CONCERT REPORT: Brisbane, February 3

New Zealand and Australia (January 20 - February 10, 2009). Concert reports, set lists, photos, media coverage, multimedia links, recollections...
paavali
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Re: Brisbane, Feb 3

Postby paavali » Fri Feb 06, 2009 3:16 pm

Class - Leonard skipping on stage in suit & fedora!
Enchanting - those Webb sisters with their sublime harmonies & exquisite style
Grace - Sharon Robinson - her voice, her simple and yet sensual presence
Skill - Dino,Javier and all the musicians - elegant, tasteful, measured...

But the songs. These songs that were crafted over months and years. These heartfelt songs that move you and get inside the very core of you. These songs that are rearely matched or even approached. Songs that - despite all this - were brought to life in a way that I don't think any of us here ever thought possible...

Friends - we know what we have seen and will never ever forget.......

Thank you LC
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Andrew (Darby)
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Re: Brisbane, Feb 3

Postby Andrew (Darby) » Fri Feb 06, 2009 6:47 pm

My Brisbane Experience (or “Sharing the Joy in Home Territory”):

I have to start my Brisbane reflections by providing some context: this city of one million people (and growing rapidly) is the capital of Queensland and is where I lived for many years and completed my university degree. It is also a place I still frequent for work, professional development and entertainment purposes, so it constitutes some sort of “home territory” for me. However, I must be honest and say that I had some mixed feelings about this Brisbane concert, as I (and many other locals) don’t think much of the Brisbane Entertainment Centre, which is an aircraft-hangar-like venue that is quite soulless in architectural plus decor terms and far from intimate. :(

Not withstanding this, I was happy about the fact that I would know quite a number of people there, partly because of my Toowoomba LC Birthday Events (held annually for 15 consecutive years) and the mailing list related to that. For starters, I knew there was a Toowoomba contingent of at least 20 people and then quite a few other friends, work colleagues and other acquaintances from Brisbane and other parts of south east Queensland! 8) As a very big Leonard fan, I couldn’t wait to share the joy of one of his magnificent moving concerts with these people in my life from the last 20 plus years, many of whom had never witnessed a Cohen concert! Before the concert I connected with quite a few of them, as well as some Cohenites from interstate and overseas, so there was quite a heightened sense of excited anticipation by the time I made my way in to be seated.

When I found my seat, I was happy to put the negative aspect of the venue behind me and get into enjoying Paul Kelly’s support performance, whilst at the same time being relieved that there were the large projection screens on either side of the stage, making my somewhat distant silver ticket seat more tolerable. Demographically, the audience at this concert felt a bit older than the Hunter Valley one, with perhaps 80-85% being in the older “baby boomer” age bracket and the rest being younger ones. The atmosphere felt good from the outset and I was reassured to hear no major acoustic problems when Paul Kelly was performing his relaxed enjoyable set.

When the band and then Leonard came out right on time, the place genteelly erupted and we were off and running! ;-) What I concentrated on in this concert (as opposed to the Bimbadgen one) was every aspect of the performances and performers, particularly Leonard himself. I really focused on Leonard’s wonderfully expressive face, hand and body movements, whilst at the same time being captivated by his gorgeous voice and hypnotic diction. Enhancing the whole performance were Sharon Robinson and the Webb sisters’ vocals, which unequivocally were a heavenly complement to Leonard’s voice. :D

The magnificent music also transported me, so in this latter respect I also focused on the top notch musicians, especially when they were featured in solos or otherwise stood out from their colleagues (e.g. Javier Mas & Dino Soldo). To sum up the musicality, this concert represented the “total package” of professional musicianship and I couldn’t really fault the sound production either, though I’m by no means the best judge of that aspect. It’s difficult to highlight performances from this night, as they were all faultlessly fantastic, but I was particularly moved by: Bird on the Wire, Hey That’s No Way, Sisters Of Mercy, Anthem, So Long Marianne, Hallelujah, Famous Blue Raincoat, Leonard's riveting recitation of One Thousand Kisses Deep and the Webb sisters’ awe-inspiring If It Be Your Will. 8)

In terms of unique aspects of the night, two things seem to stand out for me that I can’t recall Leonard having mentioned before (at least, not at the four previous concerts I attended in 08/09). Firstly, there was Leonard’s frank explanation of the tour in terms of his unexpected large financial loss; and secondly, was his little joke concerning his mother’s warning to him about those people in New York “who are not like us” and her being right about that! :lol: Another nice little moment occurred when spontaneous Aussie larrikin behaviour was manifest by a man who interrupted Leonard’s statement about not knowing when he would be back this way, by yelling out from some distance “come back next year Leonard”, forcing a pause and smile of appreciation from our man. :D

