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CONCERT REPORTS: Melbourne, Australia, Nov. 12 & 13, 2010

Posted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 5:39 am
by sturgess66
I think it is about 2:00 p.m., Friday, November 12, 2010 in Melbourne, Australia. It must also be about time for a sound check.

Here's where they are - Leonard Cohen and the Unified Heart Touring Company.
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Melbourne is the capital of the State of Victoria and was ranked number three in the Economist's World 's Most Livable Cities (after Vancouver and Vienna), and is the fastest growing city in Australia.
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The venue is the Rod Laver arena. Built in 1988, and originally named Flinders Park, the name was changed in 2000 to honour tennis player Rod Laver. It has a retractable roof and the capacity is closed to 15,000 people.

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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Melbourne, Australia, Nov. 12-13, 2010

Posted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 6:41 am
by Andrew (Darby)
Just a small correction: Rod Laver was a former Aussie tennis great ;-) - link below provides some info about him.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rod_Laver

Cheers,
Andrew :)

Re: CONCERT REPORT: Melbourne, Australia, Nov. 12-13, 2010

Posted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 6:44 am
by sturgess66
Thanks Andrew! :lol: :lol:

Re: CONCERT REPORT: Melbourne, Australia, Nov. 12-13, 2010

Posted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 10:36 am
by neo
sturgess66 wrote:I think it is about 2:00 p.m., Friday, November 12, 2010 in Melbourne, Australia. It must also be about time for a sound check.


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Overcast and humid in the city, but it’s show day and time to get to the venue.

*Melbourne, Australia

Seems they're late... :D

Re: CONCERT REPORT: Melbourne, Australia, Nov. 12-13, 2010

Posted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 2:48 pm
by sturgess66
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Tonight’s show is at the Rod Laver tennis arena, a venue the troupe played last time we were down under. Full house expected tonight, can’t wait to get started.
* Rod Laver Arena - Melbourne, Australia
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Simultaneous focus and soundcheck in effect.
* Rod Laver Arena - Melbourne, Australia
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Camera check for exposure and sight lines. A couple of familiar tunes reappearing at soundcheck, perhaps somethings brewing.
* Rod Laver Arena - Melbourne, Australia
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Clare Bowditch and daughter check out a little of the UHTC soundcheck.
* Rod Laver Arena - Melbourne, Australia

Re: CONCERT REPORT: Melbourne, Australia, Nov. 12-13, 2010

Posted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 2:52 pm
by MasterThief
Feeling homesick looking at Joey's pics. I can smell the food in Pellegrinis just looking at that photo of the empty plate. I hope my sister is loving the show from her front row centre seat and isn't too shy to ask for the set list for me at the end.

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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Melbourne, Australia, Nov. 12-13, 2010

Posted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 4:55 pm
by adam1
Quite a good show tonight. Bit on the short side and not the best audience but solid throughout.

Setlist was a bit mixed up.. A picture is here: http://anddinosaurs.tumblr.com/post/155 ... ks-leonard
I'm on my phone so can't post it directly but if someone else could that would be appreciated.

Changes:
-no Born In Chains or The Darkness
-Famous Blue Raincoat was pulled out early after Who By Fire
-No That Don't Make It Junk
-Avalanche and A Singer Must Die after Suzanne.
-Closing Time after I Tried To Leave You.

To me the show started off really strong (Leonard had some lovely words for us before Dance Me, and Javier's solo before Who By Fire was the best I've seen) but while it was great the whole way, it didn't reach the heights of Sydney 1... Again the crowd was a bit subdued which was a shame.

Great to see Democracy back too. Taking the opportunity to see some of Melbourne's amazing local music tomorrow, but am heading to Hobart for what should be a pretty special show. Fingers crossed for One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong, There Is A War or Lover Lover Lover (one can dream right?)

Also, not sure if it's been discussed but the show posters are hand numbered out of 150. Managed to get one post-show tonight, after the first merch stand in front of me sold out... And then managed to keep it dry! Might frame it with my setlist and ticket stub if I find the will/money. But yeah, a heads up there on just how limited they are.

