CONCERT REPORTS: Oakland, April 13, 14 and 15

USA and Canada (April 1 - June 4, 2009). Special concert for fans in NYC (February 19). Concert reports, set lists, photos, media coverage, multimedia links, recollections...
User avatar
DrHGuy
Posts: 311
Joined: Fri Dec 28, 2007 1:37 pm
Contact:

Re: CONCERT REPORTS: Oakland, April 13, 14 & 15

Postby DrHGuy » Fri Apr 17, 2009 6:07 am

Salon.com has a review of the April 13, 2009 Oakland concert online at http://www.salon.com/ent/music/feature/ ... print.html. It's an interesting perspective, placing this show in the context of past tours and focusing not only on the performance but also on the notion of Cohen dealing with old age without self-delusion, false bravado, or fearfulness. As the writer, Gary Kamiya, points out, "For those of us still hiding from the revenges planned by the whirligig of time, it can be hard to look."
Leonard Cohen's perfect offering
The great songwriter is old now. But as closing time approaches, his poetic fire burns brighter than ever.

By Gary Kamiya Apr. 17, 2009

For the people fortunate enough to see Leonard Cohen on his current national tour, as I did Monday night at Oakland, Calif.'s Paramount Theater, the world is a bigger, deeper, older, more bitter and radiant place. Every Cohen performance is an epic event. And in his three-hour-plus performance, part of his first tour in 15 years, the great songwriter, poet and novelist once again used his powerful body of work to create, for one night, a theater of his life, a public confession so intimate, complex, combative and profound that it felt as much like prayer as performance. At the end of the evening, as the audience floated out, still transported to whatever unknown inner place his words and music had carried them, you could almost feel a palpable sense of collective gratitude that such artistry still exists in a weary world -- that Leonard Cohen is still around.

Forty years. Like many members of the graying but impressively age-varied audience, that's how long I've been listening to Cohen. That fact in itself gave the evening a sense of momentousness, even fatality. It was a shock when Cohen strolled out onto the stage, still hip, still the epitome of a certain kind of sexy Euro-Canadian-Buddhist intellectual style, but now an old man. What happened to that handsome young blade who blasted onto the scene with the ice-cold "The Stranger Song" and the miraculously gentle "Sisters of Mercy"? The golden boy whose romantic life was captured in envy-producing photos in the first songbook I ever bought, the Leonard Cohen Songbook, hanging out with a mysterious blond woman on a Greek island and being quoted as asking, at a post-performance party at the Berkeley Marriott, "Hey, this is California -- where are the 13-year-old girls?" He got old, and we got old with him. If Leonard Cohen, the slashing youth who threw down the gauntlet to himself and us with the terrifying album "Songs of Love and Hate," who wrote the brilliantly audacious novel "Beautiful Losers," whose obsession with love and sex and betrayal and forgiveness and God and women, always women, served as a disquieting soundtrack for so many of our romantic lives, can be 74 years old, then it's no use denying it -- we must all be on that same one-way train. You can't watch somebody you've been following for that long without seeing yourself. The window is also a mirror.

For those of us still hiding from the revenges planned by the whirligig of time, it can be hard to look. This is the fourth or fifth time I've seen Cohen perform. The first time was sometime in the 1970s -- it's been so long I don't remember exactly. The last was on his mid-'90s tour, during the remarkable career renaissance spurred by his superb 1988 album, "I'm Your Man." In a stock line he uses in every show, but which surely brings down the house every time, Cohen noted that the last time he performed was 14 or 15 years ago, then deadpanned, "I was 60 years old. Just a crazy kid with a dream." In those 14 years, Cohen went from being a brilliantly sardonic middle-aged man ("Now my friends are gone and my hair is gray/ I ache in the places where I used to play") to a brilliantly sardonic old man. In his black suit and fedora, he looks like a cross between an aging hipster and a retired Jewish haberdasher, with a little John Updike thrown in. It's a cool look, and Cohen is trim and spry (in a delightful touch, he skipped off the stage at end of each set), but there's no hiding the fact that the golden boy is gone and won't come back.

But, of course, Cohen knows this, and talks about it, and plays with it, and interrogates it. At one point in his second set, he said that he'd been working out, and slyly opened his suit jacket to reveal his (flat) stomach. "But it's too late," he said. And then, after a beat: "It's always been too late." Old age, like everything else for Cohen, is a curiosity to be investigated. It's inescapable, and yet in a certain sense it can be overcome. During his memorable version of "I'm Your Man," which like all of his unabashed love songs falls like a redemptive rain after the caustic romantic pessimism of much of his other work, he made one of his characteristic, intriguing tweaks to his lyrics: following the line, "If you want another kind of lover," he changed the original "I'll wear a mask for you" to "I'll wear an old man's mask for you." Cohen's point seemed to be that his old age is real, but it is also a mask, and that beneath it, the same youthful fire of passion and devotion burns. In fact, maybe it burns higher and hotter, as he gets closer to what he calls "closing time." It certainly felt like that Monday night.

