CONCERT REPORT: Chicago, May 5 and 6

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...
MaryB
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Chicago, May 5 and 6

Postby MaryB » Sun May 10, 2009 10:10 am

Cheri,

I thoroughly enjoyed your articulate and lovely review. Thank you for allowing me to attend this concert through your words.

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
MrBeatle64
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Chicago, May 5 and 6

Postby MrBeatle64 » Sun May 10, 2009 10:44 am

May 5, was the first and possibly the last time my friend and I will ever see Leonard (although I hope it is not the last!). Amazing show, which has been said by almost everyone in this post. It was one of the top 5 shows of all time for myself personally. I may have been one of the youngest people there( I am 25) but I appreciate Mr. Cohen as much as all of you on the message boards and I appreciate all the great things many of you do for these boards! However, there is a happy and disappointing end to our story. After Leonard finished speaking to us, my friend and I rushed out the side door to try and catch him before he left. He signed autographs for about 5 people. I was the last one to get his signature before he left in his van. I was so excited, but my friend was unable to get his copy of Recent Songs signed. He had been a fan longer than me and I felt really terrible even with my success. He was blocked by a bunch of people who were autograph dealers and people who didn't even attend the show. But, like all events they will always be around no matter what. What angered me even more is that after Leonard had left Chicago about 15 auctions went up on Ebay for signed Leonard Cohen records/pictures/books/and even hats! All for the low price of $200 roughly. These were the first autographs I saw on ebay from Leonard signing on the current tour. So because of a few money hungry guys they took away the thrill of meeting Leonard from my friend and it will probably something he will never have. Although you can say I have nothing to complain about, I saw one of the best shows ever and I got to get his signature, sometimes it takes just a few dealers to ruin it for one person. For those of you who are curious about my signature I have added it to this post. Thank you.
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POZEST
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Chicago, May 5 and 6

Postby POZEST » Sun May 10, 2009 10:04 pm

Up until Wednesday May 6th, I had only seen Leonard Cohen once in concert and it was a month ago at the Nokia theatre on the first night (April 10) in Los Angeles. I was born & raised in L.A. Before I saw Leonard Cohen for my first time, that week I knew I would be in store for something special. I read no reviews from critics nor from Leonard Cohen fans on the forum. I needed no one to tell me it would be something special.

I was so blown away by that first concert I knew I had to see him again. As I walked out of that first show I was telling my ride that we had to come back the next day; no matter where we sat. We were to come back the next day and buy a ticket from Craigslist or a scalper. One way or another we were to come back. As we continued celebrating Leonard Cohen after hours, neither of us were able to recover the next day to see him again. I kicked myself in the ass over the course of the following week for not dragging myself to that show.

I then began researching other U.S. city shows and came upon some front row tickets for the Seattle show. By the time I decided to buy the tickets they were gone. I then found 3 front row tickets for the Chicago show. I actually found 3 sets of 3 ticket groupings for the front row for the Chicago shows. Fortunately I convinced the seller to break off a single ticket for me and even scored some savings on the ticket price. $275 is still more than what I had, but I knew I had to see this man again. It was imperative. I then booked my airfare & hotel & rental car (which I didn’t use thanks to Dan K telling me about the elevated train).

The walk from the train station to my hotel was a beautiful walk through Chicago with its beautiful skyline peppered with new sky scrapers and historic buildings. I so wish at that point I had a camera on my relic cell phone. I met up with Wonder Cooki, Dan K, and Brick In The Wall (&his wife) at the Elephants & Castle pub. I had got us a corner table that let us look outside (although it was pouring rain shortly after I arrived). So many different types of people were out and about the Chicago streets. I found it amusing at how much people jay walk there lol.

So we(the forum people I just mentioned) arrive at the front doors before they open, and within minutes we make friends with others standing outside. We were literally the first 10 people in the venue. As we were standing around the lobby chatting for a few minutes, who comes out to greet us? Dino, Rafael, & Roscoe Beck. So after introducing myself to Dino & Rafael I compliment them on their performance in Los Angeles and I thank them for coming out to talk to the fans & then go my own way to give them some room. I then chat it up with Michelle (the stage manager I presume she is) there in the lobby.

As some of the forum people I mentioned were getting a few pics taken I get the idea :hey lets get a group shot of us with Dino & Rafael. (Roscoe Beck was busy elsewhere). Mind you I don’t have a camera, but I knew if someone captured the moment that I would be content with that.