Re: CONCERT REPORT: Melbourne, Australia, Nov. 12-13, 2010

Posted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 6:13 pm
by sturgess66
Video uploaded by "Th0seDo0dz" - Thanks!

"Hallelujah" - "I did not come to the mysterious City of Melbourne to fool you"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCpeaRtnF8Q

Re: CONCERT REPORT: Melbourne, Australia, Nov. 12-13, 2010

Posted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 7:36 pm
by dce
Well, it's 3 in the morning (the beginning of November) ... and I've just arrived back at my hotel from the fan meet-up at Ania's house. Fantastic to meet up with several forum members -- Ania, Andrew (Darby) and mat james. I also got the opportunity to meet notjustadoll at the venue.

Hope everybody enjoys their lanyards :-) Seems like lots of the forum folk in attendance tonight will also be at either the Hobart show or at Hanging Rock, so these could end up as big forum gatherings too!

Now, I really need to get some sleep.


Dean (from Adelaide)

Re: CONCERT REPORT: Melbourne, Australia, Nov. 12-13, 2010

Posted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 10:20 pm
by sturgess66
More from Joey -

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Javier Mas opened up Who By Fire with a spicy solo and Roscoe Beck closed it up with some smooth slides on the upright bass.
* Rod Laver Arena - Melbourne, Australia
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Neil Larsen throws down.
* Rod Laver Arena - Melbourne, Australia
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Time for the Tower.
* Rod Laver Arena - Melbourne, Australia
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A Singer Must Die.
* Rod Laver Arena - Melbourne, Australia /quote]
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Dino Soldo gets the crowd going for First We Take Manhattan.
* Rod Laver Arena - Melbourne, Australia /quote]
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Sharon Robinson just utterly burns the house down with her solo tonight in Tried To Leave You.
* Rod Laver Arena - Melbourne, Australia
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That’ll do for tonight.
* Rod Laver Arena - Melbourne, Australia

Re: CONCERT REPORT: Melbourne, Australia, Nov. 12-13, 2010

Posted: Sat Nov 13, 2010 12:48 am
by MasterThief
This is Mr Cohen's view of my sister in the front row. I wish I had told her to wave.
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Melbourne, Australia, Nov. 12-13, 2010

Posted: Sat Nov 13, 2010 4:32 am
by dce
Last night's concert marked Leonard's return to Melbourne a little less than two years after his last show, which was a very emotional concert which took place at a time when the state of Victoria was in the midsts of its worst ever bushfires. This show was a worthy successor to that last, memorable performance, although perhaps not rising to quite the same heights of emotion as either that earlier show or (ironically) Monday's show in Sydney.

The weather in Melbourne (which is always somewhat changeable) was oddly humid throughout the day, but a change was forecast to come through in the evening. As it transpired, the massive and sudden downpour -- complete with thunder and lightning -- came in just as most fans were making their way to the arena. Like many fans I was coming to the venue from the city via the large covered bridge which goes across the railway and tramway tracks at the rear of the arena. By the time I got to this bridge the storm was in full swing and many people seemed to be huddling under the bridge canopy waiting for it to subside. Fortunately I'd remembered to bring an umbrella, although many hadn't.

As mentioned elsewhere, I had the enormous good fortune to meet up with several folks from the forum at this concert -- I tracked down Andrew (Darby) before the show; notjustadoll found me in my seat; and we all met up with ania after the show for drinks. As always, everyone was wonderful and gracious and enthusiastic about Cohen and his music. It was a real pleasure to spend a couple of hours sharing a few drinks with like minded fans (and a few newly converted ones).

The Rod Laver arena is another one of the big and boxy sporting arenas that form most of the venues for Leonard's tour of Australian and New Zealand. But despite this, sound quality was excellent and the view from the floor was also good (even though I was quite a way back). Acer Arena could learn a *lot* from the way this venue was set up.