Cohen undertook this tour for financial reasons after his former manager allegedly swindled $10 million from him, leaving him almost nothing. (Cohen was awarded $9 million by a Canadian court in a civil suit.) But he held nothing back, throwing himself wholeheartedly into his music. In his generosity and dignity, Cohen reminded me of another old man who lost everything, and who earned the nation's respect by going on a grueling around-the-world lecture tour to pay off his debts -- Mark Twain.

Cohen's shows on this tour seem to be almost identical, from the set lists down to his jokes and his introductions of the musicians. (Most of the material on his excellent new album, "Leonard Cohen Live in London," including his stage patter, is virtually identical to the Paramount show.) But that doesn't really matter. It's a flawless, beautifully conceived and realized show, and it doesn't require performative spontaneity. You're getting Leonard Cohen, still at the height of his powers (OK, I miss the five or six notes he lost on the top end of his baritone range two decades ago), and if he doesn't want to show the audience any more of himself than he has already revealed in some of the most naked songs ever written, that's his prerogative. He may say the same things at every show, but his words possess such gravitas and sincerity that they're like a simple suit of clothes. Why change them?

Besides, Cohen somehow manages to create the sense every time he performs that he is engaged in a life-or-death struggle. He famously once told an interviewer that he approaches a performance like a matador entering the ring, and has enigmatically called himself a "soldier" (his touring band was once called "the Army"). And that sense of inner struggle -- with the angel, the devil, or just himself -- was the skeleton beneath the skin of Monday's sold-out show.

Accompanied by his superb 10-piece band, Cohen opened with the haunting 1984 ballad "Dance Me to the End of Love," which he said was inspired by knowing that in certain death camps, the Germans forced a string quartet to play while their fellow prisoners were being killed and burned. Cohen has explored the theme of love as an all-consuming flame, both destructive and creative, from the outset of his career -- a painting of St. Bernadette in flames appears on the back cover of his first album -- and that tortured ambiguity flickered throughout the evening. "If he was fire, then she must be wood," Cohen sang in "Joan of Arc," but the old ladies' man himself has always been dry wood, burning up, consumed by the same flame, dying endlessly. Cohen is a battered philosopher of eros, and the beauty and horror of much of his poetry derives from his alternately exhausted and triumphant response to the demigod of sex.

But Cohen has turned outward more in recent decades. His second offering of the night was "The Future," perhaps his bleakest political song, with its Yeatsian vision of a dystopian world in which "things are going to slide in all directions ... I've seen the future, baby, it is murder." Then came the unabashed, down-on-his-knees love song "There Ain't No Cure for Love" from "I'm Your Man," followed by the classic "Bird on a Wire" from his second album, "Songs From a Room." As is his wont, Cohen made a small but key change to one of the lyrics. The original line goes "If I have been untrue/ I hope you know it was never to you." He changed it to "I thought a lover had to be some kind of liar," relentlessly erasing the sentimentality from his earlier work.

That implacable self-questioning was manifest in Cohen's intense onstage demeanor. As he sang, he would sometimes stand still, holding the microphone close, with eyes closed and a tortured expression, seeming to be searching for the meanings behind his own words, the lies behind the truth. Frequently he dropped to his knees, as if to implore his muse or honor his fellow musicians. Once or twice a wild surmise seemed to shoot through his eyes as he looked up over the crowd into the darkness, a look of nameless wonder.

Then came one of the evening's highlights, the gloriously mordant "Everybody Knows," with its perfect commingling of Cohen's political and sexual obsessions. ("Everybody knows the scene is dead, but there's gonna be a meter on your bed that will disclose what everybody knows.") On this tune, as throughout, the Barcelona-born string maestro Javier Mas, who plays 12-string guitar, oud and bandurria, stood out. One of the musical highlights was watching Cohen, playing his familiar fast arpeggios on guitar, intently leaning over and watching Mas take off on one of his virtuoso Middle Eastern-inflected runs.

Mention must also be made of the astonishingly fine trio of backing vocalists. Sharon Robinson, one of the three, is not really a "backing vocalist" -- she is a major and formidable talent in her own right who co-wrote the songs on Cohen's strong 2001 release "Ten New Songs" and produced the album. Her soulful, expressive voice was highlighted on her own "Boogie Street." The other two vocalists, Charlie and Hattie Webb, lived up to Cohen's description of them as "the sublime Webb sisters." Their voices are not only astonishingly pure in tone and true in pitch, but they blend perfectly. On "I Tried to Leave You," they sang a beautiful, complex two-part harmony unlike any I've ever heard before. Best of all, these three muses gave Cohen the opportunity to wander over to them and whisper, "Sing it, angels." A Leonard Cohen concert in which he does not speak that line to the beautiful women who invariably seem to be on stage with him is a fraud.

