CONCERT REPORTS: Sydney, Australia, November 8 & 9, 2010

July 25 - December 11, 2010. Concert reports, set lists, photos, media coverage, multimedia links, recollections...
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sturgess66
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CONCERT REPORTS: Sydney, Australia, November 8 & 9, 2010

Postby sturgess66 » Mon Nov 08, 2010 1:48 am

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It is still Sunday where I am - but I *think* it is Monday, November 8, 2010 in Sydney, Australia - almost 10:00 a.m. - and there is a show tonight!

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The venue, Acer Arena - formerly known as Sydney SuperDome - is located in Sydney Olympic Park and was constructed in 1999 as part of the 2000 Summer Olympics. It hosts entertainment and sporting events and has been noted for the past three years as one of the Top 5 indoor venues worldwide. And it is big- a capacity of 21,000 people - the largest indoor venue in Australia.

A few pictures of Sydney -

The harbour and famous opera house -
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By night -
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And their beautiful beaches -
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Acer Arena uploaded a VERY nice promotional video to YouTube about Leonard Cohen and his coming to Sydney -
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DaWppf0k3qo

Joey was out and about yesterday - and taking pictures -

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The Great Synagogue Sydney.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Synagogue_(Sydney)
* Sydney, Australia
http://leonardcohen.tumblr.com/post/150 ... gue-sydney
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neo
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Sydney, Australia, Nov. 8-9, 2010

Postby neo » Mon Nov 08, 2010 1:09 pm

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Reps from Sony Australia are in the house to give LC a nice award. Down under Live In London has gone triple platinum and Songs From The Road just went platinum.

Not bad.

*Acer Arena - Sydney, Australia
Last edited by neo on Mon Nov 08, 2010 4:51 pm, edited 2 times in total.
What sad religions they want us to believe.
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neo
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Sydney, Australia, Nov. 8-9, 2010

Postby neo » Mon Nov 08, 2010 1:10 pm

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Dance me, to the end of love.

*Acer Arena - Sydney, Australia

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Javier Mas is on fire.

*Acer Arena - Sydney, Australia

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Meet the band.

Time for intermission; back in twenty.

* Acer Arena - Sydney, Australia

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“thanks for not leaving.”

Tower of Song is on.

*Acer Arena - Sydney, Australia

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“you have to be a man to know how good that feels”

*Acer Arena - Sydney, Australia

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Encore in 3…2…1

*Acer Arena - Sydney, Australia
Last edited by neo on Mon Nov 08, 2010 4:53 pm, edited 3 times in total.
What sad religions they want us to believe.
canuck
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Sydney, Australia, Nov. 8-9, 2010

Postby canuck » Mon Nov 08, 2010 4:36 pm

Leonard and the Band were on fire tonight. Everyone seemed to be having a great time. I'd say this was the best of the 3 Sydney concerts I've seen. And we got a seldom heard rendition of "A Singer Must Die".

I'm sure others will post the set list. I am going to bed. Alas, too broke to attend tomorrow's show to see if the magic repeats.
adam1
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Sydney, Australia, Nov. 8-9, 2010

Postby adam1 » Mon Nov 08, 2010 4:53 pm

What an incredible show. Fourth time seeing the man, surely the best so far.

Avalanche and A Singer Must Die weren't on the setlist, but he busted them out after Suzanne. It was a goddamn treat.

The rest was as expected, but he was far sprightlier than I remember and I loved noticing how slightly tweaked the arrangements are since last time (Paris, July 2009).
Slowly they seem to be dropping the 80s vibe. I dig.

Sydney tomorrow, followed by Melbourne 1 and Tasmania. Can't wait.
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sturgess66
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Sydney, Australia, Nov. 8-9, 2010

Postby sturgess66 » Mon Nov 08, 2010 5:47 pm

Oh - you people "down under" are so lucky! :D :D

And big congratulations to Leonard Cohen and United Heart Touring Company!!

As reported by Joey (posted by Neo above) -

Reps from Sony Australia are in the house to give LC a nice award. Down under Live In London has gone triple platinum and Songs From The Road just went platinum.