I don't really know why, but Leonard seems to feel particularly at ease in Melbourne ... at his show last year, he was clearly affected by the tragedy that was taking place at the time and spoke some very kind and sensitive words (not to mention donating a big chunk of money to the cause). At last night's show, it was totally clear from the first second he came to the stage that he was feeling very comfortable in front of this audience. He was generally a lot chattier throughout (particularly in the first set), and actually started the show by giving quite a long spoken monologue before the band had played their first note -- something I don't think I've seen before, and a definite sign that Our Man feels very much with friends here in Melbourne. Hopefully this will continue over to tonight's show, as it creates quite a vibrant and engaging atmosphere which in turn energises the audience.

The crowd was generally very warm and effusive with its applause, actually being quite a loud audience. The huge cheer that went up when Leonard first took the stage was probably the loudest and most energetic that I've heard on this tour so far. Strangely, however, while the level of audience response was high throughout it never much evolved as the night went on -- it was fairly much a similar level throughout. Contrast this with the Sydney show from Monday, which started quite flat but went through a dramatic change to end up with the crowd being almost ecstatic by the end. The Melbourne crowd seemed happy to offer up big applause, and occasional shouts of "We Love You Leonard!", but were a litte slower than usual to offer up a standing ovation at the end of Set 2 and the encores. It made for an atmosphere of undoubted warmth, but also felt a little like the crowd were holding back. [One of the things I've puzzled over now that I've seen many Cohen shows in short succession is the different ways audiences respond ... I still haven't fathomed the dynamics, and last night is still a bit of a mystery to me. Perhaps that's why Leonard referred to "the mysterious city of Melbourne" (see Hallelujah notes below).]

As far as the set-list is concerned, this show represented a bit of a shuffling of songs and one big 'new' addition. The main shuffling that took place was to move Famous Blue Raincoat from the Encore set to the first set. This made the encores one song shorter, although the overall duration of the show was very much similar to other recent Australian shows (8:15 start, 11:15 sharp end with a precise 20 minute interval). The big 'new' addition was Democracy, added in to the first set ... Looking back at Maarten's set lists, this song hasn't been performed in the main set since mid-2009 (although has been scattered occasionally in encores), and is a welcome return.

Overall I'm slightly in two minds about the set-list from last night's show: from my own (maybe selfish) perspective it is great to see the set list change from night to night. However, the omission of all three "currently active" new songs (The Darkness, Born In Chains and Feels So Good) means that there was little that was truly new for the Melbourne audience.


The full set list for the night 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 Famous Blue Raincoat
07 Democracy
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
20 A Thousand Kisses Deep [recitation]
21 Take This Waltz