To sum up, this concert was a very rewarding one for me in terms of getting into every aspect of the highly skilful and soulful performances, as well as the unbridled pleasure for me of sharing this wonderful experience with many folk I know. :D It’s also sweet for me to know, though I would never rub it in, that some friends/acquaintances who regarded me as a bit of an eccentric obsessed Cohen stalker (even though several of my European friends have been to twice as many concerts as me), might now have a newborn appreciation of this truly amazing performer and delightful human being as well. This one concert will do more than any of my past somewhat futile verbal efforts, to convince the waverers amongst them of his merit as a performer who transcends boundaries (e.g. musical styles, age groups) like no other, by speaking to every “open-hearted” one of us in a language that touches us to the core. It will surely enable Leonard to be viewed in this far more positive light (that counters the “wrist slashing” reputation people have joked about over the years) and be given the belated acknowledgement and overdue accolades he more broadly deserves! 8)

Cheers
Andrew :)
'I cannot give the reasons
I only sing the tunes
The sadness of the seasons
The madness of the moons'
~ Mervyn Peake ~
dce
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Location: Adelaide, South Australia

Re: Brisbane, Feb 3

Postby dce » Sat Feb 07, 2009 1:08 pm

Shockvalue wrote:
NickShears wrote:I was impresed by Paul Kelly and his son Daniel, who seemed a very fitting opening act, and whom Leonard mentioned at the end, saying it had been "an honour to share the stage with the very fine Paul Kelly".
Just a correction - Dan Kelly is Paul's nephew.
As I've said in a previous post, if we had to have a support there is no one better thal Paul Kelly. Did he play the full 45 min "Vineyard set" in Brisbane? He split the set over 2 nights in Sydney as he had 25-30 mins in each concert.
Paul and Dan Kelly don't really seem to have a standard set for their performances on this tour -- I've seen them six times, and every time it's been a completely different set list: it just seems like they play a selection from a fairly large 'bag' of rehearsed songs. The winery shows had longer Kelly sets, about 45 mins, but as others have noted the stadium show supports have been only about 30 mins.


dce
(For most of November 2010, I followed Leonard and the band as they toured around Australia and New Zealand. You can read about my wanderings on the blog I created to collect them all in one place: http://lcdownunder2010.wordpress.com/)
dce
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Re: Brisbane, Feb 3

Postby dce » Sat Feb 07, 2009 1:29 pm

I guess it's a few days since LC played in Brisbane, but I've only just got home (fresh off a plane), so I'll post up my notes from that night anyway.

The LC show at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre was yet another very accomplished performance, delivered in spite of a few technical difficulties. I think the measure of the professionalism of the band is that few if any audience would have noticed these equipment glitches. Like previous stadium shows, the audience reaction to the performance was a little more restrained (dare I say, civilized) compared to the winery shows ... but clearly the crowd were extremely enthusiastic in their responses to the entire set. Unusually, the front centre part of the crowd seemed one of the quieter areas during this show.

Here are some of the many aspects of this performance that were special and unique (from my perspective at least):

1. Before he played Tower Of Song, LC came out and gave a little speech to the audience, as others have mentioned. Here's the full transcription of his words: "Thanks so much for staying ... and on a school night ... You know, I've had a few difficulties in my own personal life which caused me to be wiped out financially. Which caused me to go back on the road." Huge applause, to which LC replied: "I don't recomment bankruptcy as a spiritual discipline. You know, when I first left Montreal, when I was very young. When I was going to New York to penetrate show business, my mother said to me 'You be careful of those people, Leonard, they're not like us.' And you know, she was right."

2. At the beginning of I'm Your Man, Dino's 'sax' intro sounded very odd. This is played on a MIDI Wind Controller (an electronic instrument which controls a synthesizer) rather than a real saxophone ... and Dino seemed to spend a great deal of time throughout the song playing with buttons on the controller trying to remedy the problem. One of the roadies even put a second controller up on the little table next to him. He also tapped Javier on the shoulder and seemed to try doing something with his mic. It seemed as though some of the keys on the controller (the high notes) were working ok, but not so much the others. Dino seemed to adapt several of his solos in later songs to be mainly trills and arpeggios played only on these higher notes. The issue seemed to persist for the remainder of the second set, but seemed to be fixed in First We Take Manhattan. Through this Dino looked a bit disturbed, but he still pulled off a great performance -- the marks of a true professional!