The long, rich show included some old standbys like his breakout song "Suzanne," with its transcendent vision of a disquieting Jesus who "sank beneath your wisdom like a stone," and "Chelsea Hotel," with its indelible image of Janis Joplin "giving me head on the unmade bed while the limousines wait in the street." But Cohen dipped more into his newer work, performing widely celebrated songs like "Hallelujah," "Tower of Song" and "Democracy." (It's funny to think of a 20-year-old song like "Tower of Song" as being "newer," but that's what happens when your career lasts for four decades.) Standouts included a soaring version of Cohen's musical setting of the great Lorca poem "Take This Waltz," a triumphant version of "I'm Your Man" and a tune he's done forever, his goose-bump-raising version of the stirring French resistance song "The Partisan." He also did a wonderful spoken version of "A Thousand Kisses Deep."

Speaking of spoken words, there's the little matter of Cohen's voice. First, it was never as terrible as some of his critics said. No, he wasn't always on pitch, but he was coming from the European cabaret tradition, where expression and intelligence matter more than pipes. Who would want to hear Mariah Carey sing "Put the lather on your face, now you're Santa Claus/and you've got a gift for everyone who will give you their applause" from the savage "Dress Rehearsal Rag," a song in which Cohen berates himself for being too cowardly to kill himself? He could always sing just well enough to get by. His sudden drop into a strange, breathy basso profundo in "I'm Your Man" was somewhat disconcerting, and obviously diminished the melodic appeal of his voice, but he still got style points for delivery. Basically, the same thing held for his performance in Oakland. Actually, after the intermission, his voice had warmed up enough that he was hitting some of the higher baritone notes that he didn't even attempt in the first set.

A Cohen performance is exhilarating and moving, but it can also be exhausting. Part of this is simply because he is a real poet, not a pop imitation. He uses language precisely, extravagantly, experimentally. Listening to poetry is harder than listening to doggerel. But mostly, a Cohen show is exhausting because of his dark sensibility. One of Cohen's stock jokes on the tour is that he found himself drawn to religion (he was a practicing Buddhist monk for years at a monastery near Los Angeles) but "cheerfulness kept breaking out." However, cheerfulness is not the first thing you'd associate with Cohen. He gets to it eventually, but it's not a straight shot.



"Looks like freedom but it feels like death/ It's something in between, I guess," Cohen sings in "Closing Time." That knife edge, that balancing act between the intolerable and the redemptive, is where Cohen lives, both in his work and in his performances. He is a fearless explorer of darknesses of all kinds, mostly erotic and romantic, but also, and increasingly, political and spiritual. For Cohen, without darkness there is no light -- a credo summed up in his song "Anthem," with its exquisite chorus "Ring the bells that still can ring/ Forget your perfect offering/ There is a crack in everything/ That's how the light gets in." This unflinching dialectic, which is found in some forms of Buddhism and Judaism as well as in the "negative theology" of Christian mystics like Meister Eckhart, informs all of Cohen's work. In its rejection of facile optimism, it represents the diametrical opposite of the Dionysian self-assurance we associate with performers. Watching Cohen, you're sometimes haunted by a fear that he may fall and not be able to get back up.

This coiled tension makes his performances uniquely self-critical, almost self-canceling. You could almost say he performs against himself. Maybe that's where his matador image derives: He's both the bull and the swordsman. At times, as Cohen was listening intently to his own words being sung back at him by the chorus, you could imagine him shaking his head and saying, "Actually, none of that is true."

Cohen is a peculiar hybrid: a writer who is also a star, a natural questioner whose medium, the popular song, forces him toward answers. He's an anti-romantic romantic, an inveterate ladies' man who finds himself left alone in a place wrecked "by the winds of change and the weeds of sex." But in the end, no matter what, Cohen always pops back up, affirming something larger and nobler than himself. And the thing that buoys him is the idea of grace. Cohen does not necessarily believe that such a thing exists as an objective entity. But he does seem to believe you can create it -- in fact, that you have to create it. As he writes in "Marianne," "I forget to pray for the angels, and then the angels forget to pray for us."

Cohen saved two of his most famous songs, "First We Take Manhattan" and "Famous Blue Raincoat," for the end. After his gravelly bass voice caressed the great opening line of "Manhattan" -- "They sentenced me to 20 years of boredom/ For trying to change the system from within" -- the band rocked the tune. "Famous Blue Raincoat" is probably the most beautiful melody Cohen ever wrote and one of his most haunting songs, with its enigmatic references to a friend's romantic betrayal and its heartbreakingly compassionate line "And thanks/ for the trouble you took from her eyes/ I thought it was there for good/ So I never tried." The mostly flawless band slightly overplayed behind Cohen on this classic, which deserves no instrumental adornment whatsoever, but it remained one of the evening's highlights.

