Isle of Wight 1970 release (October 2009) - all the details

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Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Postby sirius » Fri Oct 23, 2009 4:31 pm

Leonard Cohen — “Live At The Isle of Wight” (Sony Legacy)

By Patrick Ferrucci, Register Entertainment Editor

http://www.nhregister.com/articles/2009 ... 971270.txt


There have been very few live albums over the last decade as wonderful, essential, illuminating and jaw-droppingly beautiful as Leonard Cohen’s “Live At The Isle of Wight,” a CD/DVD package that should be in the collection of not only fans of the legendary singer/songwriter, but of music fans in general.

The year was 1970, and Cohen was set to perform at the third annual Isle of Wight Festival. The only problem was that hundreds of thousands of gate-crashers stormed the concert site to see acts including Jimi Hendrix, The Who and more. A riot of sorts was breaking out, the stage was torched during Hendrix’s set, and right after that is when the then-35-year-old Cohen took the stage. On this collection, his set is captured pristinely on both CD and DVD.

At the time of the concert, Cohen had released two stellar records with a third on the way, so the audience got to hear such soon-to-be classics as “So Long Marianne” and “Bird on a Wire,” but also not-yet-released tunes like “Suzanne.” Overall, there’s barely anything to criticize on “Live At The Isle of Wight.” The packaging is beautiful, the liner notes substantial, the sound and video pristine. If one’s to nitpick, the film version of the concert could do without the interviews with various musicians. But, really, that’s really looking for something to criticize.
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Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Postby elcord » Sat Oct 24, 2009 1:32 am

On the theme of nitpicking and 'looking for something to criticize" my only other real irritation with the DVD is where introductions are matched with the wrong song. Most notably this occurs when in the DVD Cohen talks about it being late but perhaps this is good music to make love to which the film then goes in to Suzanne (if my memory serves me correctly) whereas the CD reveals this to be an introduction for an encore of Famous Blue Raincoat - where the introduction makes much more sense (to me at least). Switching the order of the songs to make a coherent film is one thing and perfectly understandable - as in the great opening with Diamonds in the Mine - but the linking introductions to different songs seems more problematic for me. I know this is nitpicking and a bit disingenous, but, hey, what is a forum for?
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Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Postby sirius » Sat Oct 24, 2009 2:43 am

Leonard Cohen: Live at the Isle of Wight 1970
(Sony/Legacy)

By Tom Useted

23 October 2009

http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/114 ... ight-1970/

With Leonard Cohen’s star in the ascendant after the Came So Far For Beauty concerts, the Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man documentary, the remastered early albums, his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, more than a year of well-received and artistically successful shows, and the Live in London CD and DVD, it’s no surprise that Cohen’s performance at the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival has been dusted off. It makes an awful lot of commercial sense, and the story surrounding the show is certainly compelling: Cohen took the stage in the dead of night in front of half a million people, and, to quote the press materials, “tamed the crowd”. So yes, it’s no surprise to see this CD/DVD package hitting the stores. But it’s also entirely justified by the fact that it’s a great concert and it’s well presented.

As a document, Live at the Isle of Wight is more representative of Cohen’s performances during this period than 1973’s Live Songs, which focused on material from Cohen’s second album, Songs From a Room, and songs otherwise unavailable on his records. Particularly since the release of Live in London earlier this year, which showed the songwriter triumphant late in his career, it’s nice to finally have a complete concert of Cohen in his early prime. Live Songs is still a fantastic record and gives some sense of what Cohen was doing onstage with his current material. It achieves a mood and certainly has a sense of drama, but it’s also cobbled together from shows over a three-year period. At last, we get the whole shebang: songs, poetry, and song introductions as spontaneous-sounding and entrancing the tenth time you hear them as they were the first.

