing memories....

I'll start now....

"I was there."

Oh, it does have a lovely ring to it.

The next big decision is where to have the tattoo inked into my skin.
Last edited by Byron on Tue Jun 24, 2008 7:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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sirius
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Re: Manchester, UK (June 17-20)

Postby sirius » Mon Jun 23, 2008 2:59 am

MANCHESTER MUSIC

Leonard Cohen - Opera House

- 17/06/08

by James Ellaby


Leonard Cohen An incredible evening spent in the rare presence of a true music legend, who gave his all to make it a performance to remember forever

http://www.entertainmentmanchester.com/ ... -cohen.htm

As a music fan in your mid (to late) 20s, there are certain artists who you have to accept that you're never likely to see perform live. Leonard Cohen was one of those, having not toured since the early 90s and spending much of the time in between living in isolation as a Buddhist monk. At the age of 73, he's no spring chicken either, so touring isn't a major priority for men of that certain age, all of which makes this run of shows in Manchester that much more like a very special event.

You have to hand it to the organisers of the Manchester International Festival, for pulling another rabbit out of the hat as one of their trailblazer events for next year's festival. After all this time, and with the reputation he has, Cohen could have simply showed up and it would have been worth it, as shown by the standing ovation he gets for coming onto the stage at the start, but this is far more than just an elderly man who got ripped off by his money-men heading back out to cash in on his legacy, this is a legend poking his head round the door and knocking us all dead again.

Cohen's reclusive lifestyle and the nature of his lyrics (and voice) have often had him labelled as 'miserable' or 'depressing', but there's not a bit of that on display as he cracks jokes in between songs, does a little shuffle dance at one point and generally acts like a warm and genial performer. In fact, he's almost too nice, spending a little bit too much time milking applause for the various members of his band, though they certainly deserve the praise. With gorgeous backing vocals from Sharon Robinson and The Webb Sisters, the very talented musicians give Cohen's songs the perfect accompaniment.

Of course, all of that would just be window dressing if the main man wasn't up to it, but despite his age and his lack of recent practice at performing, Cohen is on fire. From start to finish, he looks dead cool in his suit and hat, and his voice is probably as strong as it has ever been, as it has certainly been improved with the ravages of life and cigarettes. He only very rarely falters, and never holds back when a song requires him to push himself vocally, and that makes for a very impressive and powerful performance from a singer who was never blessed with a 'classic' voice.

Cohen's vocals have always been quite unique, but it's his songs that have rightly made him famous, and this tour showcases all the very best of them, from opener Dance Me To The End Of Love onwards. It would take too long to name all of the highlights, because that would actually mean describing every song he played, but all the old favourites like Bird On The Wire, Suzanne and So Long Marianne were stunning, while 'newer' classics like The Future, Anthem, Democracy and In My Secret Life were also done really well.

Perhaps his most famous song for younger generations, Hallelujah is now best known for Jeff Buckley's cover version (which is definitely better than the original), but Cohen's performance at this gig went a long way to reclaiming it for himself, taking out the slightly awkward tempo of the chorus from the studio version and just going for power and emotion, making it one of the real jaw-dropping moments of the show. Another of those was his spoken-word reading of A Thousand Kisses Deep, backed only by atmospheric keyboards, while The Webb Sisters got to showcase their gorgeous vocals when Cohen stood back and let them perform If It Be Your Will.

It's been so long since he was over here touring that it's tempting to label this a 'comeback' in the sense that Johnny Cash's 90s revival was, but that's not really accurate, because he has simply been away from the stage, rather than churning out poor quality music or coasting on his legacy. The fact that much of the setlist comes from 'recent' albums (though surprisingly none from his most recent release) shows that Leonard Cohen has never really been far from on top form, and this tour is just his way of reminding everyone that he's still around and he's still one of the best in the business.