As an old fan who still reserves a special place in his heart for the old songs, the number that really got to me was "Marianne." As Cohen and the backup singers broke into that famous chorus -- "Now so long, Marianne, it's time that we began/ to laugh and cry and cry and laugh/ about it all again" -- I found myself carried back 30 years. I remembered all the times I played that song and all those other great songs on the guitar. I remembered when Leonard Cohen was one of my idols, in the days when I was innocent enough to have idols. I remembered all the long-lost women I associated with that song. And remembering it all, hearing it here and knowing it was gone forever, something cracked open, and the tears came.

After Cohen's last encore, as the applause poured down upon him, he doffed his hat and bowed his head, and when he raised it again an incandescent smile, an expression of pure joy and appreciation, suffused his worn, sensual, intelligent face. As he smiled, the years seemed to fall away, not just for Cohen but for everyone whose life has been enriched by his artistic journey, whether they followed it for 40 years or one. Those of us who grew up with Leonard Cohen saw an old man on Monday night, and in his age we saw our own rapidly approaching fate. But we also saw something else. We saw an artist still alive and kicking, still asking troublesome questions of the world and telling beautiful stories about it. That was a fragment to be shored against our coming ruin.

"Thank for you for keeping my songs alive all these years," Cohen said at the end of the show. The fact that his songs still live on is inspiring. But it isn't just his artistic achievement that matters, but the humility, the discipline, and, yes, the grace that lies behind it. For what Cohen offered to us was not just his artistry, but his life -- a life played for keeps, an examined life, an artist's life. Not everyone can write "Famous Blue Raincoat," but every one of us can try to live a deeper life. Every one of us can ring the bells that still can ring.
User avatar
bkmccalla
Posts: 78
Joined: Sat Mar 29, 2008 1:29 am

oakland, tuesday night, what a god

Postby bkmccalla » Fri Apr 17, 2009 7:24 am

Karana wrote:Hi Esther AKA Blouse lady...He LOVED it! Good for you. We were too far back to be able to tell if it was a prop the crew had placed there, or a fan. So now we have our answer. Our audience (Tuesday night) was pumping so much love out to Leonard and the band... and they felt it. It seemed like they were getting more and more high on the ecstatic, electric energy field. I deeply felt Leonard's love coming back to all of us. It truly felt like the Unified Heart Tour.
karana,

your perfect description nailed the tuesday night show -- "[the] audience pumping so much love out to leonard and the band and they felt it...they were getting more and more high on the ecstatic, electric energy field; i deeply felt leonard's love coming back to all of us." i have not been an active forum member but i've been to many of the concerts this past year and tuesday was the creme de la creme (granted, of the shows i have seen). absolutely superlative. it was unbelievable. better than the beacon show which was pretty special, better than athens and rome and lucca which were all incredible shows, better than when i saw him in 1970 or in the 80s and 90s, better than any show i've ever attended by any artist (and i've heard A LOT of music).

esther and melancholia and i were all in the front two rows of the pit directly in front of javier so leonard was kneeling in front of us for much of the night (i'm crying and shivering while writing this), it was so beautiful and incredible, i will never forget it as long as i live. esther was being really reticent and shy about proffering her perfect offering and so we had to practically drag her up from her second row seat, but she finally came up, stepping over an empty seat (vacated momentarily by sharon robinson's biggest fan who gave her a lovely bunch of flowers at the end of the evening, is that right girls?? wasn't it his seat that was empty that you stepped over and into, esther?) and laid the polka dotted blouse at his feet. when leonard picked it up and lovingly threw it over his shoulder with a longing look towards the lovely esther, a number of us, many of us forum members, almost fainted, we literally swooned and we were rewarded with the most amazing smile i've ever seen on leonard's face. he looked as euphoric as we felt. i haven't seen him that happy since the end of world war two. it was transcendent. the tears are still flowing. the beatific look on esther's face will live in my memory forever. the entire band was laughing, the fans swooning, the swans fanning. melancholia and i fighting back the tears inspired by the sight of leonard's happiness. there is nothing more beautiful than leonard cohen smiling.

lizzy, it's funny you don't remember meeting me at the beacon meet-up since we spoke for some time and i was sitting with marsha (friscogrl) and denise (box of rain) -- perhaps because i am the quiet one on the forum and at the meet-ups and yet i'm the one who quit her job, gave up her home, left her relationship and everything she owned to run away to europe last summer to see as many shows as she/i could afford...and will probably go back to europe again this summer because abject joy is rather hard to come by these days and we will NEVER SEE THE LIKES of this man again. (anyone want to join me? last summer, and again this year, i met members of our tribe everywhere i went and i can promise you the magical mystery tour of a lifetime if you join me!) i'm guided by a signal in the heavens. guided.

warmest regards to all members of the tribe, known and unknown, met and unmet, loved and unloved.