3. Speaking of the musical performances, I thought that the band was particularly tight for the first half of the Brisbane show, with some excellent solos from everyone.

4. There were a few other minor technical glitches toward the end, mainly to do with sound levels etc

5. Hallelujah: "I didn't come all this way to Queensland to fool you"

6. Whither Thou Goest: in the monologue at the end, LC said "I don't when we'll pass this way again" to which someone in the crowd very loudly shouted "Next Year!" to which LC gave a big grin.


dce (temporarily back home)
(For most of November 2010, I followed Leonard and the band as they toured around Australia and New Zealand. You can read about my wanderings on the blog I created to collect them all in one place: http://lcdownunder2010.wordpress.com/)
dce
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Location: Adelaide, South Australia

Re: Brisbane, Feb 3

Postby dce » Sat Feb 07, 2009 3:41 pm

A few more things I forgot:

7. The Brisbane rendition of I Tried To Leave You *did* include the second verse, which had been omitted on the previous three performances.

8. At the beginning of Hey, That's No Way ... a woman from the crowd yelled out "I love you, Leonard" ... and a moment later a different woman screamed the same thing. The first woman then yelled "I love you MORE, Leonard." :-)

9. Minor note: Charley Webb was sans-fedora for the entire first set, and most of the rest of the show ...


dce
(For most of November 2010, I followed Leonard and the band as they toured around Australia and New Zealand. You can read about my wanderings on the blog I created to collect them all in one place: http://lcdownunder2010.wordpress.com/)
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Joe Way
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Re: Brisbane, Feb 3

Postby Joe Way » Sat Feb 07, 2009 6:23 pm

Hi Andrew,

Thanks so much for your report, I enjoyed reading it.
It’s also sweet for me to know, though I would never rub it in, that some friends/acquaintances who regarded me as a bit of an eccentric obsessed Cohen stalker (even though several of my European friends have been to twice as many concerts as me), might now have a newborn appreciation of this truly amazing performer and delightful human being as well. This one concert will do more than any of my past somewhat futile verbal efforts, to convince the waverers amongst them of his merit as a performer who transcends boundaries (e.g. musical styles, age groups) like no other, by speaking to every “open-hearted” one of us in a language that touches us to the core. It will surely enable Leonard to be viewed in this far more positive light (that counters the “wrist slashing” reputation people have joked about over the years) and be given the belated acknowledgement and overdue accolades he more broadly deserves! 8)
I know exactly what you mean and have the same urges to get some of my more sceptical friends and relatives to a concert. I hope that his U. S. tour affords us this opportunity.

DCE,

The little details that you are providing are very interesting. Thank you.

Joe
"Say a prayer for the cowboy..."
RickD
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Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2009 4:02 pm

Re: Brisbane, Feb 3

Postby RickD » Sun Feb 08, 2009 1:37 am

Unusually, the front centre part of the crowd seemed one of the quieter areas during this show.
I've been meaning to ask about that - did anyone here get in the first few rows?

I was on as tickets went on sale and got great seats in about the tenth row. It seemed the "diehards" were from about the 6th or 7th row back. Who were the people in the first few rows?

Still looking for a couple of tickets to fly down to Melbourne. ;-)
Trenton J
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Re: Brisbane, Feb 3

Postby Trenton J » Sun Feb 08, 2009 2:18 am

I daresay the first few rows were reserved for friends of the promoters and extended family?

Isn't that how it works...?

For sure, I tried to get front row seats for this concert, make that experience, and ended up overlooking from the port side of the cavernous BEC.

Best,

Trenton
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st theresa
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Location: Edmonton Alberta

Re: Brisbane, Feb 3

Postby st theresa » Sun Feb 08, 2009 3:36 am

Thanks Nick for your noticing the word woes in the title--now my comment in an earlier remark does not look quite so inane.
paavali
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Re: Brisbane, Feb 3

Postby paavali » Sun Feb 08, 2009 3:54 am

I was 2nd row from the front in the centre. No special connections or anything - I just got on the pre-sale as soon as it opened. It was just the one ticket which I think must give you a much better chance. It was the same for the lady next to me - she also bought in the pre-sale and just the one ticket.

