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

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

Postby elcord » Wed Oct 28, 2009 4:22 am

I suspect the Sing Another Song Boys edit is going to be a long standing irritation for many of us. The evidence of the DVD does suggest that the available film just cuts out and there is no more. From where the first edit appears (where it jumps to the line "let's sing another song boys / this one has grown old and bitter") until the 'end' the song the footage used is from Tonight Will Be Fine. If you watch closely you can see taht Charlie Daniels is playing fiddle and Bubba Fowler is playing banjo, which they don't play on SASB. Seems like the filmaker knew the song was so good that he had to include the footage available but then had to do something to finish it off. But I am certainly of the opinion that a better approach would have been to play the complete audio and put in other visuals, even still photo's. As has been noted already, this is once song that does not survive editing because its structure and build-up is so important to the song. I, for example, did not feel irritated in Message of Love with the truncated version of Suzanne in the same way as I do with this edit.

Just on another aside, it is interesting to note Leonard's lyric fumbles, though like the trooper he is he does not bat an eyelid. He does rather make a mess of the choruses in Suzanne and in Diamonds in the Mine he repeats the line "I saw the man in question it was just the other night / he was eating up a lady where the lions and Christians fight" in two of the verses (I'm sure not intentionally). Rather like the clanger in Bird on a Wire in the Live in London concert. I actually see these as little jewels in a live performance.
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Hal E. Lujah
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Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Postby Hal E. Lujah » Wed Oct 28, 2009 7:00 pm

Thanks, Elcord. I heartily agree that the song absolutely should have been in full, with video footage or stills even. Since they used alternate video for part of the song, can anyone say why they would not have done so for the full song? That really is the issue. I did not even know that part of that video was substituted. It's one thing if you are saying it is actual footage and another if you are splicing. I hate to complain but this is really an atrocious thing to do, to abort Leonard mid-climax like that. That part really soars and justifies the whole song, so only a boor could possibly be so vulgar as to think no one would mind. Save that shit for Tiny Tim, but leave Leonard alone.

that bit where he blows through his hands on Thin Green Candle, was he playing a small instrument or was the sound made by this hand-flute, as it were? Notice how it is like his voice, struggling for tonality, as one reviewer put it. If he had a dog, I wonder if it would bark a little off-key? I myself only listen to Leonard and hate all covers. I think only he can properly sing his songs, so I enjoy his particularities. Obviously I must be in the minority, as there are 2000 covers. But, I hated everything, unless it didn't really try to copy him, but to introduce it in a different way. Even then, blah.
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Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Postby LisaLCFan » Wed Oct 28, 2009 7:31 pm

Hal E. Lujah wrote: That bit where he blows through his hands on Thin Green Candle, was he playing a small instrument or was the sound made by this hand-flute, as it were? Notice how it is like his voice, struggling for tonality, as one reviewer put it. If he had a dog, I wonder if it would bark a little off-key? I myself only listen to Leonard and hate all covers. I think only he can properly sing his songs, so I enjoy his particularities. Obviously I must be in the minority, as there are 2000 covers. But, I hated everything, unless it didn't really try to copy him, but to introduce it in a different way. Even then, blah.
Hey, man! It sure looks like Leonard is just using his hands in "Some of Us Cannot Be Wrong" (thin green candle). Notice how he vigorously rubs them together just before he starts whistling. It is a remarkable sound, like a flute or a recorder, but as noted, it has Leonard's special tone, and it's infused with kind of a melancholy emotion. I just love it!

That's really funny, your remark about Leonard's hypothetical dog barking a little off-key! I never really realized that Leonard was off-key, since I guess I must be a bit off key myself. I used to listen to a lot of Frank Sinatra (please, no comments, either way), but people said the same thing about him, being off-key, and yet, his voice sounded just fine to me. Really, the whole business of being "on-key" is rather artificial, isn't it? Atonalism attests to that.