sincerely,
b. mccalla

p.s. an interesting tidbit -- the woman who jumped up on stage and flung her arms around leonard's neck looked so much like anjani that for a moment we thought anjani had run out from backstage and flung herself upon him and then thought, no, anjani wouldn't have any need to do that! so who the hell was that masked woman??? and did anyone see how she actually got up on stage? she took advantage of all the chaos caused by the polka dots to accomplish her daredevil high wire act. god, what a night.
Last edited by bkmccalla on Fri Apr 17, 2009 7:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
1970, 1983, 1988, 1993/Lyon July 9/Bruges July 10/Amsterdam July 12/Lisbon July 19/Nice July 22/Lucca July 27/Rome July 28/Athens July 30/Beacon February 19/Oakland April 13, 14, 15/Kingston May 22/London May 24/Ottawa May 25, 26/Red Rocks June 4/Las Vegas November 12/San Jose November 13/Las Vegas December 2011 x2/San Jose November 2012/Oakland March 2, 3 2013...i've obviously lost my mind...
MaryB
Posts: 3945
Joined: Sat Mar 08, 2008 5:40 am
Location: Columbus, Ohio USA

Re: CONCERT REPORTS: Oakland, April 13, 14 & 15

Postby MaryB » Fri Apr 17, 2009 7:37 am

WOW! Just when you think you have already read the best of the best reviews, something like this comes along. It is extraordinarily beautifully well put!!!

Thank you DrHGuy for posting this!

Best regards,
Mary
1993 Detroit 2008 Kitchener June 2-Hamilton June 3 & 4-Vienna Sept 24 & 25-London RAH Nov 17 2009 NYC Feb 19-Grand Prairie Apr 3-Phoenix Apr 5-Columbia May 11-Red Rocks Jun 4-Barcelona Sept 21-Columbus Oct 27-Las Vegas Nov 12-San Jose Nov 13 2010 Sligo Jul 31 & Aug 1-LV Dec 10 & 11 2012 Paris Sept 30-London Dec 11-Boston Dec 16 2013 Louisville Mar 30-Amsterdam Sept 20
User avatar
bkmccalla
Posts: 78
Joined: Sat Mar 29, 2008 1:29 am

Re: CONCERT REPORTS: Oakland, April 13, 14 & 15

Postby bkmccalla » Fri Apr 17, 2009 7:55 am

"[leonard] being quoted as asking, at a post-performance party at the Berkeley Marriott, "Hey, this is California -- where are the 13-year-old girls?""

the truth will out! i was 13 when i first saw leonard at the berkeley community theater with my mother who was 40 at the time (and quite a looker) and my younger sister who was only 9. we were backstage and leonard was standing between my mother and me and kept looking back and forth from one to the other and at the end of the conversation leaned over to me and whispered in my ear, "come back and see me in ten years."

so i can't help but wonder who might have inspired that line about the 13 year old girls??? i was the only one i saw backstage that night.

now you all know why i went back ten years later, and then another ten years later, and then another ten years later and then another...

perhaps this should be moved to the "when i met leonard" thread??

sincerely,
b. mccalla
1970, 1983, 1988, 1993/Lyon July 9/Bruges July 10/Amsterdam July 12/Lisbon July 19/Nice July 22/Lucca July 27/Rome July 28/Athens July 30/Beacon February 19/Oakland April 13, 14, 15/Kingston May 22/London May 24/Ottawa May 25, 26/Red Rocks June 4/Las Vegas November 12/San Jose November 13/Las Vegas December 2011 x2/San Jose November 2012/Oakland March 2, 3 2013...i've obviously lost my mind...
Chicano
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 2:26 am

Re: CONCERT REPORTS: Oakland, April 13, 14 & 15

Postby Chicano » Fri Apr 17, 2009 8:59 am

I am a bit bummed out, this week of Cohen is over. Went to San Diego, saw the Friday show in LA and all three in Oakland. It's been such a joy. The good news is there are three new Cohen fans in the world, I took my Dad, a good friend, and my wife to the shows and each had a wonderful time. The memories will stay forever. Since they're not crazy fans that are familiar with the concert script, they laughed and enjoyed Cohen's banter.

Let me add, the Tuesday show was a stand-out, the blouse offering was just so damn cool. However, last night, Wednesday, his voice was simply the best/strongest, he really hit each note perfectly (hoping to hear Lullaby, but no luck). But, I did get a setlist at the LA show, so that will always stand out.

Also, I did see Sean Penn at the Wednesday show, he was sitting a few rows back with the lead singer from the Dead Kennedy's. It's not uncommon to see him at stuff/events, people don't bug him or anything. This is not a Penn website, but he's a pretty cool guy and has great taste in music. I read on the forum that there is talk of the tour continuing and returning to North America, I hope so.
4/7 San Diego; 4/10 Los Angeles; 4/13, 4/14, 41/15 Oakland; 6/4 Red Rocks
tonymoco
Posts: 15
Joined: Mon May 05, 2008 9:00 am

Re: CONCERT REPORTS: Oakland, April 13, 14 & 15

Postby tonymoco » Fri Apr 17, 2009 9:20 am

Chicano wrote:I read on the forum that there is talk of the tour continuing and returning to North America, I hope so.
Plans for a fall US tour were "confirmed" in a conversation between one of the band members and one of our forum members at one of the Paramount pre-shows. (I don't want to out anybody.)