As for us being quiet - I don't know - maybe we were just mesmerized:) There is no doubting our 'diehardness' though I can assure you...

cheers!
Paul
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Andrew (Darby)
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Re: Brisbane, Feb 3

Postby Andrew (Darby) » Sun Feb 08, 2009 4:32 am

Joe Way wrote:Hi Andrew,

Thanks so much for your report, I enjoyed reading it.
It’s also sweet for me to know, though I would never rub it in, that some friends/acquaintances who regarded me as a bit of an eccentric obsessed Cohen stalker (even though several of my European friends have been to twice as many concerts as me), might now have a newborn appreciation of this truly amazing performer and delightful human being as well. This one concert will do more than any of my past somewhat futile verbal efforts, to convince the waverers amongst them of his merit as a performer who transcends boundaries (e.g. musical styles, age groups) like no other, by speaking to every “open-hearted” one of us in a language that touches us to the core. It will surely enable Leonard to be viewed in this far more positive light (that counters the “wrist slashing” reputation people have joked about over the years) and be given the belated acknowledgement and overdue accolades he more broadly deserves! 8)
I know exactly what you mean and have the same urges to get some of my more sceptical friends and relatives to a concert. I hope that his U. S. tour affords us this opportunity.

Joe
Joe, thank you for your kind comments. :D Interestingly, since posting this review of the concert experience for me, I've spoken with two Toowoomba people who had more negative or underwhelming experiences, so I now can't assume that seeing a concert in itself will necessarily be either a rapturous experience or make everyone a new-born devotee! :( One of these people (a friend) was of the opinion that there was not enough musical variation across the whole concert, so that it felt the same from one song to the next (with not enough interesting arrangements and featuring of the musicians individual talents). I find it hard to relate to this, except maybe in terms of the concert having the same emotional tone throughout. Anyway, this assessment has left me rather dismayed and wondering about the different "head spaces" people occupy - I guess I just have to be philosophical about it. ;-)

The second person (more of an acquaintance) really enjoyed the show from a performance perspective, but was involved in an unpleasant scene, where somebody nearby her was sobbing so loudly and incessantly (though not necessarily because of Cohen's performance) that she (and partner) were ejected by security because she was disrupting the enjoyment of those around her! :? I find that very dismaying as well and wonder if there was not some way somebody could have intervened to assist that woman to compose herself sufficiently to return to the concert. :neutral: This latter experience also highlights for me the "luck of the draw" in terms of where one ends up sitting in a show (and with whom) - you cannot predict what human dynamics might unfold there! ;-)

Having introduced this gloomy note, I do hope that you won't have to face any of this in your upcoming concert/s! :D

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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Andrew (Darby)
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Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Brisbane, Feb 3

Postby Andrew (Darby) » Sun Feb 08, 2009 5:03 am

On a brighter note, here's a nice review from the Courier Mail :D :
Courier Mail article_050209.jpg
Cheers
Andrew :)
'I cannot give the reasons
I only sing the tunes
The sadness of the seasons
The madness of the moons'
~ Mervyn Peake ~
NickShears
Posts: 67
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2008 6:18 am
Location: Brisbane, Australia

Re: Brisbane, Feb 3

Postby NickShears » Mon Feb 09, 2009 7:06 am

Hi Andrew, thanks for your excellent and interesting report. Sorry I didn't get to the meetup before the show, or find you afterwards. Glad you obviously enjoyed the show as much as I did. And I can't understand how any of your friends could fail to have been converted by their attendance. See you in September, when I DO hope to get to your Toowoomba LC birthday event again.
Nick,
London 1979, London 1983, London 1988, Brisbane 2009
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LadyLilley
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Re: Brisbane, Feb 3

Postby LadyLilley » Mon Feb 09, 2009 12:34 pm

Thank you so much Andrew and dce for your postings. You have both brought back wonderful memories of that memorable
night in Auckland when a dream was made real.

Blessings to you both,

Lilley-Marlene
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Andrew (Darby)
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Re: Brisbane, Feb 3

Postby Andrew (Darby) » Mon Feb 09, 2009 3:54 pm

Nick, I'm still quite perplexed about my friend's reaction to the concert and what made it worse was when I asked the said person if they had had read Noel Mengel's Courier Mail review, they snapped back that they hadn't! :( It was like a defensive emotional response, because they perceived that they were clearly part of a minority view - oh well, such is life! ;-)

Lilley-Marlene, thank you for your appreciative feedback. 8)

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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