I also agree with you totally about covers of Leonard's songs, and while many here may disagree (those of you who like covers, there is no need to chime in! I'm not trying to be rude, but let's just agree to disagee, okay?), since Leonard puts so much of himself into his songs, only he can truly sing them, since they are a part of him, and if you take him out of the equation, an essential element of the song is lost.

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

Postby Hal E. Lujah » Thu Oct 29, 2009 2:05 am

hey, I finally found it. A negative review!
Well, it had to happen. See below.

Anyone know why they dropped the "our man" from the Chelsea plaque? And, did he mention the honor at MSG?

I don't think it would be fair to expect an artist to sing pieces from forty years ago the exact way it had been sung then. He is not the same man. He does not feel now as he did then. It would not be truth to try to be who he was then. I think this reviewer's view is off for these reasons. His voice changed, for one thing, but the main thing is he changed, so isn't it absurd to expect him to repeat the feel of that time? Can he not keep true to the essence of the songs while singing them who he is now? At 75 you're not 35 anymore. I don't see how he feels it is weather channel, easy-listening muzak sounding. He doesn't blast, if that's what it's about. He got the sound he wanted; if he had wanted it differently he easilyh could have arranged that. I don't like other peoples' covers of Leonard's music; he doesn't like Leonard's covers of his own music, as it were.


Note To Self: Say No To Arena Shows
I was just about bursting with excitement for Friday night’s Leonard Cohen show at Madison Square Garden. Aside from Neil Young, who I still haven’t seen, Cohen was the one favorite artist of mine who I felt would be able to deliver the goods this late into his career. I figured that, in Cohen’s case, age might even add a measure of stature to his music, which had the power to transcend the inherent cheesiness in this risky set-up: playing songs forty years later to aging fans in a gaudy arena. I felt strongly that he would still make it seem classy and first-rate. As the rain fittingly began to fall, my girlfriend and I made our way through the Chelsea streets, up to MSG, where we made it to our seats by 8pm—two sections up but directly in line with the floor’s tenth row—and prepared to take in three glorious hours of majestic music.

Things started well enough, as he played a newer song, coated in the glaze that has always teetered on the edge of becoming too Weather Channel/smooth jazzy for my tastes. But this was the new Cohen, and when he sang the chorus on “The Future,” I was on board. I assumed that when he journeyed into the past, he would make the necessary changes to the musical presentation.

And then came another slightly jazzy groove, which I didn’t recognize until he started singing, “Like a bird, on the wire,” and I had a crushing realization. Nobody else seemed to mind the cheesy new glaze on this classic song—especially those holding lighters in the air—but in that opening line, my balloon of excitement started deflating. Without saying anything, I looked at Holly, who looked back at me with similarly disappointed eyes. She knew it too. We stayed for an hour, then left to catch up with friends back in Brooklyn.

Let it be known: I am not here to say that Leonard Cohen, his band, and basically everyone except us was wrong. Time changes things. But when you have an idea in your head and that idea reveals itself to be the thing you desperately didn’t want, it’s impossible not to feel crushed. In recent years, I’ve sworn off going to see the “old greats” for I understand that the environment, as well as the ticking of the annual clock, will always turn the event into a disappointment. This show was the final nail in that coffin. The next morning, we woke up, laid in bed, and listened to Songs of Leonard Cohen as the overcast sky cast a gray light over our bedroom. This was what I’d wished for all along.

(ADDITIONAL NOTE: I now no longer feel as critical of the documentary Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man. At the time when I saw it, I was outright offended by the overriding cheesiness of the musical presentations, the session players and “noteworthy” singers doing covers of Cohen songs in that Weather Channel style. But after seeing Cohen’s current approach to his own music, replete with a “master” guitarist and “soulful” saxophonist, I realize that the documentary was more accurate than I would allow myself to acknowledge.)

tully posted on October 26, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (2)



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I’ll let Holly answer that one if she cares to, but our discussion on the train ride back to Brooklyn led me to believe that we were wearing the same goggles.