Encore 1

22 So Long, Marianne
23 First We Take Manhattan

Encore 2

24 I Tried To Leave You
25 Closing Time


Some specific points I noticed, which make this show unique:
  • Age of the audience: there was a much greater age range present at this show than any other show on this Australian tour so far -- I saw people from 18 to 80
  • Appearance of the performers: I noticed for the first time that Javier's suit has bright red buttons on the cuffs, which are quite eye-catching. I'm not sure if it was due to the stage area being hotter than usual, or his performance being more energetic, but Dino's bald head was clearly beaded with sweat for most of the first set solos.
  • Curfew: While we still don't know why the Australian shows are a little shorter than other recent performances by the band, I noticed last night when looking at one of the video screen shots taken of Leonard from behind, that he has a very large clock propped up on the stage in front of him (between a pair of set lists). So time is clearly of some importance :-)
  • Intro monologue: as mentioned, Leonard spoke as soon as he was on stage. He said: "Thank you so much for that warm welcome, I really appreciate it. We're very happy to be invited back and I really want to thank you for climbing those heights. And please don't lean forward, because that would produce an avalanche .. which would only be amusing in the short run. Ah, so happy to be back here ... I was sitting with Roscoe and Ed on Bourke St the other day watching the people go by - everybody had a smile on their face and I remarked that I guess they hadn't heard the bad news. I guess that's why I'm here though." He then went on to tell the audience that tonight the band was going to give everything they've got.
  • Everybody Knows: Leonard continues to experiment quite a bit with his vocal delivery of this song. Last night's performance included a whole section where he deliberately syncopated his vocal lines with the rhythms of the music, which made for a slightly different feel.
  • Who By Fire: Javier gave a different (but still long) intro to the song. This time around the first third sounded (to me) more like a classical Spanish guitar piece, while the last third was peppered with extreme pitch bends caused by Javier wildly pushing the lower strings up against the higher strings on the fret.
  • Famous Blue Raincoat: as mentioned, moved from the encores into the main set. As with a couple of performances ago, there was a vocal elaboration: "The Ancient Enemy is sleeping"
  • Democracy: this song seems to have slightly morphed since the last time I heard it, mainly in little ways. Leonard refrained from singing the first chorus, letting the girls take the honours. The little splash cymbal accent that was used in several places (e.g., after "coming through a crack in the wall") seems to have been dropped. Leonard gave a jokey spoken intro to the song: "This next song's about a political system. It's not about an election. It's not about a candidate. It's not about an agenda. It's true that my opinons may change but that doesn't alter the fact that I'm right" Part of this presumably refers back to the way this song was co-opted by one of the American political parties for a campaign in the 90s.
  • Anthem: Leonard gave his normal spoken intro about how priveleged we are to be able to gather ("those who can, ring the bells"). During the band introductions, Dino was introduced as playing "the black clarinet" (but not the "silver guitar", which I think is fair since the omission of Feels So Good means that Dino *doesn't* actually play guitar during the performance). Rafael's intro continues to evolve: he's moved on from clipping "its" toenails to clipping "its" fingernails. One can but wonder where this is heading ...
  • The Flowers: Just as Leonard was telling the audience that the band was leaving for a set break, a lady in the very front row thrust a bouquet of flowers up on stage. It slightly blindsided Leonard who quickly responded "Thank you very much, I appreciate it" before picking up the flowers and putting them down behind him. According to ania (who was seated nearby), the lady was holding the flowers in Leonard's general direction for quite some time before he noticed ... and apparently they were flowers grown in her own garden. Sweet.
  • Tower of Song: a bit of a mistake with the Rod Laver Arena's system of warning patrons that the performance is just starting meant that a series of very audible "reminder" tones got played in the auditorium while Leonard was singing "Hank Williams hasn't answered yet." I think that's pretty unforgivable, and if I were the performer I would be disappointed.
  • Suzanne: On some nights Leonard seems to be in just the mind-set for this song, maybe channelling the younger man who went down to the place by the river. Tonight was one of those occasions when he totally nailed this song.
  • Avalanche: again there was the lyric "I never knew how much I wanted you, oh love beyond belief". For this performance of the song, Leonard's vocals seemed especially emotive.
  • A Singer Must Die: this song apparently has a new lighting design (very nice, see my photos). There was a minor lyrical elaboration: "your helmets your truncheons, the message comes through"
  • Hallelujah: Name check -- "I did not come to the mysterious city of Melbourne to fool you". Strangely, just before delivering this line (actually at the beginning of the verse) Leonard paused for several bars which meant we got an unusual laid-back instrumental break right in the most emotionally intense part of the song. Kind of unsual.
  • I'm Your Man: As with the Sydney show, this song provoked a lot of cat-calling from the audience. It wasn't as sleazy as the Sydney performance, but was still a big hit with the audience. We had the now-common "wear an old man's mask for you" as well as the newer "you know damn well you can".
  • A Thousand Kisses Deep: This was a very expressive reading of this poem, very heart-felt. Because of this there was more than usual audience feedback during the reading -- laughter in the places Leonard intends and some nice applause.
  • First We Take Manhattan: I'm not sure if Rafael has been listening to Parliament CDs in the tour bus, but he seemed to be really trying to funk up the rhythm in this performance of the song. He even threw in a few extra double-kicks to the normal rhythm at a few points. This, and some nice organ solos, definitely gave this a more than usual funkiness
  • I Tried To Leave You: Somewhere around Leonard singing the line, "I cannot deny" a woman from the back of the auditorium very loudly yelled out "We love you Leonard," to which the crowd gave a big applause. During the drum solo, Rafael gave a kiss and wink combo to the camera (I saw it this time, not having the talents of Cathy (from Adelaide) with me on the night). He also set himself a fairly easy task when tossing his brush ... and easily caught it.
  • Closing Time: Leonard gave a shortish version of the spoken outro about stacking up the chairs, etc. This seems to have now become a standard part of the song. His very last words to the audience was "Until the next time!"
For me, the proverbial "next time" is back at Rod Laver tonight for Melbourne, Night 2. Here's hoping for an equally spirited performance ...