Compared to the well-oiled machine that is the Leonard Cohen show in 2009, the Isle of Wight sound is loose and flexible, with Cohen joined by a group he dubbed the Army. The Army were an aggregate of Nashville pros, including Charlie Daniels and producer Bob Johnston, plus the female backup vocalists that have come to be identified with Cohen’s music. There is no drummer and no soloing, and everything is in the service of the songs. As a result, there’s a very casual, unrehearsed feel to the music which allows things to ebb and flow very organically. At the same time, despite the smallness of the band, the sound isn’t exactly thin or sparse; they hold back at times, focusing on providing color and texture, but this is a group that can certainly make a joyful noise, as we hear on “Sing Another Song, Boys”, “So Long, Marianne” or “Tonight Will Be Fine”.

The latter is one of the highlights of this package. The Isle of Wight version has been available for years on Live Songs, but hearing and seeing that performance in its original context is a treat. In its studio incarnation, it was a small jewel. Live, Cohen and the Army simultaneously slow the song down and make it more buoyant, adding fiddle, banjo, harmonica and a singalong element that’s absolutely missing from the studio version. The slower tempo allows Cohen to sing-scream, rather than speak-chant, his lyrics, and the song is further drawn out with the addition of a couple extra verses. It’s a joyous, infectious performance, proof enough for anyone who needs it that a Cohen song isn’t always a slow outpouring of doom and gloom.

Unlike the career-spanning set-list of Live in London, Cohen’s repertoire at the Isle of Wight was comprised of songs from his first two records, as well as a few that would turn up on 1971’s Songs of Love and Hate. (The performance of “Sing Another Song, Boys” on the latter is, in fact, from the Isle of Wight concert.) There’s always something fascinating about live performances from early in an artist’s career, before certain lesser songs—“Tonight Will Be Fine” would qualify, as would many others here - have disappeared from the set list. To me, the release of Isle of Wight reveals Songs From a Room as a less satisfactory record than I’d previously thought. It’s still the worst sounding album in Cohen’s catalogue, plodding along metronomically for 35 minutes, always painfully obvious that something is missing. That’s no reflection on the quality of the songs, which include one bona-fide standard in “Bird on the Wire”, another classic in “Story of Isaac”, and a whole bunch of minor gems. What’s missing, it’s now clear—and it should’ve been before Isle of Wight, but this record clinches it—are the female backup singers who grace all of Leonard Cohen’s other albums. Sure, they’re occasionally comically over-the-top; just listen to the studio versions of “Diamonds in the Mine” or “Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye” or anything from Death of a Ladies’ Man. But they’re also a perfect complement to Cohen’s own less-than-versatile pipes, lending his music an ethereal quality that distinguishes it from that of his contemporaries. That quality is also what seems to have attracted such a range of interpreters to his songs.

Almost as revelatory as “Tonight Will Be Fine” in its Isle of Wight incarnation is “Lady Midnight”, which was one of the more curious inclusions on 1975’s The Best of Leonard Cohen. The studio take is a perfectly serviceable, bouncy, compact little song, but it lacks the beautiful power of his truly great work. The Isle of Wight version is a whole different animal: it’s slowed down just a bit, Cohen delivers a smooth, fluid vocal, and the moment the ladies come in at the end of the song, with a wonderfully drawn-out “You’ve won me, my lord,” leading into some spirited ad-libbing by Cohen, is one of the best demonstrations of what the background vocalists bring to his music. He sounds at ease, and at one, with his songs, in no small part due to the ladies’ elevating them. The six songs drawn from Songs From a Room have never sounded better than they do here.

It wasn’t my intention to harp on the distinctions between Live at the Isle of Wight and Songs From a Room, but that’s been the aspect of listening to Isle of Wight that’s most intrigued me. The rest of the songs are great, too. Cohen sings half of his debut album here, and hearing those songs stripped of any production flourishes isn’t any better or worse, just different. “The Stranger Song” is the lone solo performance here; on the DVD, it’s neat when the camera zooms out to reveal the band just sitting there, with Cohen singing and playing by himself. In a modern concert, this alone-ness would’ve been exaggerated by a dramatic single spotlight or something. Meanwhile, “Diamonds in the Mine” would lose a verse by the time it was recorded for Songs of Love and Hate, and “Sing Another Song, Boys”, which for a long time seemed out of place on that album, sounds great in this setting. It’s a shame that the video omits a good portion of the song, because the building intensity of the performance is totally lost.