SUMMARY: FIVE STARS

An incredible evening spent in the rare presence of a true music legend, who gave his all to make it a performance to remember forever

http://www.entertainmentmanchester.com/
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Re: Manchester, UK (June 17-20)

Postby John Etherington » Mon Jun 23, 2008 8:55 am

Good review (above) from entertainmentmanchester, but let down by its assertion that Jeff Buckley's version of "Hallelujah" is definitely better than the original, which it isn't (however good it is). Unfortunately, when such things get repeated enough, people start to believe them. As I've said before, Leonard's version comes from fifty years of lived experience, and contains some sort of resolution in the ironic humour contained therein. The only other thing that I disagree with in this review is the statement that it was suprising that nothing from Leonard's most recent album was included. When you consider the body of work that he is performing on this tour, then most of the "Dear Heather" material sadly does fall short and could not easily be integrated, without giving a certain lull to the show. Furthermore, much of the material is a showcase for Anjani (whose own album is a true gem) and she is not present on the tour. Leonard's greatest challenge now is to create a classic twelfth studio album.

All good things, John E
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Re: Manchester, UK (June 17-20)

Postby friscogrl » Mon Jun 23, 2008 11:31 am

I have to say that Leonard Cohen's rendition of Halleujah from various positions is not my favorite either. i understand what john is saying about Leonard putting his putting in 50 years of lived expeirence into this. Lyrically it is beautiful but vocally it does not do it for me. I would say that I prefer Jeff Bucley's or K.D.Lang's verson....Up until I saw him do it in concert in Toronto and I thought it was one of the best songs of the evening. The original seemed somewhat void of emotion, but not the live one. he seem ed to put everything he had into it. It brought the audience to their feet.

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Re: Manchester, UK (June 17-20)

Postby Gregor » Mon Jun 23, 2008 12:35 pm

Leonard Cohen at the Manchester Opera House

Arriving on the stage at the Manchester Opera House for his first British dates in 15 years, Leonard Cohen immediately apologised for “putting some of you to such geographic and financial inconvenience”.
He had a point: the £75.= $110. tickets were a bit pricey, even by modern standards, and the fact that Cohen is playing only a handful of dates in Manchester, Edinburgh and London, and a headlining slot at Glastonbury, won’t have made life easy for his fans in, say, Norwich or Aberdeen.
Still, you couldn’t help feeling that the person who had probably been most inconvenienced by Leonard Cohen’s 2008 world tour was Cohen himself. After winding down his concert work in 1996, he went to live in a Zen Buddhist retreat in California for five years, but his plans to spend his old age mulling over koans and making the odd record with nubile playmates such as his latest, Anjani Thomas, had drastically to be revised in 2005, when it emerged that he had been swindled out of his $5m retirement nest egg by his former manager, Kelley Lynch.
And so it came to pass that, three years later, rock’s oldest living legend — 74 this year — has embarked on what will almost certainly be the last tour of his remarkable career.
Not that he showed any signs of frailty or ennui during last Tuesday’s three-hour show. He frequently adopted the Cohen Crouch — a crumpled, knock-kneed stance in which he appeared to be singing into his shirt. And his growl of a voice had lost none of its subterranean accuracy, pitching at depths that most people barely recognise as notes. His concern for the wellbeing of his three female backing singers — whom he sidled over to and introduced by name at every opportunity — suggested that the death of this notorious ladies’ man is still some way off. It was delightful, too, to watch Cohen basking in the adoration of the crowd, greeting their delirious applause with elaborate old-fashioned thank-yous for “your kind attention” or — even more bizarrely, given what they’d paid for their seats — “your hospitality”.
Dressed in a plain grey suit and a fedora, which he kept removing, holding to his chest or waving around to tremendous theatrical effect, Cohen led his nine-piece band through a recital of 24 of his best-known songs. They ranged evenly across his 40 years as a recording artist, from the earnest love ballads he favoured in his youth, such as That’s No Way to Say Goodbye, to the more witty and sardonic style he perfected in his later years, of which the most effective on the night was Closing Time, a faux-country evocation of a drunkenly lascivious scene in a small-town bar.
The biggest cheer of the evening was reserved for Hallelujah, the song that has become Cohen’s signature in recent years, and which topped the US iTunes chart earlier this year after it was performed by a contestants on the television talent show American Idol.
The revelation of the concert wasn’t so much the music, beautifully performed as it was by a lightly amplified band who never put a foot wrong, but the persona of the man himself. Age hasn’t so much mellowed Cohen as made him much, much funnier. It's hard to credit that this twinkly-eyed old jester, who reminded us at one point that “the last time I was here, I was just a 60-year-old kid with a crazy dream”, used, not so long ago, to be regarded as a depressive. How could we have carried on thinking such a thing about the author of this line from Democracy: “I’m stubborn as those garbage bags that time will not decay”?
Well, bin that. As Cohen returned for his third encore and launched into I Tried to Leave You, the auditorium erupted with mirth. Like all the best comics, the man who used to be mockingly referred to as “Laughing Len” kept a meticulously straight face throughout, thanked us again for our kind attention, replaced the fedora and wandered contentedly off.
Gregor.
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Re: Manchester, UK (June 17-20)