By tully on October 27, 2009
Are you sure Holly’s “disappointed eyes” weren’t the eyes of someone who suddenly realizes that they are with one of the only men in the world not moved by Leonard Cohen’s majestic, soul-baring performance on this current tour?
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Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Postby linmag » Thu Oct 29, 2009 9:17 pm

I listened to the CD last night, and really enjoyed hearing the old tunes, like Lady Midnight, that for some reason have not made it to 'classic' status and no longer figure in the live show. Something had to give, I guess, or the shows would be about six hours long by now :). I liked that the intros and the poems were left in, and it was good to hear the older arrangements of the songs he is still performing live. Not that I have any quarrel with how he is doing them now, it was just nice to look back.

I have just finished watching the DVD. I understood from some of the posts here that this was more of a documentary than a film of the concert, so I was bowled over by my emotional reaction to seeing Leonard perform the songs. I think it was all the sustained close-ups that did it. It was such a raw, honest performance, it had me in tears several times. The documentary aspect was fascinating though. I had forgotten how it was back then, with the wide-eyed innocent idealists genuinely believing that everything, but mostly music and love, should be free, and the hardline politicals mixed in among them. I never made it to the IOW - I was 17 and my parents would never have allowed it - so this has been a gift to me, allowing me to experience in some small measure something I thought I had missed. Yes, it was a travesty to cut 'Let's Sing Another Song Boys' off in its prime, but at least it's all there on the CD, and now that I have watched the DVD I will see those images every time I listen to the CD. I may not watch the DVD again, but I'm glad it's there.
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sirius
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Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Postby sirius » Fri Oct 30, 2009 5:22 am

The miracle that was Leonard Cohen’s set

Leonard Cohen - At The Isle Of Wight 1970

review by Paul Epstein


http://twistedspork.blogspot.com/2009/1 ... -1970.html

The real treasure here is the DVD

This past year has seen Mr. Cohen return to the stage after a long absence in order to heal the financial wounds caused by an unscrupulous manager, and caused a minor sensation by proving himself not only the consummate songwriter we fans have always known him to be, but also showing that he is one of the great performers left of his generation. A more unlikely rock star there has never been. Cohen is a poet as much as a singer/songwriter, and his shows are always peppered with spoken word interludes. His manner of addressing the audience is also an act of poetry; he is calming, thought provoking and unforgettable - a true gentleman. This release, which contains both the entire concert on CD and a DVD documentary of the event by filmmaker Murray Lerner, is like manna from heaven for Cohen fans - really. The audio portion is exciting to have; it is a concert of Cohen in his prime, focusing largely on his first two albums with a hand-selected band that is just perfect for the occasion. Acoustic guitars, soft keyboards, female backing vocals and Charlie Daniels (yes, that Charlie Daniels) on bass and fiddle supplying beautifully sympathetic backing to Cohen’s somber yet expressive intoning. The real treasure here is the DVD however. Director Murray Lerner is now responsible for four of the best movies about the classic era of rock (Festival, The Who At The Isle of Wight, Message To Love and now this Leonard Cohen film). He seems to have had a knack for being at the right place and capturing the underlying emotional subtext of events. For instance, in Festival, he really gets to the core of the controversy about Dylan going electric, and there exists no better footage of The Who in their prime than that in Lerner’s movie.

In the Cohen film, the back-story is that the festival itself was something of a battleground. Throughout the five days of the festival a large portion of the 600,000 people present were crashing gates, protesting “the man,” booing artists off stage, starting fires, and generally making an English spectacle of themselves. There are interviews included with Kris Kristofferson (who was booed off stage) and Joan Baez, who discuss what a bummer the proceedings were. This is all in contrast to the miracle that was Leonard Cohen’s set. Coming on stage at 4 a.m. on the final night he literally mesmerized the audience with his hypnotic, beatific presence and beautiful music. Watching him work his magic over this toughest of audiences is really quite extraordinary. It is truly through the power of his personality and the greatness of his art that he wins them over. It was the only point in the weekend where the crowd actually shut up and appreciated the music. This film is an essential piece of the puzzle to both understanding the mixed bag that was the festival scene in the late 60’s and early 70’s, but also it offers some of the most compelling evidence of Leonard Cohen’s lasting greatness.