The plan would be to return to the US in the fall and play US stages through October. Among the potential venues mentioned was a show at Madison Square Garden.

It's probably wisest to treat this as a rumor until it's official. Anything can happen, and does.

However, last night, Wednesday, his voice was simply the best/strongest, he really hit each note perfectly
I noticed that too...and there were some tough notes to hit! His voice was better than on many of the recorded versions.

And another thing: I heard every single word he sang on Wednesday. I was amazed by that. It was as much a poetry reading as a concert.

.
UrPal
Posts: 352
Joined: Fri Sep 17, 2004 7:43 pm
Location: Manchester
Contact:

Re: CONCERT REPORTS: Oakland, April 13, 14 & 15

Postby UrPal » Fri Apr 17, 2009 1:00 pm

DrHGuy wrote: And the thing that buoys him is the idea of grace. Cohen does not necessarily believe that such a thing exists as an objective entity. But he does seem to believe you can create it -- in fact, that you have to create it. As he writes in "Marianne," "I forget to pray for the angels, and then the angels forget to pray for us."
I thought the review from Gary Kamiya was unusually well written and focussed.

Interesting that he has touched upon an issue in his article quoted above which LC himself addresses in the CBC interview in the context of his recent concerts, although if I understand what LC was saying correctly the "state of grace" which he sometimes locates in live performances is not so much "created" (though presumably there must be a spark?) as a "gift" which descends from the particular conditions and chance events of a concert environment (not just the performance of those on stage, but the "spirit" of the audience, the atmosphere of the venue and other imponderables that cannot be summoned and are far from guaranteed).
Dream Warrior
Posts: 70
Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2008 12:28 pm

Re: CONCERT REPORTS: Oakland, April 13, 14 & 15

Postby Dream Warrior » Fri Apr 17, 2009 1:38 pm

One of the outstanding qualities of the Salon review is how it perfectly weaves the personal with the professional. Gary Kamiya neatly expresses the profound individual impact Leonard Cohen's work has had on many of us.

While one of M. Cohen's recurring themes is the isolation of the soul, he has done so much to bridge the chasms which exist between us and in the process, I think, allowed all of us to feel a little less alone.

In his review, Gary Kamiya has nicely articulated this achievement with his own 'confession.'

Beautiful.
User avatar
lizzytysh
Posts: 25339
Joined: Thu Jun 27, 2002 8:57 pm
Location: Florida, U.S.A.

Re: CONCERT REPORTS: Oakland, April 13, 14 & 15

Postby lizzytysh » Fri Apr 17, 2009 5:01 pm

This is an aside for bkmccalla:

[Well, I feel terrible all over again, b. Please forgive me. If I haven't had a lot of interaction with someone on the Forum... and their screen name isn't distinct in the way that "Box of Rain" and "ladydi" are... in a chaotic situation like that, I'm likely not to remember. I barely remember sitting! I remember sitting in a booth rather briefly next to Sheila from Ireland, whom I've met and spent time with before, and I'm wondering if that's when you're referring to; sitting at the long table and facing the back partition, maybe next to I.F. Sheila[?], whom I had met before, but don't know if it was her or not... I know she bought me a drink in that general location, though, but she may have been standing; sitting at a booth and talking with Mollydog, whom I had met before; sitting in a booth away from the maddening crowd and talking, at length on very relevant matters to both of us, with John K, whom I've met several times before and have had lengthy contacts with; I remember very briefly meeting the woman that Marie was talking with; I remember standing and talking with Box of Rain, and she sang a capella for me the song which is her screen name, but I have no recollection of sitting with her; I remember saying Hi to Zachary Oberzan and having a few words with Jarkko, but particularly, Eija; I remember meeting MaryB when she burst into an area where I was and she made me laugh; I remember meeting Abby, with whom I had had PM contact with before, and had a 'near miss' of meeting at Jack's friend's lake home in Montreal; I remember meeting Eric, Eric's brother, and Joe [the first and last of whom I've met and talked with before]; I remember standing outside the Beacon and talking with Mike and Eve Waldman, and standing talking with them later after the show, at length, over some common interests and issues; Diana I've had extensive contact with and, after meeting her, went briefly to her room to drop something off, so my memories of her are clear. When you're meeting so many people... ones you've already met before, plus a whole slew of new ones ~ I can't tell you how the Forum has exploded with new people and names :shock: ~ it's hard to keep it all straight or sort it after the fact. It was a whirlwind trip to NYC for me to begin with... after only a few hours sleep, got up in Florida at 4 AM for the 2 hrs get-ready time, prior to the 2 hrs drive time, which was in heavy, driving rain, to get me to the airport in time for the 2-hr pre-flight wait time, leaving 1/2 hour to spare for problems, before I got to NYC and waited more... for shuttles and more shuttles... in the freezing cold; finally arrived at my hotel from the 'airport' at 4:30, when I was supposed to leave no later than 5:00 PM for the Beacon. I had to rush to get some-kind-of ready and held Dick, Linda, and Vern up by about 10 minutes just to catch a cab with them there.