My seat in the front row was 4th from the left and about 8 from dead center. The Chicago theatre is a 3500 person venue. And a beautiful one at that. Needless to say my seat was a phenomenal one. I was right in front of the Webb sisters. I had a perfect view to everyone except the keyboardist. The Webb sisters are even more beautiful than I thought. The chemistry of this band is stuff of legends. This ensemble has already been on tour for months and I could still see them peforming with feeling. None of them looked tired of performing the same set over and over. That was admirable.
The show was just like in L.A. with the exception of the two songs mentioned in a prior post (Closing Time & i forgot the name of the other one) I did note that Leonard Cohen commented on the rain there and the beauty of the venue.

Everybody Knows didn't sound as good live as on my cd version; nonetheless, I was thrilled to see Javier do his thing on this song and on Gypsy's Wife.
I loved how the stand up bass resonated with ‘If It Be Your Will’. Javier Mas was amazing to see & hear live. Interestingly there was a standing Ovation after Anthem (just before the break). This did not happen in L.A. Hallelujah blew the roof off I thought. But I was the only one in the front row that stood up to give a standing ovation. I saw one person in the 3rd row stand up but couldn’t see anything else further back as it was out of my line of sight. I was a bit surprised that the crowd did not stand up for after hallelujah. In l.a. he got a standing ovation that lasted a good 20 seconds after hallelujah.


When 'Democracy & ‘Take This Waltz’ came up I wanted to get up and dance. I even wanted to take the girl sitting on my right by her hand as she seemed more into the music than her date did.

IF IT BE YOUR WILL: My god........ that harp..... and the Webb Sisters.... I was transcended. (loss of words... even now as I type this......) The intensity of the one not playing the harp(not sure of her exact name). She puts her heart into that song.

"I Tried To Leave You" - I love how Leonard Cohen gives all of his band members a chance to shine on this song. He did this on other songs and I love this about Leonard Cohen from when he takes his hat off, to his amusing titles e.g. the time keeper, to when he kneels in front of Javier Mas. I go to many concerts and I have never seen anyone give props/pay hommage the way Leonard Cohen does to his own members. Every member of this band is very talented.

This show right now feels like my best all time favorite concert. It just feels that way right now. I came on this trip on borrowed time/money if you will. No regrets because I knew what might be coming next where I work; and as I begin to work graveyard, 12 hours a day, 6 days a week (the union where I work at went on strike this weekend so we have to step in temporarily) on those days at 3a.m. Leonard Cohen will get me through it.

I hope I have conveyed my experience and its relevance. And if this strike is over soon enough, I may again see the man again before this tour ends.

Thank you Leonard Cohen.
honeyrose
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Chicago, May 5 and 6

Postby honeyrose » Mon May 11, 2009 3:06 am

Loved Dan's photo. Is it my imagination or are the rugs breeding? I particularly liked the little one Neil Larsen (Keyboards and organ) has under his feet. I wonder if the drummer has one too?

Honeyrose
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Joe Way
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Chicago, May 5 and 6

Postby Joe Way » Mon May 11, 2009 10:46 pm

double post
Last edited by Joe Way on Mon May 11, 2009 11:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Say a prayer for the cowboy..."
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Joe Way
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Chicago, May 5 and 6

Postby Joe Way » Mon May 11, 2009 10:49 pm

I've waited for a long time to see Leonard in the City of the Big Shoulders. It is, first off, the largest city geographically located near me. I missed him in 1988 and 1993 due to pre-internet ignorance. Aside from the geographical connection, Chicago looms large in our personal history. My hotel career was launched there by a summer job at the Blackstone Hotel. Anne's grandfather was a conductor on the El train after immigrating from Ireland at 17. As recently as a few years ago a relative visited the ancestral cottage outside of Kenmare and reported that it was filled with photographs of relatives who had become Chicago cops and firemen.

Anne and I took the train in from Harvard, IL just over the border from Wisconsin. The conductor warned us not to "flip" any seats as he expected a full train of Cubs fans bound for Wrigley field. He was not disappointed. Fans in full regalia streamed on to the train carrying twelve packs of beer that were consumed in a raucously joyous fashion. I mentioned to Anne that under other circumstances, I would gladly join this group of fist-bumping chest painters. But it certainly didn't feel like it would mix well with the fedora wearing crowd that I had joined earlier in the week in Minneapolis.