--Paul Epstein
We are so small between the stars, so large against the sky
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Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Postby Hal E. Lujah » Fri Oct 30, 2009 11:46 pm

Is it just me, or do others doubt that this is the ONLY footage taken? I mean, I saw one vignette of the 600000 crowd, which is extremely unlikely, and they blew the footage of SASB? And they used footage that did not belong to songs, but left the SASB chorus out and did not use substitute footage or stills?! While I appreciate the DVD, I find it hard not to deplore the desecration involved, nor can I believe that this is all the video taken; it just isn't. If we are going to talk about a festival which took place forty years ago, which is incredible if you think about it, then these issues are relevant, in that context. Just don't screw up a great thing, is all I am trying to say.
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Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Postby elcord » Sat Oct 31, 2009 12:45 am

Having been one of the voices lamenting the editing of Sing Another Song Boys, I do want to balance that with a real bouquet for the way Tonight Will Be Fine is done. This song seems to have been captured perfectly. We get a lot more camera angles than in other songs and appropriate edits that capture all the myriad of fine moments, such as Leonard calling Charlie Daniels up to the mike and then gesturing with with his body for him to come closer to the mike. Or, seeing Bob Johnston saying 'giddy-up' (I think) just off mike (I always used to wait for that on Live Songs and wondered who said it). The curious thing is that this song seems so well captured with enough cameras and angles to make such a fine edit, yet other pieces seem limited in their visual possibilities. I must say it would be very interesting to have a 'making of the film' document on this, to know what the limitations Murray Lerner was working with and how he approached the task. Perhaps that will come.

On another matter, there is a review in today's Australian newspaper
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/st ... 77,00.html
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Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Postby LisaLCFan » Sat Oct 31, 2009 12:58 am

Regarding Leonard's delightful "hand-flute" playing (for lack of a better word) on One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong: Last night I was listening to the studio version of Tonight Will Be Fine, and I noticed that there is that same sound (at the end, when he also whistles in the standard way), which I always took to be either he or someone playing a recorder or some kind of flute, but now, I assume that Leonard was whistling into his hands like he did at IOW. That's pretty cool! Does anybody know if he's done that anywhere else?
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Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Postby elcord » Sat Oct 31, 2009 1:26 am

If you listen to the end of the version of Tonight Will Be Fine on Songs from a Room you can hear him whistling and playing hands.
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Hal E. Lujah
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Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Postby Hal E. Lujah » Sat Oct 31, 2009 2:52 am

Does he whistle into his hands, or does he blow into his hands, which produce the whistle?

You know what I find most odd? I just read the liner notes and it says that "The major modern poets-Yeats, Pound, TS Elilot and espcially Garcia Lorca-had fruitlessly attempted using music to bring poetry to the masses, to not avail. Cohen....was able to reach that holy grail."(Murray Lerner)
Maybe I missed it, but what did Yeats play and what was his band called? Did Pound play the violin and tour with Dylan? Is he trying to say that they tried to write melodically, in some sense, or did he actually say that they used music to bring poetry to the masses? Does he mean that they played background music as they read their poems, which seems likely, or does he mean they wrote music for their poems? I am not following this, and Murray is already on thin ice with me as it is for butchering Sing Another Song, but don't get me started on that...
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Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Postby Andrew (Darby) » Sun Nov 01, 2009 7:20 am

Here's a mediocre (3.5 stars in print version) review of the the IOW recording package, from our Weekend Australian Review mag:

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/st ... 77,00.html

ROCK
Leonard Cohen Live at the Isle of Wight 1970
Leonard Cohen
Sony
IT'S four in the morning and the previous few days haven't gone so well at the third Isle of Wight music festival. About 600,000 people, maybe more, have come to hear the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Supertramp, the Doors, the Who, Jethro Tull ... Many haven't bought a ticket and there is more than a little unrest, to put it mildly.