Everything was rushed... the whole time I was in NY. I stood in the Bitter bitter cold before getting in, with little cover... and snuggling up to Marie to try to get warm... and, before that, getting Ken to Diana for [hopefully] a ticket into the show. The pre-concert meet-up at the Beacon was packed and my attention was divided there... meeting Sharon 8) ; meeting for the first time the woman and her husband who had [sight unseen] so graciously offered to let me spend the night in their home in Queens; talking with Lightning [years of contact and previous meeting] and her sister; meeting our young, 14[?]-year-old man who has a radio program and came with his father; meeting Partisan [years of contact ;-) ] and his wife; meeting Abby... and then the concert, which blew my mind into a million pieces, and then came the bitter cold, again, and rushing to the bar, again with little cover... to walk into a 'House of Chaos" ~ elbow to elbow and trying to find some particular people amidst them all. It doesn't always matter 'who' you're meeting, either, you're just interacting and talking about Leonard and that's it. I remember meeting Maarten [for the severalth time... ask him about my memory :razz: ]; and seeing, sitting next to, and talking with Ute and Frauke from Germany [had met and spent time with both on Hydra] and asking Frauke about her daughter, Nathalie, whom I also met and spent time with there.

Then, back into the frigid air, only to discover my necklace missing, so back to the bar with Vern, as we went through Twilight Zone-ish encounters with lit interiors, fans running, but no one appearing or answering our relentless knocks. Then, phone numbers that were wrong, phones that wouldn't work, rings that went unanswered, as we tried to reach someone that way. Back to the hotel and to bed about 4:30 AM, a very early-up at 8 AM for breakfast with Jarkko and Eija; confusion surrounding the connection for my meet-up time/place with I.F. Sheila and her daughter and our rushing to get to the Museum of Modern Art [and finally sitting and relaxing for lunch... before I literally had to rush again to catch a cab to my hotel for the shuttle to the airport], and then back on the plane and home... to the car park, where my battery was dead in the unusually cold temperatures at 12:30 AM during a serious cold snap here, and after waiting for the battery to charge and then seeing my car start to overheat, I didn't arrive home until 4:30 AM that following morning. A time with SO little sleep and a time SO rushed, I was honestly glad to remember anything!

If you, too, got 'lost' in all that, I am really sorry. The thing is, before the meet-ups, there are particular screen-name people you want to meet, but then when you get there, you forget who all of those were... and it seems you never bring a list. It all becomes a bit of a blur. Someone introduces themself, or vice versa, and it's like they're a new person, not necessarily anyone you remember from the Forum, or even your original plans of meeting them. After the fact, it really depends on a variety of things whether a particular meeting 'sticks' like it should [so much was still in my mind, in my all-but-literally frozen brain, of the concert itself]. Add to all this my own social phobia and social anxiety and the fact that someone was from the Forum or which one they are can get easily lost.

In all of this, what I'm glad about though, b., is that these beautiful paragraphs, with their exquisitely expressed truths, might never have been written had I remembered our meeting:
lizzy, it's funny you don't remember meeting me at the beacon meet-up since we spoke for some time and i was sitting with marsha (friscogrl) and denise (box of rain) -- perhaps because i am the quiet one on the forum and at the meet-ups and yet i'm the one who quit her job, gave up her home, left her relationship and everything she owned to run away to europe last summer to see as many shows as she/i could afford...and will probably go back to europe again this summer because abject joy is rather hard to come by these days and we will NEVER SEE THE LIKES of this man again. (anyone want to join me? last summer, and again this year, i met members of our tribe everywhere i went and i can promise you the magical mystery tour of a lifetime if you join me!) i'm guided by a signal in the heavens. guided.

warmest regards to all members of the tribe, known and unknown, met and unmet, loved and unloved.
What an amazing story 8) :shock: 8) worth sharing with the World! I'm glad to have been the one to prompt it, though I wish doing so were from better circumstances. Carpe diem is your rightful motto. I wish I had the monies to travel and do it with you. You're an awesome woman and clearly well worth meeting. If our meeting is not clear in my mind, it's only because there was fierce competition for the space in there, and all types of things were happening in such a brief span of time... and I was freezing, which for me is disconcerting and distracting to the max. Even now, I know I've left some people out. The whole time was a rush in every possible way. My brain, unfortunately, didn't hold on to everything that happened there :( .