My only real complaint regarding of the DVD is its incompleteness. It’s missing a handful of songs, others are cut short, and the order of the show is scrambled. There’s no explanation for this in the liner notes. It’s ultimately not a big deal, because what’s here is presented without an ounce of fat. And if the additional cultural context it provides isn’t necessary for enjoyment of the music, it certainly augments the audio nicely and offers some minor charms and revelations of its own. For instance, what sounds like a flute on “One of Us Cannot Be Wrong” turns out to be Cohen whistling into his cupped hands. And there are several shots from behind the musicians in which the Who’s equipment is still onstage, which is a small detail but a fun one.

As Leonard Cohen wraps up another year back in the limelight, it might seem reasonable to question the necessity of unearthing 40-year-old recordings when he’s very much alive and omnipresent. But one listen to Live at the Isle of Wight 1970—coupled with a screening of the DVD - and you won’t be likely to ask yourself that question again any time soon. This is vital music for Cohen fans old and new, a potent reminder that he didn’t just pop up out of nowhere a few years ago.


US release date: 20 October 2009

UK release date: 19 October 2009

Rating: 8 of 10
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Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Postby Davido » Sat Oct 24, 2009 4:52 pm

MOJO 193 December 2009 issue:
Jeff Tamarkin gives 4stars ' The Calm Offensive' - 'Bedraggled and unshaven, droll and unfazed, Leonard Cohen is a study in intimacy and tranquility'.
' Leonard Cohen Live at the Isle of Wight 1970.... a testament to cooler heads prevailing, of how a torch-carrying mob was led back from the brink by the coolest of them all.'
http://cover.mojo4music.com/Item.aspx?p ... &year=2009
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Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Postby sirius » Sun Oct 25, 2009 5:27 am

Leonard Cohen - Live At The Isle Of Wight 1970

Mike Ragogna

music biz vet, entertainment writer

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-rago ... 25533.html

Had Leonard Cohen not been so Kurt Weill about himself and his characters, he might have been seated at the Rod McKuen kiddie table, possibly remaining a mere cult figure the likes of the similarly-brooding Scott Walker. But New York City intellectuals and all of the folky singer-songwriters--including the Joni Mitchell, Judy Collins, and Joan Baez trifecta--idolized him. By his second or third album, he was all but crowned King of the Melancholy Poets, sedately letting the wild rumpus begin in every one of his Songs of... series that contained some of the best poetic pop any singer-songwriter previously had cognized. Though he never had his own big chart hits, he gave Dylan an artistic run for his money. His compositions were covered by most contemporary singers of the era, and every lady wanted him in the sack apparently due to his moody music, seduction-in-a-second dialogs, and bohemian-sixties stylishness. And to this day, one of the shiniest jewels in his crown is Jennifer Warnes' landmark album Famous Blue Raincoat, a brooding and insightful reworking of the master's catalog.

Leonard Cohen performed at the Isle Of Wight's third concert, about one year following his second album, Songs From A Room. He already was popular in the U.S. due to that release plus his '67 Princeton dorm room essential, Songs Of Leonard Cohen; in Europe, they still were discovering him, although countries like France and Britain already embraced his music. This particular appearance across the pond is significant because Cohen all but prevented the Gates of Hell from opening at the venue. The artist was led directly from his van to the stage, his immediate mission being to tame a beastly audience that was adrenalized by Jimi Hendrix's legendary performance, one that preceded the guitarist's death by a mere three weeks.

Cohen's soothing segment was witnessed from the wings by co-headliners Joan Baez (to whom he dedicated "The Partisan" for her political endeavors) and Kris Kristofferson, then he later was joined onstage for a song introduction by his friend Judy Collins who previously covered many of the writer's classics. Before long, Cohen eventually had 600,000 people mesmerized by serene songs of love, irony and desperation.