There are drugs, fights, fires, squalor. Kris Kristofferson, after telling the antagonistic crowd he'll finish his set unless someone brings out a gun, then mutters to a band member: "I think they're going to shoot us."

In the early, early morning of the final day Leonard Cohen appears. He is 35 and has a swag of hits under his belt. This is pre-Hallelujah but post-Suzanne, Bird on the Wire, Hey, That's No Way to Say Goodbye, The Stranger Song and Famous Blue Raincoat, all of which he sings that night, in a voice resembling the sound of barbed wire on rusty tin.

So you're not going for the beauty of Cohen's sound here; it's the compelling slice of history captured on this DVD and CD package that recommends it.

The way Cohen deals with the crowd is fascinating. As Kristofferson comments today, Cohen doesn't try to pander to the audience or win them over. In fact, he sounds downright gnostic in much of what he says, but in speaking very slowly and asking the crowd to light matches so he can see them, he defuses frustration in what Joan Baez, who is also there and tries to act as a peacemaker, understatedly calls a "slightly hazardous" situation.

Not surprisingly, there won't be another Isle of Wight music festival for 32 years. What a contrast to the concerts in Cohen's recent and wondrous world tour, captured on Live in London. How did that shambling, off-key troubadour develop into this ultra-sophisticated, courtly, charismatic elder statesman with "the gift of a golden voice"? How times change.

There is, disappointingly, little more than an hour of film and some dodgy sound, and as filmmaker Murray Lerner had access to present-day interviews with Kristofferson, Baez and Judy Collins, why do we see so little of them? For Cohen completists, however, Live at the Isle of Wight 1970 is a must.
Deborah Jones

* * *
Cheers,
Andrew :)
'I cannot give the reasons
I only sing the tunes
The sadness of the seasons
The madness of the moons'
~ Mervyn Peake ~
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Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Postby Hal E. Lujah » Sun Nov 01, 2009 5:34 pm

Yeah, the review is a bit dim-witted. I have read such greater reviews, such as of the concerts. Some are so well-written that they show new aspect of Cohen to me, and I learn a few new words, or rarely used ones for me. But, for a Cohen fan, that single lapse, understated, ruins the entire spirit for me. but, OK, we have it on CD though, and I guess this can't resolve it. I think Jarkko was deceived, great as he is, into thinking that all video footage was used. but, I have said this already. To me, the outstanding question is how such a niche-audience, folkie from Canada, so obscure back then, can blossom into one the largest acts in touring at age 75. How could he keep up artistically, when Collins, Baez, Mitchel, Young, could not? For a guy who never had a hit, never appealed to the crowd; how did he last for decades, and command such respect, yet, almost never had been mentioned (until recently), as if he did not exist at all?
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Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Postby lightasabreeze » Sun Nov 01, 2009 7:06 pm

I have watched and listened to the DVD and CD a couple of times and I really love 'Tonight Will be Fine'. Everything is nostalgia, and after getting used to Leonard as he is now, it is so good to see and hear the 'old Leonard' as well in concert. What a career he has had, and still having.
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Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Postby LisaLCFan » Mon Nov 02, 2009 1:35 am

Hal E. Lujah wrote:To me, the outstanding question is how such a niche-audience, folkie from Canada, so obscure back then, can blossom into one the largest acts in touring at age 75. How could he keep up artistically, when Collins, Baez, Mitchel, Young, could not? For a guy who never had a hit, never appealed to the crowd; how did he last for decades, and command such respect, yet, almost never had been mentioned (until recently), as if he did not exist at all?
Here's one possible answer to your question: because Leonard Cohen has written some of the best damn songs ever! And in today's world, when we seem to be inundated with so much utter crap that passes for "music" and "entertainment," suddenly the brilliance and beauty of Leonard's timeless artistry shines through like a million-kilowatt beacon that is impossible to ignore, and he is finally noticed by larger numbers of people.

Just a thought.

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