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And night one closes on a high note. Great crowd Sydney, same time tomorrow.
* Acer Arena - Sydney, Australia
http://leonardcohen.tumblr.com/post/151 ... reat-crowd
asta
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Sydney, Australia, Nov. 8-9, 2010

Postby asta » Mon Nov 08, 2010 8:45 pm

Re Adam1 - SYDNEY - "The rest of the set list was as expected"

This means that the 'incomparable' Sharon Robinson singing Boogie Street, and the 'angelic and incandescent' Webb Sisters 'If it be your Will' features were restored to their due place? It is so good for the singers to have their special 'spots' to 'extra' shine, and a shame that in Wellington and Christchurch, and it seems Brisbane? - audiences were deprived of these special moments.
canuck
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Sydney, Australia, Nov. 8-9, 2010

Postby canuck » Tue Nov 09, 2010 12:42 am

As best I remember and the order could be slightly wrong...

Set 1

01 Dance Me To The End Of Love
02 The Future
03 Bird on the Wire
04 Everybody Knows (an early standout - really high energy performance)
05 Who By Fire
06 The Darkness
07 Ain't No Cure For Love
08 Chelsea Hotel #2
09 Waiting For The Miracle
10 Anthem

Set 2

11 Tower of Song
12 Suzanne
13 Avalanche
14. A Singer Must Die
15 Sisters of Mercy
16 The Gypsy's Wife
17 The Partisan
18 Hallelujah
19 I'm Your Man (I don't know how this could ever be performed better than it was tonight - LC seemed really into it)
20 A Thousand Kisses Deep [recitation]
21 Take This Waltz

Encore 1

22 So Long, Marianne
23 Famous Blue Raincoat
24 First We Take Manhattan

Encore 2

25 I Tried To Leave You
26 Closing Time

I was nice to see the arrangements enhanced since he was here two years ago - Dino's really walking off with the show these days with his fills and solos. I really did miss seeing the ladies do their solo numbers though.

I'd be really interested to see a printed set list. LC seemed to be giving a lot of instructions in terms of songs - I heard him call out 4 different numbers in the first half alone - so maybe he was changing plans on the fly?
Last edited by canuck on Tue Nov 09, 2010 12:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
canuck
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Sydney, Australia, Nov. 8-9, 2010

Postby canuck » Tue Nov 09, 2010 12:45 am

Reps from Sony Australia are in the house to give LC a nice award. Down under Live In London has gone triple platinum and Songs From The Road just went platinum.

Not bad.

*Acer Arena - Sydney, Australia
[/quote]


The record company really should be kissing Leonard's feet these days. He's a vanishing breed of artist who sells a lot of records to an audience that actually goes and buys CDs at a store! :)
margiegras
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Sydney, Australia, Nov. 8-9, 2010

Postby margiegras » Tue Nov 09, 2010 12:49 am

It was sublime. We saw Leonard at the Entertainment Centre last year and then again at Bimbadgen Estate. The hunter valley was a transcendant experience. Last night was approaching that as well. I cried through Anthem. I hope there is another tour next year! I was hoping that SOMEONE is out there, going to the concert tonight and could record A Thousand Kisses Deep. Anyone ? :?:
adam1
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Sydney, Australia, Nov. 8-9, 2010

Postby adam1 » Tue Nov 09, 2010 1:09 am

asta wrote:Re Adam1 - SYDNEY - "The rest of the set list was as expected"

This means that the 'incomparable' Sharon Robinson singing Boogie Street, and the 'angelic and incandescent' Webb Sisters 'If it be your Will' features were restored to their due place? It is so good for the singers to have their special 'spots' to 'extra' shine, and a shame that in Wellington and Christchurch, and it seems Brisbane? - audiences were deprived of these special moments.
No, and after seeing them a few times i don't really miss them either. They ruin the flow a bit for me, especially Boogie Street.
adam1
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Sydney, Australia, Nov. 8-9, 2010

Postby adam1 » Tue Nov 09, 2010 1:29 am

canuck wrote:I'd be really interested to see a printed set list. LC seemed to be giving a lot of instructions in terms of songs - I heard him call out 4 different numbers in the first half alone - so maybe he was changing plans on the fly?
My mate got one, i had a peek after the show.

