It was the usual and traditional Italian chaos. The problems were not in organisation, but people coming to show at 2130 except earlier, and then, seats were marked with codes, to make it as hardest to find they could. Of course, you can't do this in dark, and LC started in time, and hostesses weren't available anymore (of course, I did ask one for way, although I did decipher the system and was sure I have the right seat... But I couldn't resist.
I want to thank Leonard for playing the complete set, up until 00:30, nevertheless the late start (scheduled at 2130, and he was on time) , and a policeman walking in first row for the last 40 minutes of the show.
The band was great, double better than on recordings I heard from first weeks. Voice resonating. The sound in 4th row was magnificent. The major thing is that Dino Soldo, who's otherwise great and talented musician, is now finally the part of well-working team dedicated to the songs. He's learning one important thing for be great - how to be humble. And he was great, some songs like Boogie Street and I'm Your Man are his. Javier Mas was the master, in front of amazed first rows, and the constant interplay between him and Leonard is warm and beautiful. Neil Larsen on Hammond B3 organ is - well, he's looking the G-d while he's eyes are closed and hands on the organ. He is absolutely superb. Also, his eye contact during his parts with Leonard is telling everything. Hallelujah is the high peak, when he starts his organ after that short stop near the end of song. That was closest to the religious experience I will ever come, I believe. And it was nice to have Leonard's guitar on so many songs, you can't not to hear his famous strumming behind the band sound. My personal peak is The Gypsy's Wife, and maybe also Who By Fire - both led by Javier Mas. The second couple is Boogie Street and In My Secret Life (both heard in sacred silence from the audience, as many other songs), with Sharon and Leonard looking into each other's eyes.
I also want to point to So Long Marianne - because it was sung with audience on choruses - and to Bird on The Wire. On that one, Leonard again abandoned the original lines which he was performing this June (verses "I saw a woman ... I saw a beggar") and returned to 1988/93 version (verse is again "Don't cry ... it's finished..."), with significant new couple of lines in that verse ("It was you that my loving was made for."). No other changes, Sharon also sung a verse alone in Manhattan, and it is nice to hear Leonard performing both versions of Hallelujah as one (what he does on the whole tour).
I am of course reconstructing this according to the second part of the show, when I started to look around (what includes left corner of the stage
) I cannot speak about the level of emotion and other involvements as I guess it's self-understandable and beyond comprehension in this case. Also, I wasn't much aware of anything for the first 6-7 songs, because I was concentrated on Leonard and had to deal with my emotions. Also, I didn't take notes, left my cameras, cell phones, pencils, and I didn't use the intermission - I had my seat and my path and nothing could divert my attention and the original experience (I am of those people not using cameras even on travels and holidays), not even the big screens, or various band members' solos. I think that Leonard is the center of the event, and perfect delivery and music only adds to that. 90 % of the event in my memory and experience is connected with him, the band was mostly background in my mind. (Thank you to Paola for reserving me 4th row!) It's amazing to see Leonard really producing the lines on the site, as he's just inventing them; he's not really singing them mechanically, or performing them, as other singers are, but really is searching for them, so the lines could be sung with dedication and thought over.
We can speak about the shows on few levels: musically it was great and perfect, performing is perfect, dedication and professionalism also, and non-fans can experience that in flesh and confirm this, although they cannot take 3 hours of set. Then there's the relation with audience (and Lucca really showed it), and then there's very personal (and interpersonal) involvement between you and the voice and the artist behind, and most fans did invest much in that relationship and it's happening on really private level, with very rare artists reaching it.
In that sense, I cannot speak or witness about my first Leonard Cohen show, and I didn't want to meet him in times when he's dedicated to so many people experiencing this. But I have to admit that my heart cannot be still, even if I can't speak no more, and I still didn't sleep well, due to the emotional overload on first songs. I simply feel wiped out, I admit.
To put it shortly: THANK YOU Leonard and everybody involved.
PS. I like The Answer Leonard finally got and shared, after decades of his searching. Too-da-dam-ta-di-da-dam, Leonard. So simple, even simpler than "just let it go by" or "I couldn't feel so I learned to touch". Simple as some or Roshi's koans.