Postby blonde madonna » Mon Jun 23, 2008 2:12 pm

friscogrl wrote:I would say that I prefer Jeff Bucley's or K.D.Lang's verson....Up until I saw him do it in concert in Toronto and I thought it was one of the best songs of the evening.
I agree with you friscogrl - I feel he has reclaimed the song on this tour. But Hallelujah's evolution is interesting. When 'Various Positions' came out it had fight with so many other good songs to even get noticed, some really good songs, I don't need to list them here. Why it was picked as the favourite child by so many baffles me. To be honest I liked pretty much every other song on that album better. Now I feel like like I don't have a choice anymore - public opinion has decided.

jrw enjoyed your skilful use of another's words.
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Re: Manchester, UK (June 17-20)

Postby Byron » Mon Jun 23, 2008 2:25 pm

friscogrl wrote:I have to say that Leonard Cohen's rendition of Halleujah from various positions is not my favorite either. i understand what john is saying about Leonard putting his putting in 50 years of lived expeirence into this. Lyrically it is beautiful but vocally it does not do it for me. I would say that I prefer Jeff Bucley's or K.D.Lang's verson....Up until I saw him do it in concert in Toronto and I thought it was one of the best songs of the evening. The original seemed somewhat void of emotion, but not the live one. he seem ed to put everything he had into it. It brought the audience to their feet.

Frisco

We often discuss who did the best 'version' of Leonard's songs. It is 'Wonderful' (full meaning of the word) that we can all favour a specific rendition. As for 'H,' I wrote earlier in this thread that I prefer Jeff Buckley. 'H' sung by Leonard, the girls, and a lot of the audience on Wednesday evening, was truly uplifting. The 'lighting' man knew his stuff and the 'wow' factor as colour gave way to monochrome throughout the song took the performance to a 'wonderful' level.
My preference for Jeff Buckley is embedded in the guitar work that he used to give us his rendition.
There is no right or wrong, only preference.
The songs from Wednesday evening continue to take turns in whirling through my mind in my waking hours.
"Bipolar is a roller-coaster ride without a seat belt. One day you're flying with the fireworks; for the next month you're being scraped off the trolley" I said that.
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Re: Manchester, UK (June 17-20)

Postby Andrew McGeever » Mon Jun 23, 2008 4:32 pm

Dear all,
I've read every post on the "Manchester" thread, including all the reviews by professional hacks and Beautiful Losers alike. All of this has had the effect of increasing my already "swollen appetite" 8) for Leonard's concert at Edinburgh Castle on July 16th. I just can't wait!!!!
Nearer the time, I'll slip back into the "Edinburgh" thread for meet-ups etc.
Going gaga , and it's still June,
Andrew.