From memory, That Don't Make It Junk was in the first set, and Avalanche, A Singer Must Die and Closing Time weren't on the setlist. Comparing it to the setlist now might uncover more changes.
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sturgess66
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Sydney, Australia, Nov. 8-9, 2010

Postby sturgess66 » Tue Nov 09, 2010 2:16 am

Wow - a big venue - a lot of lucky people last night.

FROM TWITTER -
TokyoLoveIn Tokyo Love-In - Photo: Leonard Cohen concert - audience (Taken with instagram) http://tumblr.com/x10p3zwpp
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Lots of people sending out tweets about last night's show - raving magnificent -
And I found this on Twitter -
ryderau Iain Triffitt - Leonard Cohen & Clare Bowditch http://j.mp/b5IHAJ
Leonard Cohen & Clare Bowditch

jack_ryder
November 9th, 6:30

Last night we joined the rest of Sydney's audience for adult contemporary music at Acer Arena for the Leonard Cohen concert, with incomparable support from Clare Bowditch.

I can't say I'm a Leonard Cohen fan as such, unlike [info]murasaki_1966. I like his songs and appreciate his talent with words, but I didn't immerse myself in him like some of my friends did so long ago. He was more use to me as a comic tool that as an outliner and fellow conspirator in the pain of the human heart. I always figured Leonard Cohen for the advanced heartbreak course, whereas at the time I was having a hard enough time getting someone else to hold on to my heart long enough to smash it.

So I had no great expectations last night - a professional gig from a legendary musician at the twilight of his career but no idea that I was going to be enchanted and transformed as I was.

The band, the musicians, the troupe I guess that he had assembled were world class - there were moments of the concert where I had momentarily stopped breathing, enthralled by the virtuosity on display.

Leonard Cohen, himself, was a masterful showman - minimising the patter and maximising its impact, gliding in and out of his back catalog of songs with an effortless grace. Not bad for a man of 76. His age has stooped him, but his magnificently apocalyptic voice was untremored as it guided us through the endless landscape of splintered relationships and through the deep wells of emotional pain.

Clare Bowditch was an exceptional support act. Seemingly dwarfed on stage with her best friend Pikelet as accompanist, Bowditch managed to turn the Acer Arena, the apotheosis of a fucking barn, into the most delicate of initimate spaces. No mean achievement.

Truly one of the greatest concerts I've ever had the privilege to attend.
OneOfThose
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Sydney, Australia, Nov. 8-9, 2010

Postby OneOfThose » Tue Nov 09, 2010 2:34 am

Great concert last night. The reworking of Bird on a Wire was sublime.

I just wish he would add a few more tunes from Ten New Songs and Dear Heather.
dce
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Sydney, Australia, Nov. 8-9, 2010

Postby dce » Tue Nov 09, 2010 2:43 am

Well the concert last night at the Acer Arena -- the first of two nights the band is playing is Sydney -- certainly turned out to be a bit of a dramatic journey, in many different ways. Ultimately, it ended up being an incredible night's performance, but there were steps along the road where it seemed (to me) that Leonard's "victory" over various obstacles was less than certain.

For the couple of days leading up to the concert, Sydney has put on some beautiful sunny weather as evidenced by Joey's photos (and the few that I put up on the forum Sunday), but on the afternoon of the concert the storm clouds suddenly came rolling in. And, as I sat outside the venue eating some food about an hour before the concert thunder, lightning and torrential rain came down. It kind of set a strange atmosphere ahead of the show, although fortunately the rain subsided completely by the time that the majority of people were arriving at the doors to the Acer Arena. It did give Cathy (from Adelaide) an excuse to wear her new blue raincoat to the venue (not yet famous :-), at least not until just mentioned here).