We disembarked at the Oglivie Transportation Center and took a cab to our hotel less than a block from the Chicago Theater. We were able to check in and have lunch prior to our scheduled rendezvous with Alice (Wondercookie), Steve & Ann (A Brick in the Wall) and Alice's friend Scott. We spent the afternoon exploring Millenium Park and other sights. Shortly before 5 PM we met at the Emerald Loop which because of its Chicago location feels somewhat more authentic than some of the other spots we have found Irish Pubs, like Istanbul. It perhaps doesn't quite rank with O'Donaghues in Dublin but with the very agreeable company of our new friends, it provided a suitable backdrop for becoming acquainted and preparing for a concert to which all of us had so looked forward.

We arrived early to the beautiful theater. Many years ago I had seen the movie, The Godfather when it was in its first Chicago run at this venue. Then years later, Anne & I took our children to see Donnie Osmond's, Joseph, there. It is both a little larger and a little more ornate than The Orpheum in Minneapolis-though both were terrific venues to see a Leonard Cohen concert.

As our friends have mentioned, we were fortunate enough to be able to meet Rafael Gayol who very kindly signed our program. I won't spoil it for others as I suspect that he tells the same story about Leonard arriving on stage each night, but suffice to say that it is hilarious and showcases what a warm and humble person, Rafael is in his own right. I also bought some Leonard Cohen guitar picks!

Ah the concert! This was my fifth in the past year of Leonard's touring and Anne's fourth. As many of you have expressed who have attended multiple concerts, there are many positive aspects to consider. For example, my ticket in the front row of The Orpheum theater allowed me to concentrate on facial expressions and all of the little actions that take place on stage that might not be noticed in a broader perspective. Our tickets toward the rear on the main floor of the Chicago Theater allowed us to appreciate the lighting effects and I truly believe that the sound is superior to the very close seats. But in another important way, the concerts coming closely together allowed for another significant aspect in the manner in which I would experience the event. As an early fan who discovered Leonard while still in my teens and at the beginning of his recording career, I had the distinct impression that I had stumbled on to someone who was completely unlike anyone else in my sphere. I am reminded of Nick Cave's comments in I'm Your Man when he spoke about hearing his first Leonard Cohen album and realized that there was another world far outside the small world of Wangaratta where he was growing up. I had that same experience and it was one that I completely failed to communicate successfully to any of my friends. They thought I was a little "off" with this Cohen guy and I can still see and hear myself singing those early songs to friends who found no connection with them. So, in Minneapolis, I concentrated much as Leonard says he needs to concentrate on the song as it was in its genesis. After a lifetime of Cohen music, it is often not easy to take oneself back and hear it "fresh" with all of its stunning and stark beauty, but that was what I tried to do.

In Chicago, I allowed myself to drink in the perspective of the breadth of his music. I could again dream of myself as a young man, courting with these beautiful songs or through the days of grief when the songs got me through the times of mourning. Now here I sat, with the love of my love by my side, able to experience the portrait of the artist as an old man and learning from him how to approach this portion of my life when it comes if I am so blessed.

Leonard does indeed have the big musical shoulders that Chicago deserves. I don't know if we will be able to see him again in concert, but these two concerts would certainly be worthy of keeping dreams and memories alive. We will always say we saw Leonard in his prime, because I can't imagine he was ever better.

Joe
"Say a prayer for the cowboy..."
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liverpoolken
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Chicago, May 5 and 6

Postby liverpoolken » Tue May 12, 2009 3:28 am

Joe

Thanks for your usual considered and as always interesting post on the Chicago show.
Despite the subject of your post being about a Canadian poet performing in an America city I couldn't help meself by coming over all Orish while reading it. Thoughts of our night together in O'Donaghues in Dublin..then the story of Anne's grandfather had Christy Moore singing quietly in my head........

In the City of Chicago
As the evening shadows fall
There are people dreaming
Of the hills of Donegal

1847 was the year it all began
Deadly pains of hunger drove a million from the land
They journeyed not for glory
Their motive wasn't greed
A voyage of survival across the stormy sea

Some of them knew fortune
Some of them knew fame
More of them knew hardship
And died upon the plain
They spread throughout the nation
They rode the railroad cars
Brought their songs and music to ease their lonely hearts


Joe...Give yerself of bit of Christy...there will be more in post later this week

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dG9hf_vZdic

or maybe brother Luka's version

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Jn7vgropXs

Ta Ken
Solitudine non é essere soli, é amare gli altri inutilmente - Mario Stefani
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Joe Way
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Chicago, May 5 and 6

Postby Joe Way » Tue May 12, 2009 4:16 am

Ah Ken, that is a beautiful song and those are beautiful memories of Ireland and those thoughts are never far from me.