P.S. Byron, I agree with you re Hallelujah.

P.P.S. Anyone going to Glastonbury? I'm not, but one of my son's is.
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Re: Please, post the setlists...

Postby Gregor » Mon Jun 23, 2008 9:29 pm

Leonard in Manchester


Arriving on the stage at the Manchester Opera House for his first British dates in 15 years, Leonard Cohen immediately apologised for “putting some of you to such geographic and financial inconvenience”.
He had a point: the £75=$110, tickets were a bit pricey, even by modern standards, and the fact that Cohen is playing only a handful of dates in Manchester, Edinburgh and London, and a headlining slot at Glastonbury, won’t have made life easy for his fans in, say, Norwich or Aberdeen.
Still, you couldn’t help feeling that the person who had probably been most inconvenienced by Leonard Cohen’s 2008 world tour was Cohen himself. After winding down his concert work in 1996, he went to live in a Zen Buddhist retreat in California for five years, but his plans to spend his old age mulling over koans and making the odd record with nubile playmates such as his latest, Anjani Thomas, had drastically to be revised in 2005, when it emerged that he had been swindled out of his $5m retirement nest egg by his former manager, Kelley Lynch.
And so it came to pass that, three years later, rock’s oldest living legend — 74 this year — has embarked on what will almost certainly be the last tour of his remarkable career.
Not that he showed any signs of frailty or ennui during last Tuesday’s three-hour show. He frequently adopted the Cohen Crouch — a crumpled, knock-kneed stance in which he appeared to be singing into his shirt. And his growl of a voice had lost none of its subterranean accuracy, pitching at depths that most people barely recognise as notes. His concern for the wellbeing of his three female backing singers — whom he sidled over to and introduced by name at every opportunity — suggested that the death of this notorious ladies’ man is still some way off. It was delightful, too, to watch Cohen basking in the adoration of the crowd, greeting their delirious applause with elaborate old-fashioned thank-yous for “your kind attention” or — even more bizarrely, given what they’d paid for their seats — “your hospitality”.
Dressed in a plain grey suit and a fedora, which he kept removing, holding to his chest or waving around to tremendous theatrical effect, Cohen led his nine-piece band through a recital of 24 of his best-known songs. They ranged evenly across his 40 years as a recording artist, from the earnest love ballads he favoured in his youth, such as That’s No Way to Say Goodbye, to the more witty and sardonic style he perfected in his later years, of which the most effective on the night was Closing Time, a faux-country evocation of a drunkenly lascivious scene in a small-town bar.
The biggest cheer of the evening was reserved for Hallelujah, the song that has become Cohen’s signature in recent years, and which topped the US iTunes chart earlier this year after it was performed by a contestants on the television talent show American Idol.
The revelation of the concert wasn’t so much the music, beautifully performed as it was by a lightly amplified band who never put a foot wrong, but the persona of the man himself. Age hasn’t so much mellowed Cohen as made him much, much funnier. It's hard to credit that this twinkly-eyed old jester, who reminded us at one point that “the last time I was here, I was just a 60-year-old kid with a crazy dream”, used, not so long ago, to be regarded as a depressive. How could we have carried on thinking such a thing about the author of this line from Democracy: “I’m stubborn as those garbage bags that time will not decay”?
Well, bin that. As Cohen returned for his third encore and launched into I Tried to Leave You, the auditorium erupted with mirth. Like all the best comics, the man who used to be mockingly referred to as “Laughing Len” kept a meticulously straight face throughout, thanked us again for our kind attention, replaced the fedora and wandered contentedly off.
G
:) :D
There is a crack in every thing thats how the light gets in
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Re: Manchester, UK (June 18)

Postby Jan159937 » Tue Jun 24, 2008 12:52 pm

I was there on last Wednesday, 18 June 2008 - a night I shall never forget as long as I live!

I've read all the other posts and I won't attempt to comment on the various songs sung, this are just my memories of a truly wonderful event and yes, I WAS THERE!

It was the first time I'd seen Leonard and I'm so pleased I stuffed up trying to get tickets for the O2 in July. We live near Brighton and my husband suggested I try and get tickets for Manchester and what a result! Geographic and financial inconvenience - he was worth it.

Such a small, intimate venue, just 1900 bums on seats (well, apart from the two empty seats in the row in front of us - their absolute loss!)

We got to our seats about 7.10pm (having had an email from Ticketmaster on the Monday to say that the show would be starting a little earlier at 7.30pm) and, I'm sure Leonard won't mind me saying, but we were joking and saying that given his 73 years he'd probably asked for the show to start early so he could get "home" to his bed.

He came onto the stage prompt at 7.30pm and he looked resplendent in his suit and fedora, as did all his band, Sharon and the Webb Sisters in their suits. The show began......

I was mesmerised from start to end - the end being 3 encores and 8 songs later! So much for getting back for a nice glass of Sanatogen and bed. I actually think I've fallen in love :D - it's no wonder has has a reputation as a ladies' man.

The sound was first class, as it should be for an opera house, and his band are first rate. I loved having opera glasses to spy on LC and co and I even spotted Dino Soldo's red trainers ;-) despite everyone else on stage wearing evening shoes. When Leonard recited "A Thousand Kisses Deep" the atmosphere was electric - you could have heard a pin drop and that voice(!) positively erotic :lol:

I've just listened to Jeff Buckley's version of "Hallelujah" - it's still LC's song!

Warmth exuded from his every pore and I believe he genuinely enjoyed himself. I loved the way he constantly referred to his first class musicians and singers - not something you see very often.

What a show, what a voice, what a man.

Thank you Leonard, I am honoured.
Sincerely
Jan x

Jan
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Re: Manchester, UK (June 17-20)

Postby Deena » Tue Jun 24, 2008 6:26 pm

Yeah, me too, as regards just about everything that has been said, in such eloquent terms, so far in this thread. I was there on Thursday and it was nothing short of transcendental. I feel as if I've been in some kind of state of grace ever since.

I was the one trying to give everyone a red rose. I'd bought a bunch for Leonard but wasn't allowed to take them into the auditorium and didn't have time to get to the stage door. I kind of hoped that one of them might find its way to the stage, if not into the hands of Leonard himself. I was in row S, too far back to throw. It seemed that one of them did...

Hey, brokenhill - I looked for you in your red wheelchair and your beard, but didn't see you, otherwise I would have said hi. (And given you a rose.)

I can't get the concert out of my head - I just feel like we were blessed. And I'm not even religious.
Roll on Glastonbury....and thanks to absolutely everyone who has had a hand in the magic.

And thanks, from my heart, to Leonard.
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Re: Manchester, UK (June 17-20)

Postby yhtrownu » Wed Jun 25, 2008 4:53 am

I wrote the following poem on the train back to London from Manchester. I was amusing myself, and can't stress enough what a lovely guy the real Ray is. He is much less crazy than in the poem, and I am more crazy: :)

Down Deansgate way,
I sat with Ray,
Who laughed that he met Lorca,
On that trip he took to Hydra.
He had tried to scale the Tower,
He had hoped to meet the King of Dour
But instead had met his daughter,
And boasted of the meal he bought her.
We started to walk,
He continued to talk
Of Lorca’s father’s money,
Of his manager, Kelley:
How she stole every penny
From old Laughing Lenny
While he was “in a MONASTERY!”
Ray choked and laughed,
He chortled and gasped:
“His loss, our gain! His loss our gain!”
He cried, as it began to rain:
“Leonard’s ON THE ROAD AGAIN!
The heat of Ray’s excitement,
Seemed to dry his every garment,
So I said goodbye, and walked to my hotel,
To change my clothes before the concert bell.