[Rant alert (please skip ahead if you don't want to read it): I have to admit that I'd never been to this arena before ... and, having seen concerts in many similar venues (some quite recently), I would have to say the Acer Arena is a terrible place to see a concert. The arena is a large and boxy indoor venue with incredible vertiginous tiered seating, apparently leading up into the clouds. From the back the stage must look as though it's in a different postcode. Fortunately, though, I had seats in (what should have been) a far better location -- on the floor, not too many rows back from the stage. But even with such good fortune, my view of the performers was severely limited ... mostly because the stage is relatively low. This means that even a medium-sized person sitting in the rows in front of you has a good chance of blocking your view. While this is a bit annoying, what I found much more irritating was the venue's poor sound, mainly caused by reflections off the sides and back of the arena. In loud sections of the performance it was pretty easy to hear the original sound, followed a fraction of a second later by an echo off one of these sections, and maybe even a third reflection later. This isn't really conducive to a good listening experience, and for a venue like this it's pretty unforgivable IMHO. This isn't BTW a criticism of the UHTC's sound engineers ... I'm sure they did the best they could with the venue they were given.]

Anyway, leaving aside the limitations of the venue, there was a far greater obstacle that Leonard was faced with during last night's performance: the audience. You know how sometimes a crowd is so enthusiastic about an artist that there is great warmth and energy right from the first moment the performer appears on stage? Well, Brisbane was like that ... but Sydney was almost the opposite. I don't mean to suggest that the audience didn't have great appreciation for Leonard -- they clearly did -- but their reactions to the songs in the first set was very muted (at least compared to audiences at other venues). The general reaction was more one of a respectful but restrained appreciation, rather than the slightly uninhibited display of admiration that has happened at other places. Going into the first break I had the definite sense that the band wasn't getting all that much energy from the audience ... and as a response the performance, while perfectly flawless in a technical way, was less imbued with the 'personality' that comes from a close connection between band and crowd.

Perhaps a performer of lesser statue than Leonard might have responded to such a situation by simply falling back on a tried-and-true set, kind of "phoning it in" with the assumption that it was just a "flat" audience. I guess I've seen people do that. But I think it's a mark of an extraordinary performer that Our Man did the exact opposite ... he tried to win over the crowd by giving of himself an extra measure. So, after delivering spirited renditions of the normal two opening tracks of the second set -- Tower of Song (this time beginning with some additional banter) and Suzanne -- he slipped in not one, but two solo songs on guitar. I am pretty sure that (as was the case in Brisbane), these weren't planned on the set list -- straight after Suzanne the band seemed about to kick straight into Sisters of Mercy and had to quickly make an about face back to the wings. The two songs we got were Avalanche (here played with a sensitivity and intensity that I don't think I've seen at other performances) and A Singer Must Die. The latter was a complete surprise, being quite a rare fixture at recent concerts. I think these solo performances were the axis on which the audience's response turned ... from the middle of the second set, things began to rapidly pick up. Ironically, I don't think it was Hallelujah that sealed the deal this time (it usually seems to be), but a sassier than usual I'm Your Man -- which the Sydney audience just went off for. For the rest of the night after that, the crowd were quite literally in the palm of Leonard's hand ... I have seldom seen a louder, rowdier, warmer or buzzing audience. A final hard-fought victory for Field Commander Cohen.

The set List for the show was:

Set 1

01 Dance Me To The End Of Love
02 The Future
03 Bird on the Wire
04 Everybody Knows
05 Who By Fire
06 The Darkness
07 Chelsea Hotel #2
08 Waiting For The Miracle
09 Ain't No Cure For Love
10 Anthem

Set 2

11 Tower of Song
12 Suzanne
13 Avalanche
14 A Singer Must Die
15 Sisters of Mercy
16 The Gypsy's Wife
17 The Partisan
18 Hallelujah
19 I'm Your Man
20 A Thousand Kisses Deep [recitation]
21 Take This Waltz

Encore 1

22 So Long, Marianne
23 Famous Blue Raincoat
24 First We Take Manhattan

Encore 2

25 I Tried To Leave You
26 Closing Time

All up, I think this added up to a little short of 3 hours total performance time ... so, by the standards of the NZ / Australian tour so far, one of the longer shows.