I think that I have told you a little more about the Irish history of our families. I attended a family reunion with Anne back almost 30 years ago with all the Chicago cops and firemen from her mother's side. The folks would ask both Anne's Dad and myself about our heritage and when we said, "Irish" they wanted to know when we came over as most of them had been children of immigrants. They weren't particularly interested in our stories as we were too early to the show. Anne's Dad's relative who immigrated came prior to 1847-though he was a rebel and the family story was that at 18 years old he joined the Wicklow rebellion and his ear was cut by a bayonet as he hid in a haystack. He later went to England (I am assuming Liverpool where he worked in the shipping industry) until he was able to bring his wife and seven children to New Brunswick. My own family's story is more sketchy but I know a great, great grandfather left in about 1830 from Kilkenny. When we visited Kilkenny that same year that we shared our stories in O'Donaghues, I learned that the liquor laws had changed in 1830 banning the sale of alcohol on Sundays-that probably would have been enough to cause him to come to Canada. So both Anne & I have Canadian heritage as well. I still regret that when Esther Cohen asked us about our heritage back in Brooklyn in 2003 that I didn't reply, "Canadian."

I think of you when I visit Chicago because it is an American Capital of Culture and I know that you would appreciate it. The architectural tour that we took on the day after the concert was filled with fascinating tidbits about the city's rich history and continued development. The hotel we stayed at, The Burnham, was named for the city planner, Daniel Burnham who designed the Paris-like wide boulevards and whose original design has never quite been followed.

I realized after I posted than many of our friends would not recognize the Carl Sandburg references so I post here the original poem, "Chicago."
CHICAGO

HOG Butcher for the World,
Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight Handler;
Stormy, husky, brawling,
City of the Big Shoulders:

They tell me you are wicked and I believe them, for I
have seen your painted women under the gas lamps
luring the farm boys.
And they tell me you are crooked and I answer: Yes, it
is true I have seen the gunman kill and go free to
kill again.
And they tell me you are brutal and my reply is: On the
faces of women and children I have seen the marks
of wanton hunger.
And having answered so I turn once more to those who
sneer at this my city, and I give them back the sneer
and say to them:
Come and show me another city with lifted head singing
so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning.
Flinging magnetic curses amid the toil of piling job on
job, here is a tall bold slugger set vivid against the
little soft cities;

Fierce as a dog with tongue lapping for action, cunning
as a savage pitted against the wilderness,
Bareheaded,
Shoveling,
Wrecking,
Planning,
Building, breaking, rebuilding,
Under the smoke, dust all over his mouth, laughing with
white teeth,
Under the terrible burden of destiny laughing as a young
man laughs,
Laughing even as an ignorant fighter laughs who has
never lost a battle,
Bragging and laughing that under his wrist is the pulse.
and under his ribs the heart of the people,
Laughing!
Laughing the stormy, husky, brawling laughter of
Youth, half-naked, sweating, proud to be Hog
Butcher, Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat, Player with
Railroads and Freight Handler to the Nation.
I am truly the farm boy who was lured to all this through painted women and Leonard Cohen. And I'll never regret it.

Joe
"Say a prayer for the cowboy..."
gaby&paul
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Chicago, May 5 and 6

Postby gaby&paul » Tue May 12, 2009 11:02 pm

We are back in Germany after an eight days trip to Minneapolis and Chicago and we are still gliding three feet above the floor. Minneapolis May 3, Orpheum Theatre. A beautiful small vaudeville theatre with an intimate atmosphere. We had seats right in the middle of the ground floor with a good view on the stage and part of a really enthusiastic crowd. We did not count, but there were at least ten standing ovations. Leonard was in a very good mood, really a "white man dancing", and throughout the whole concert you could feel the energy float between the stage and the auditorium. What a "starter", and it should become even better. Chicago May 5. Most about this concert is written in this thread. We took seats in the first row, just below the feet of Javier, and the following three hours were a most intense experience and we enjoyed every second. Especially the musical dialogues of Leonard and Javier were heartbeat-rising moments. Standing close to Dino we could feel also his virtuosity. After dancing during the encores and waving goodbye we took our way to our hotel, just two blocks from the Chicago Theatre, feeling very enriched and also a little melancholic because it was over now. And then: entering the lobby we were absolutely stunned, standing just before Leonard himself ... On the stage a few minutes earlier he had advised us to fall on the lucky side, but we had never expected that it would happen so soon. We could thank him for a wonderful concert and express our gratitude and adoration for his music and his poetry, stumbling throught our restricted English vocabulary. Being completely mesmerized we forgot to introduce ourselves, we didn´t even ask for an autograph. So he had to ask if we wanted him to sign our program, which we were very pleased about. He was so friendly and kind, and he seemed not a bit tired a few minutes after his three hour performance. After wishing goodnight we left the lobby in a dream-like state ...
We needed May 6 (balcony seats) to calm down ...
And now, a few days later and being on work again, the memories of May 5 feel to us like a treasure. Wanted to share this with you.