Live At The Isle Of Wight's 77-minute DVD and its slightly different CD (containing more songs than banter due to the availability of audio over footage) document Cohen's fascinating contribution to pop culture, and the event was filmed lovingly by the Oscar-nominated Murray Lerner, whose celebrated music flick Festival!--a taste of the Newport Folk concerts--was mimicked by virtually every rock movie of the following decade including Woodstock. The audio was captured by jazz producer/A&R guru Teo Macrero who attended the event to preserve Miles Davis' set.

Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-rago ... 25533.html
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Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Postby Hal E. Lujah » Sun Oct 25, 2009 5:30 pm

Has anyone noticed that Sing Another Song Boys is a little different than on the album? The ending adds another chorus on the album, which wasn't there in the performance at the Isle. I haven't looked into this, but anyone know 'bout this?
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Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Postby LisaLCFan » Mon Oct 26, 2009 12:23 am

Hal E. Lujah wrote:Has anyone noticed that Sing Another Song Boys is a little different than on the album? The ending adds another chorus on the album, which wasn't there in the performance at the Isle. I haven't looked into this, but anyone know 'bout this?
The CD of the Isle of Wight performance has the full version that is on the album (Songs of Love and Hate). For some reason the performance was cut/edited on the DVD. It's too bad, because it's such a great song in its entirety. I think this may have been discussed above.

The CD is so wonderful, being the entire performance, and in order. If you've only watched the DVD, you must listen to the CD, it's about 30 minutes longer (more songs, yeah!), and an absolute delight from start to finish!
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Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Postby Hal E. Lujah » Mon Oct 26, 2009 1:22 am

Thanks, fellow Cohenite! I did not know this. I have not heard the CD yet, but will tomorrow morning. So, the Songs of Love and Hate version was not edited to add the chorus; rather the so-called live version was edited out? Why the hell would they edit the climax out? This makes no sense to me whatsoever. You know what else I find odd, that there is no drummer on the Isle. How often did he perform drummerless? I would have thought that the spirit of the times, even for a folksinger, would have called for a drummer.
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Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Postby jerry » Mon Oct 26, 2009 7:28 pm

On the cd I can't understand the introduction. The intro is impossible to make out. Why even include it if it can't be understood? After the intro Leonard's voice comes in crystal clear.
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Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Postby LisaLCFan » Mon Oct 26, 2009 7:58 pm

Hal E. Lujah wrote:Thanks, fellow Cohenite! I did not know this. I have not heard the CD yet, but will tomorrow morning. So, the Songs of Love and Hate version was not edited to add the chorus; rather the so-called live version was edited out? Why the hell would they edit the climax out? This makes no sense to me whatsoever. You know what else I find odd, that there is no drummer on the Isle. How often did he perform drummerless? I would have thought that the spirit of the times, even for a folksinger, would have called for a drummer.
My only guess about the editing of the song (and about the songs that are on the CD but not the DVD) would be what other people have suggested, namely, that the video simply wasn't available, or that it was in very poor shape. Perhaps they wanted to include at least some of the song on the DVD, since it's something of a highlight, but, I agree with you, you'd think that they could have put it all on there, and just used other video footage. I think Jarkko (our wise and all-knowing Forum Leader) mentioned that all available video was used for the DVD. I guess we just have to be happy with what is available, and even though there are several things about the DVD that we could complain about (wierd editing, out-of order songs and intros, based on what is on the CD), really, it is pretty cool to have what there is! And, I suppose since the DVD is kind of presented as a "documentary" that gave them a bit more licence to mess it up!

As for the lack of drums, I recall an interview with Leonard in which he said that he didn't want drums back then, not on the albums or anything. Who knows why? He didn't explain. (I've always thought that the drums in the original So Long, Marianne, were wonderful, and really helped to build the climax, even if LC didn't like them).
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Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Postby Hal E. Lujah » Tue Oct 27, 2009 12:33 am

Thanks. I hope you are right about the omission in Sing Another Song Boys. I don't think ANYONE would have deleted it without a reason, like it didn't exist. There would be no good reason to save half a minute by shaving off the ending. It is so missed, however.

Does anyone know what he was saying about becoming a nation and having a right to land? Who was he talking about? I have not read the liner notes yet, due to work load right now, forgive me.

Does anyone know what he means by looking through a semi-precious stone, in Seems so long ago, Nancy? I might be missing something there.

Love calls you by the name, to me, is one of the great songs, yet he didn't do it here, nor in the Tour. I guess he just doesn't fancy it. I also like Avalanche, but I can see more there why he wouldn't do it, sort of. Love and Hate was such a powerful album. Thanks, again for talking Cohen together.
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Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Postby Bird off the Wire » Tue Oct 27, 2009 1:49 am

I played the CD on a number of occasions and thoroughly enjoyed it. But something was continuously puzzling me - something didn't feel right - and I couldn't figure what it was. Then it hit me. If you listen to the applause at the end of each song, you get the impression that this album was recorded in front of a small number of people in an intimate very small club, and not in front of 600,000 people.
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Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Postby LisaLCFan » Tue Oct 27, 2009 4:51 am

Hal E. Lujah wrote:Does anyone know what he was saying about becoming a nation and having a right to land? Who was he talking about? I have not read the liner notes yet, due to work load right now, forgive me.
Thanks, again for talking Cohen together.
According to the liner notes, Leonard was talking about (and to) the people in the crowd, referring (apparently) to the whole issue of a fence having been put up by concert organizers and their (the organizers) wanting money for the show (imagine that!) and trying to keep people out, instead of letting everyone who showed up just watch it for free. I guess Leonard was sympathizing with the crowd, with their having to abide by the rules of the land-owners and organizers, as though they were being oppressed by them in some way. I thought his comments were a bit wierd (I thought, "What the hell is he talking about?" and I just attributed it to his being a bit high) until I read the liner notes. Then, it was only a little less wierd ;-) .

And, hey, I'm always happy to "talk Cohen"!
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Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Postby LisaLCFan » Tue Oct 27, 2009 5:04 am

Bird off the Wire wrote:I played the CD on a number of occasions and thoroughly enjoyed it. But something was continuously puzzling me - something didn't feel right - and I couldn't figure what it was. Then it hit me. If you listen to the applause at the end of each song, you get the impression that this album was recorded in front of a small number of people in an intimate very small club, and not in front of 600,000 people.
Yes! I thought the same thing! Even watching the DVD, Leonard is so composed, you'd think he was standing on stage in a small club. The audience is totally in the palm of his hand, which is remarkable, considering the sheer numbers and the size of the area. He just has a way of engaging the audience, and still does, as many people have noted on the current tour that, regardless of the size of the venue, there is such a feeling of intimacy when he's performing. It is such a rare talent and presence that he has, to be able to do that.


[I hope people don't think that I'm monopolizing this thread! I seem to be replying to everybody! It's just that I love this Isle of Wight release so much, and I'm so excited about it that I'm "gushing" with exuberance! Please forgive me!]
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Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Postby Hal E. Lujah » Wed Oct 28, 2009 2:08 am

Getting back to Sing Another Song, Boys...I played the CD and heard the whole song, so the audio was just fine during the video shoot. So, I am left totally blank as to why they would not have just used the whole audio and substituted crowd footage on video, if the argument is that the video must have been corrupted. Totally lost. The climax is the best part of the song, hence the term "climax" and I am offended that it did not show up on the DVD. I only saw the DVD once, but it made an impression of lack. So, in sum, why did the producer not include the audio, substituting other video footage, if the issue is corruption of the video tape, which I don't believe, by the way. I also wonder why the applause sounds like it's a few people, rather than half a million, but I don't really care about that. What kind of crap is it anyway, that the video is bad? Didn't they have several videographers at this festival? I am not in that field, but what happened? They didn't store the film right? I really want that whole song, done the way it is heard on the CD.

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