Some specific points I noticed:
  • Band appearance: for the first set, Rafael wore a hat. Charlie, who normally has a slight curl in her hair was wearing it entirely straight
  • Kangaroo Watch: sorry, B4real ... I didn't spot Matilda the kangaroo anywhere on stage :-)
  • Ain't No Cure For Love: Leonard skipped a line, simply not singing "I even heard the angels declare it from above"
  • Anthem: Leonard gave an extended spoken intro that cleverly referred back to banter common in earlier shows: "We started this tour 3 years ago. I was 73 .. just a kid with a crazy dream. It seems to keep on going. I'd like to thank you for inviting us back." The toenails line is still there.
  • Tower of Song: "Thank you so much for coming back; I know it's a school night ... so I appreciate it. I don't know how long to play, so if people just want to leave I will not be offended."
  • Avalanche: as mentioned above, this was an amazing performance of this rare live gem. The kind of thing that induces goosebumps.
  • A Singer Must Die: this was sung with several lyrical alterations from the recorded version, but I don't think any of these were new to this performance (but rather
    alterations that LC made some time ago). In case it's important, the first main change was "I am so afraid that I listen to you / your helmets and truncheons they do that to you / it's your ways ... " The second main change was the substitution of the verse about the ten/twelve/whatever dollar grave, here sung as: "And save me a place in the twelve dollar grave / for those who took money for the pleasures they gave / with those always ready, with those who undress / so you can lie down with your head on somebody's warm breast."
  • The Gypsy's Wife: for one entire verse of this song (the one beginning "The silver knives are flashing") Leonard didn't sing but let Sharon and the Webb sisters take lead.
  • Hallelujah: "I did not come to Sydney to fool you."
  • I'm Your Man: I don't know if "sassy" is a word you would normally use to describe a Cohen performance, but if you *could* ... this was a sassy rendition of this song. There were three minor lyrical additions: "if you want another kind of love, ok, I'll wear a leather mask for you"; "if you want to take me for a ride, you know damn well you can"; "if you want to try an absolutely new kind of love, I'll wear an old man's mask for you." The Sydney audience really enjoyed this song.
  • A Thousand Kisses Deep: once again this was a remarkably heartfelt rendition of this poem
  • First We Take Manhattan: At the beginning of this song, as the pulsing beat dominates, Dino usually whips the audience up .. getting them clapping. The same happened last night, but the sheer size of the audience turned this into a true "stadium rock" type moment that was quite a sight to behold.
  • I Tried to Leave You: Rafael not only gave a kiss to the camera during his solo, but Cathy (from Adelaide) swears he also gave a little wink. I believe her, it's the sort of think she'd notice :-). Rafael again set himself a very difficult mission when lobbing his brush up in the air -- this time it fell forward of the drum kit, but he managed to grab into it just as it was about to sail past.
  • Closing Time: Leonard gave a brief spoken intro: "Thank you for climbing up to those high places, I really appreciate it ... I'd love to stay all night." He then quickly
    checked his wrist watch before adding "I feel maybe we've stayed too long already. Now it's Closing Time". I'm guessing the latter referrs obliquely to working to a curfew. Leonard also gave a very touching extended version of the spoken outro to this song, giving the usual lines about how "they're stacking up the chairs" but also offering very gracious and sincere thanks to the audience. After the usual line about how they've turned off the Budweiser sign, he warned us "the parking lot's kind of dark so make sure you don't get into someone else's car. Then drive to somebody else's home."
Leonard and the UHTC return to the Acer Arena for a second night in Sydney tonight ... but sadly I will need to skip this show (to return home to work for a few days before rejoining the tour in Melbourne on Friday). I hope for all concerned that tonight's show soars to the same heights that last night's concert (eventually) reached, but maybe does so more effortlessly :-)


Dean (from Adelaide)
Last edited by dce on Tue Nov 09, 2010 5:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
(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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