Edited to add: When time is So rushed and SO limited, talking with people you already know or have communicated with, and meeting new people is, at once, both Very pleasurable and at-least-low-grade stressful. It gets to the point, however, where you can plain forget ~ or not even think about ~ who all it was that you wanted to meet in the first place! Not having seen some people in a couple years; wanting to meet some I've been corresponding with; and, Knowing that I won't be going to Hydra, wanting to not miss at least this one brief opportunity to say hi and talk a little with ones you already know, but without a situation that allows for much time at all, you're trying to do so much with so little time available to do it. The more you go to Events, regular events, gatherings, and concerts, the greater number of connections you make with people and the more you understand how much you seriously want to do in that little bit of time, and how impossible it is to effectively wedge it all into a mere crevice of time. As I said before, but I'll say it again, I hope I'm given the chance to talk and be with you and Marsha another time.]


~ Lizzy
Last edited by lizzytysh on Fri Apr 17, 2009 7:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.
"Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken."
~ Oscar Wilde
User avatar
lizzytysh
Posts: 25339
Joined: Thu Jun 27, 2002 8:57 pm
Location: Florida, U.S.A.

Re: CONCERT REPORTS: Oakland, April 13, 14 & 15

Postby lizzytysh » Fri Apr 17, 2009 5:06 pm

Now, back to Leonard... what an incredible story, b 8) :D 8) ! Thanks for sharing it :D . Yes... you ought to [not delete it here, but] add it to the meetings of Leonard. Such a GREAT and memorable comment... one that has played a part in your following him 'to the ends of the earth.' A decision you will NEVER ever regret! Good on you and kudos to you!

Now, I need to read the Salon review that everyone's raving about.


~ Lizzy
Last edited by lizzytysh on Fri Apr 17, 2009 7:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken."
~ Oscar Wilde
User avatar
lizzytysh
Posts: 25339
Joined: Thu Jun 27, 2002 8:57 pm
Location: Florida, U.S.A.

Re: CONCERT REPORTS: Oakland, April 13, 14 & 15

Postby lizzytysh » Fri Apr 17, 2009 6:11 pm

Someone else said something about just when you think a better review couldn't possibly be written, comes this soul-searching, life-laid-bare one by Gary Kamiya. As one of those who has had Leonard's music prominently in my life for the same amount of time, the directions this review took me brought tears to my eyes, including when Gary spoke of the chorus singing "Now so long, Marianne, it's time that we began/ to laugh and cry and cry and laugh/ about it all again" bringing tears to his own. Reading this review, Leonard's concerts all come rushing back. Being at his concerts, my life all comes rushing back.

Such a wise decision you're making, b. mccalla. You're guided by a signal in the heavens and Gary is talking about it and Leonard is living it. I hope I get the privilege of meeting both you and Marsha again.

Thank you, DrHGuy, for posting this brilliant, highly intelligent, and deeply compassionate review.



~ Lizzy
"Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken."
~ Oscar Wilde
rmm
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2009 9:55 pm
Location: expat Canuck stuck in the U.S.

Re: CONCERT REPORTS: Oakland, April 13, 14 & 15

Postby rmm » Fri Apr 17, 2009 9:14 pm

aw, you people are too quick for me - a friend sent the Salon piece to me, and I was just going to post it here. That Salon review was almost as wonderful as the show... it might have saved me from writing a review...hehe. I'm touched that so many people are touched by his concerts; I knew I'd have a wonderful time, but had no idea it would be quiet this wonderful. Days later and I'm still a bit on a cloud from it, actually :D
dctrfxglv
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 9:01 pm

Re: CONCERT REPORTS: Oakland, April 13, 14 & 15

Postby dctrfxglv » Fri Apr 17, 2009 9:22 pm

This is my report from the front row of the April 14th show in Oakland...

http://www.doctorfoxglove.com/dctr/2009-04-14/
(be sure to right-click and open the link in a new window)

Enjoy (we sure did)!

dfg
Last edited by dctrfxglv on Fri Apr 17, 2009 10:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
paigekparsons
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2009 10:38 pm

Re: CONCERT REPORTS: Oakland, April 13, 14 & 15

Postby paigekparsons » Fri Apr 17, 2009 9:41 pm

Hi everyone,

I've so enjoyed reading the reviews, comments and seeing other's pictures. I couldn't make it early to the show for the fan club and the a Capella singing.

I did want to share my pix, video, and a review with fellow fans.

My review at thecolorawesome.com contains links to the video as well as a a photoset of my favorite 20 images.

Here are links to all three:

Review of Tuesday April 14th Show:
http://thecolorawesome.com/2009/04/16/r ... t-theater/

Photoset of Tuesday April 14th Show:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/paigekpars ... 737942133/
Image

Video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXZoPP0F ... annel_page
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GiD_7Qxm ... re=channel

Enjoy!

- Paige
Karana
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2009 11:30 pm
Location: Northern California

Re: CONCERT REPORTS: Oakland, April 13, 14 & 15

Postby Karana » Fri Apr 17, 2009 10:41 pm

Paige...you are an angel. This is wonderful.

Return to “The North American Tour 2009”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests