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CONCERT REPORT: London, O2 Arena, November 13-14

Posted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 4:59 am
by Nowaytosay
Just returned from the O2 Arena on London Thursday 13 November 2008. A great way to spend 3 hours.
Leonard jogged on and delivered a superb performance. Good to see him enjoying it and being so humble at the applause. The band provided fabulous support (which allowed him a few well-earned rests) - so good he introduced them twice!
He made a point of skipping on and off stage for the intervals in a way that deliberately belied his age.
It was a slight shame that Sharon looked a bit grumpy - must have been the lighting. However when she was introduced as his collaberator she beamed :D in a way that lit up the whole arena.
The sound was understated, which was good, but the O2 is full of munchers and yakkers - which is a shame.
First set
1. Dance me to the end of love
2. The Future
3. Ain't no cure for love
4. Bird on the wire
5. Everybody knows
6. In my secret life
7. Who by fire
8. Hey, that's no way to say good bye
9. That don’t make it junk
10. Anthem

Second set
11. Tower of song
12. Suzanne
13. Gypsy wife
14. The partisan
15. Boogie street
16. Hallelujah
17. I'm your man
18. A thousand kisses
19. Take this waltz

Encore 1
20. So long, Marianne
21. First we take Manhattan

Encore 2
22. Famous blue raincoat
23. If it be your will
24.Democracy
25 I tried to leave you

Get to see him by any means necessary, you won't regret it.

O2 tonight

Posted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 9:19 am
by jhiggins
Amazing! Saw Mr Cohen at Glasto, thought it might be 'not quite as special' at such a big corporate venue... BUT it was just as special.
I never understood girls fainting at gigs... but when he came back and did Famous Blue Raincoat I nearly did! I was more ecstatic than I can remember, shaking, my hands so hot and knowing I was actually fulfilling a long term dream.

I Love life when I watch L.C. (despite crying alot!)

What did you guys make of it?

Jodie, x x x

Re: O2 Arena London Thursday 13 November 2008 - A Great 3 Hours

Posted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 1:46 pm
by catswhiskers
Hi everyone
Hope you all enjoyed the O2.I wasn't there--saw him in Lisbon.and now waiting to see him again in Brighton--can't wait. I have a question to ask--what merchantise was for sale??? T-shirts?--I desperately want a "hoodie"--were they for sale at the O2? In ALL sizes? and how much? Must make certain I have enough English cash on me--doubt if they will accept euros!!!!
Thank you

Re: O2 Arena London Thursday 13 November 2008 - A Great 3 Hours

Posted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 2:21 pm
by Nowaytosay
Tour merchandise included 'zipped sweatshirts' at £40(!) not sure if they were hoodies. The attached link shows the kind of stuff:
http://www.leonardcohenfiles.com/tour2008-2.html
Have a great time in Brighton.

Re: O2 Arena London Thursday 13 November 2008 - A Great 3 Hours

Posted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 2:41 pm
by wakeupmartin
Firstly, a big THANK YOU JARKKO for arranging great seats for Forum members: back of Block A2, on the floor, near the stage - wonderful! Twice as close as when I was at the O2 in July.

What a great gig!
I am astounded that Leonard (and the band) can still manage to pull off these 3 hour masterpieces night after night.
He started about 15minutes late, and there seemed to be less chat in between songs, but I'm not complaining!

As in July, the audience seemed to loosen up and come alive (in an English sort of way) during "Hallelujah". I guess everyone has their own way of enjoying Leonard, but I couldn't help noticing how few heads were swaying and how little people were singing along. The audience were polite, and pleasant, and generally well behaved, but to me these songs, especially choruses like "Hallelujah", are meant to be sung by the masses! I noticed a few people quietly mouthing the words. Again, I do believe this is more an English thing. I bet the audiences in Dublin, Scotland, Wales and the continent (esp. eastern Europe) were much more alive and involved.

An observation: Sitting so near the front I had to keep turning around just to remind myself that I wasn't in a village hall. In July (where I was sitting on raised side seats about half way back from the stage, looking diagonally at the stage from a height) I had a greater sense of the sheer mass of people - it really felt like Leonard had turned a soulless arena into a giant temple with 20,000 pilgrims, and songs like "who by fire" seemed to have a much more profound significance - as if the prophet Leonard was kindly reminding us, humanity, of our own shared immortality. Still, last night there was something profound and spiritual going on, much more than just a great musical performance.

The band was superb. Javier Mas especially I thought. I'm no expert, but it felt like I was hearing a true virtuoso - like two people playing one instrument- such passion, and intensity, and yet at ease and smiling. The entire band had a lot of passion. Great to hear Sharon Robinson sing all of Boogie Street. The Webb Sisters sounded great; even acrobatics in "The Future"!!! Also, they are both so beautiful and sexy (vocally and visually), which makes for the perfect balance to Leonard's own old-crooner-sexiness. "If it be your Will" again was just sublime. "Democracy" has been moved to later in the show. I guess at the moment it has an added significance. 'Democracy is coming to the U.S.A' got a real good cheer from the crowd. Delighted to hear songs he didn't play in July - "Famous Blue Raincoat" and "The Partisan". The latter had such a good groove. I guess I'll have to wait for the DVD to enjoy "Avalanche". :)

Finally I'd just like to add is that despite the O2 having a bit of a soulless-shopping-mall feel to it, I found the staff friendly and helpful. Due to poor health I need to rest a lot. I phoned the arena a couple of days earlier and the medical staff were extremely accommodating and even allowed me to have a bed to lie down and rest on to regain some strength after my journey before the performance! This really made a difference to my evening, and even allowed me to boogie! I felt very well looked after.

A great evening.
Thank you again Jarkko
Thank you Leonard
Thank you Teachers
Thank you everyone.
Martin

Re: O2 Arena London Thursday 13 November 2008 - A Great 3 Hours

Posted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 3:30 pm
by Nowaytosay
Agree with the reticence of the British. Probably even more so down in the expensive seats. How about the forum organising /prompting an audience singalong of Hallelujah by the crowd at the end of the song? It felt like we all wanted to do it but no-one had the voice to start it up. It would make the 'young guy' very happy! :D

Re: O2 Arena London Thursday 13 November 2008 - A Great 3 Hours

Posted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 3:53 pm
by Melvyn
I really can't understand these complaints about people not joining in the singing. I went to the Bournemouth concert, it was marvellous, outstanding, but I would have been really annoyed if I had been unable to hear the man because of everyone else singing along!

Regards.

Re: O2 Arena London Thursday 13 November 2008 - A Great 3 Hours

Posted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 4:12 pm
by Paula
I agree with you Melvyn if I wanted karaoke I would go to the pub.

I like some of the audience participation e.g. “then we take Berlin” but I have come to hear Leonard not some bloke from Essex.

I blame Princess Diana for all this touchy feely get in touch with your emotions. British audiences are more subdued and I prefer that. And I am a grumpy old woman which doesn't help. :lol:

Re: O2 Arena London Thursday 13 November 2008 - A Great 3 Hours

Posted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 4:30 pm
by Nowaytosay
You miss the point. When Hallelujah was performed last night there was a ripple through the arena which was a joy to behold. At the end of the song (importantly at the end and not during) the moment was left hanging in the air - that would be the time for audience participation.
It only struck me at the time, I would be the last person to sing over the top of the man himself!

Re: O2 tonight

Posted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 4:33 pm
by Helen Sarah
Also was there last night - he didn't finish until about 11.15pm so a full 3 hours minus a short interval - all this at 75 years of age!

I thought he was a bit subdued in the first half but really exploded into life later and sang with an amazing amount of passion (esp Halleluyah) After a while I forgot about the other 15,000 or whatever people and it was like he was singing just to me.
I agree with all you say and more...... and the musicians and vocalists were astonishing. Are they his regular crew?

Just a note - was my first visit to O2 and was seated at ground level - will try to sit in the raked seating next time as I really couldn't see the stage.

Re: O2 Arena London Thursday 13 November 2008 - A Great 3 Hours

Posted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 4:34 pm
by richardrj
Nowaytosay wrote:At the end of the song (importantly at the end and not during) the moment was left hanging in the air - that would be the time for audience participation.
Oh dear me no. If the moment is left hanging in the air at the end of such a perfect and magical song, that is a time for quiet contemplation of the moment and not for some boorish singalong. Audience participation is the work of the devil.

Re: O2 Arena London Thursday 13 November 2008 - A Great 3 Hours

Posted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 5:32 pm
by catswhiskers
Hi again
thanks so much to Nowaytosay--I shall get my zipped sweatshirt if it kills me!! Santa is coming early this year!
May I just add a comment on audience participation---In Lisbon (which was surely the best evening of my life) we ALL sang along to"So long,Marianne"--at the tops of our voices.Afterwards Leonard said to us "we all sing so sweetly"---He was happy--not annoyed--we were all so HAPPY!!!!

Re: London O2 Arena, November 13 - 14, 2008

Posted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 5:53 pm
by hogan
English this and English that! Nothing like stereotyping 50 million people. Still I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Re: London O2 Arena, November 13 - 14, 2008

Posted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 5:58 pm
by imyourwoman
Yes I have to agree with Hogan, some 'English' people enjoy participating in the moment - and this doesn't have to be disruptive to others (not to mention of diabolical intent!) I must admit, compared to some of the concerts earlier on in the tour, I found the atmosphere last night a bit staid. That said the performance was superb.

Re: London O2 Arena, November 13 - 14, 2008

Posted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 6:13 pm
by Paula
OK Hogan I will speak purely from my perspective as a dyed in the wool misery guts.

It is not the X Factor and I think Leonard is well aware of cultural differences between countries and audience reaction. So whilst obviously there will be people who like to participate vocally I would hazard a guess they are in the minority and piss more people off than they realise.

But then again I have argued about this before I am just being belligerent.