I didn't SEE Ray again that day,
I listened to what Leonard had to say:
The great man doesn’t know the deal,
But said live life “as if it’s real.”
He wondered which religion was true
Until the cheerfulness broke through.
He performed the hits,
To the best of his wits.
The very first time he did,
Since he was sixty year old kid.
A kid with a crazy dream,
Yet his eyes continue to beam.
And even though he’s seventy three,
He sang Hallelujah down on one knee.
All around me, tears of joy,
I felt an exceptionally fortunate boy.

In keeping with this happy day,
Before I decide to drift away,
I hear one voice, the tone most loud,
Echoing through this milling crowd,
Through gasps, guffaws and growls,
Through all the raucous howls,
Still mad as the merry month of May,
But laughing louder still. . . It’s Ray!
Manchester, June 18 2008
Manchester, June 19 2008
London O2, July 17 2008
London O2, November 14 2008
Royal Albert Hall, November 17 2008
Mercedes Benz World, Weybridge, July 11 2009
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sirius
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Re: Manchester, UK (June 17-20)

Postby sirius » Wed Jun 25, 2008 2:53 pm

You Write The Reviews: Leonard Cohen, Opera House, Manchester

(Rated five stars 5/ 5 )

Reviewed by Jim Lunney

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-enter ... 53429.html

The Independent

Wednesday, 25 June 2008


This was never going to be just a concert. Communion with the man whose emotional and spiritual quests have provided the GPS mapping for more than one generation is, in fact, more of an act of worship.

Cohen entered with a six-strong band and three female singers. Hats were obligatory, and Cohen kept his dapper grey fedora in place all evening, except when doffing it with polite humility to acknowledge the applause that started as soon as he walked on, a show of gratitude for his return to the UK stage after an absence of 15 years.

The set kicked off with "Dance Me to the End of Love", with Cohen almost crouching over his hand-held microphone. All evening, he reverentially gave his attention (and constant name checks) to his fellow artists, and the deference was merited by their musicianship. Roscoe Beck takes credit for orchestrating the first-rate band, which included the guitarist Bob Metzger and the multi-instrumentalist Dino Soldo. Javier Mas spun histrionic displays on a range of stringed instruments, seated regally downstage in a plush armchair.

Female voices have always provided the perfect satin on which Cohen's vocal gravel can best be displayed. Sharon Robinson and the Webb Sisters are perfection. At one point, they transformed the penitential poetry of "If It Be Your Will" into an angelic anthem. Cohen, attentive and impressed, doffed his cap.

The 73-year-old seemed relaxed and cheery. On recent albums, his voice has become a smoky whisper, but in live performance it has the strength and energy of tours from decades past. He relished the ironic line "I was born with the gift of a golden voice" (from "Tower of Song"), and so did the audience. It wasn't the only humour on display, either. Apologising for his long absence from performance, he recalled his last tour, aged 60, when he was "just a crazy kid with a dream".

Stand-up comedy gave way to poetry, but it was the songs that made the ticket price (£75 each in the stalls) seem a small sum to pay. We got gems hewn from every stage of his career, from as far back as "Suzanne", to "First We Take Manhattan" and "Boogie Street". Delicate backdrop lighting was carefully attuned to mirror the delicacy of "Sisters of Mercy" and the passion of "Democracy".

After several encores, he gave us 1974's "I Tried to Leave You", with its parting line: "And here's a man still working for your smile." He earned a hatful.

Touring to 3 Aug (http://www.leonardcohen.com)


Jim Lunney, Housing director, Cheshire
We are so small between the stars, so large against the sky
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Famous Blue Raincoat, Manchester 20/06/2008

Postby Warthog » Wed Jun 25, 2008 9:34 pm

Leonard performing 'Famous Blue Raincoat' on 20/06/2008.
A simply wonderful evening ...
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Manchester Opera House 20/6/2008 : Vienna Konzerthaus 24/9/2008 :
Cardiff 8/11/2008 : Manchester 30/11/2008 : Berlin 2/7/2009 :
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