Dean (from Adelaide)

Re: CONCERT REPORT: Melbourne, Australia, Nov. 12-13, 2010

Posted: Sat Nov 13, 2010 4:55 am
by dce
Photos from Melbourne, Night 1

Sadly, I was without the services of my normal photographer sidekick (Cathy (from Adelaide)), so I had to juggle between note-taking and photo-taking while somehow still listening to the concert. I think I did ok ...

The heavens opened just as fans were making their way to the arena ... this photo captures pretty well the "mad dash" that I and many other were forced to do to avoid being drenched:
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"Let me come into your storm" -- Rod Laver Arena under rain:
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Clare Bowditch again did a great job as a support act -- here she is showing off her ability to clap without her hands touching:
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A shadow hovering over Javier Mas during the introduction to Who By Fire:
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The tiered seating at Rod Laver has little lights at the end of rows to let you see the row number ... these stay on during the performance, meaning that looking up from the stage or the floor, you see several little rows of "landing lights":
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The wider view:
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Leonard's much-celebrated keyboard solo:
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New lighting for A Singer Must Die. Very Fritz Lang :-)
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Dean (from Adelaide)

Re: CONCERT REPORT: Melbourne, Australia, Nov. 12-13, 2010

Posted: Sat Nov 13, 2010 5:37 am
by Andrew (Darby)
Nobody could possibly add much more to Dean’s comprehensive and detailed reports, but I must say on a more personal note, that it was a pleasure for me to attend the concert with three people who had never seen Leonard perform before. 8) In fact one of them, Michael, who must have been in his mid thirties, has been a fan since he was 11 years of age and only got the concert ticket offered to him (by default) the same afternoon :!:

It was also great to catch up with our Forum friends, mat james, dce (Dean) & Blonde Madonna, including having a nice post-concert drinks gathering at Ania’s. :) This also provided me with the opportunity to give Ania her “bag of goodies” from the Krakow Event and relish seeing her enjoying going through it – it was also the first time she had laid eyes on the hard copy event booklet, which she was the graphic designer of and is justifiably proud of! 8)

Finally, it was so good to hear first hand about Dean’s Oz/NZ Leonard tour experience – something he conveys with such enthusiasm and joy. :D He deserves some sort of award I reckon – perhaps we could call it the ‘Travelled So Far for Beauty’ award! ;-) Anyway, I’m looking forward to catching up with him again after tonight’s show & others are welcome again to join us. (If you’re interested, just PM one of us for our mobile phone details.)

Cheers,
Andrew :)

Re: CONCERT REPORT: Melbourne, Australia, Nov. 12-13, 2010

Posted: Sat Nov 13, 2010 1:30 pm
by wombat writer
Finally, it was so good to hear first hand about Dean’s Oz/NZ Leonard tour experience – something he conveys with such enthusiasm and joy. He deserves some sort of award I reckon – perhaps we could call it the ‘Travelled So Far for Beauty’ award!
I couldn't agree more. Having managed just the one concert, I am sooooo envious of Dean but also extremely grateful.