Gaby&Paul

(Munich / Frankfurt / London RAH / Minneapolis / Chicago / Cologne / Madrid)
2008: Munich, Frankfurt, London RAH. 2009: Minneapolis, Chicago (2x), Cologne, Madrid. 2010: Wiesbaden, Strasbourg, Stuttgart, Las Vegas. 2012: Ghent, Paris. 2013: Vienna.
MaryB
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Chicago, May 5 and 6

Postby MaryB » Fri May 15, 2009 7:52 pm

Gaby & Paul,

You were indeed blessed to 'have fallen on the lucky side'. Front row at the feet of Javier Maas and then to become privy to the graciousness of LC himself. What a wonderful end to your US LC concert odessy! Now Cologne and Madrid - you must be ecstatic!

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
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Chicago, May 5 and 6

Postby lizzytysh » Fri May 15, 2009 9:03 pm

Hi Gaby & Paul ~
Being completely mesmerized we forgot to introduce ourselves, we didn´t even ask for an autograph. So he had to ask if we wanted him to sign our program, which we were very pleased about.
Still another example of Leonard's stellar generousity... knowing full well that you would have to live with the regret of having missed your opportunity, Leonard had your back [a U.S. saying]. An amazing man. Your account needs to go into the thread [in Comments & Questions or Everything Else section ~ don't recall which] regarding Recent Encounters with Leonard. I'm so happy for you both... what a blessed night it was for you.


~ Lizzy
"Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken."
~ Oscar Wilde
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The Little Jew
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Chicago, May 5 and 6

Postby The Little Jew » Sat May 16, 2009 12:37 am

I must as a question, during the May 5th show while performing "The Future", did Leonard sing; "give me crack and anal sex" or "give me crack and careless sex"? I thought that I heard the original lyric but I am not certain.
Please help me clear this up for myself.
MaryB
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Chicago, May 5 and 6

Postby MaryB » Sat May 16, 2009 8:08 am

The Little Jew wrote:I must as a question, during the May 5th show while performing "The Future", did Leonard sing; "give me crack and anal sex" or "give me crack and careless sex"? I thought that I heard the original lyric but I am not certain.
Please help me clear this up for myself.
Oh joy of joys if he did! If it was done, he had reverted back to 'careless' in Columbia :( .

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
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Chicago, May 5 and 6

Postby wondercookie » Mon May 18, 2009 1:51 pm

A late addition to the Chicago show comments.....Brick and Ann, Joe and Anne (or do I have the Anns mixed?). Let me say it was great to meet you all, as well as Dan K and Pozest. Scott is still enraptured over the whole experience. I´m still on vacation in Dresden, by way of Dublin. As soon as Im back home in Florida I will e mail the very excellent pic of us all with Dino and Rafael. The Chicago concerts were the start of my vacation, and while I´ve had a great time since then, it´s not been possible to match the high of L.C. AND Chicago AND meeting forum folks.
By the way, when I was in one or the other of the many pubs in Dublin I heard L.C. being played....If it be your will.....very cool!!!
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Chicago, May 5 and 6

Postby A Brick in the Wall » Tue May 19, 2009 12:54 am

wondercookie wrote:A late addition to the Chicago show comments.....Brick and Ann, Joe and Anne (or do I have the Anns mixed?). Let me say it was great to meet you all, as well as Dan K and Pozest. Scott is still enraptured over the whole experience. I´m still on vacation in Dresden, by way of Dublin. As soon as Im back home in Florida I will e mail the very excellent pic of us all with Dino and Rafael. The Chicago concerts were the start of my vacation, and while I´ve had a great time since then, it´s not been possible to match the high of L.C. AND Chicago AND meeting forum folks.
By the way, when I was in one or the other of the many pubs in Dublin I heard L.C. being played....If it be your will.....very cool!!!
drink one for me & get back in contact when you are home!

Steve & Ann -- you got the Ann's right.... :lol:

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