Concert review: Forest Hills, New York 25 July 1970

Recollections from Leonard Cohen's pre-2008 tours, YouTube clips
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Geoffrey
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Concert review: Forest Hills, New York 25 July 1970

Postby Geoffrey » Sun Apr 29, 2012 12:19 am

Hello. I saw this on eBay, an internet auction site, recently. Made me laugh - ha ha ha!!!

Image
LEONARD COHEN
Forest Hills, New York

Canadian songwriter Leonard Cohen came to the Forest Hills Stadium July 25 to proclaim his self-definition. He is a nervous and uncomfortable man, setting out to use his extraordinary command of language and of other people's emotions to make the rest of the world equally nervous and uncomfortable. All his material, whether new or taken from his Columbia albums, had the predominant theme of death, explicit in the lyrics and emphasized by Cohen's lifeless delivery. He works hard to achieve that bloodless vocal, that dull, humorless quality of a voice speaking after death. And the voice does not offer comfort or wisdom; it expresses total defeat.

His art is oppressive. Rather than draw emotions out of his listeners, Cohen imposes his own, forcibly, through the pressure of his personality. There can be no catharsis when the communication does not work both ways.

NANCY ERLICH
(1970)
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Cheshire gal
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Re: Concert review: Forest Hills, New York 25 July 1970

Postby Cheshire gal » Sun Apr 29, 2012 1:04 am

My goodness... how wrong can anyone be. :lol:
'...and here's a man still working for your little smile' -Leonard Cohen
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DrHGuy
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Re: Concert review: Forest Hills, New York 25 July 1970

Postby DrHGuy » Sun Apr 29, 2012 6:22 pm

While Ms Erlich seems to have gone over the top, informing us that Leonard Cohen is a musical Svengali, ruthlessly using “his extraordinary command of language and other people’s emotions” to oppress, diminish, and emotionally deplete those who listen to his songs, there may be something to the notion that this was not Leonard Cohen's finest moment.

Consider backup singer Susan Musmanno’s recollection:
I had also forgotten that the concert in Forest Hills was really one of a series. That was the only bad performance we ever gave, and I think part of the reason was that Dylan was in the house that night, and we were all nervous.
And, according to Howard Sounes, writing in Down the Highway: The Life of Bob Dylan, Dylan and Cohen were in a competition for audiences, musicians, and Bob Johnston that "manifested itself ... when Bob attended a Cohen concert at Forest Hills."

Sounes' exposition of this point can be read at http://1heckofaguy.com/2012/04/29/leona ... ills-1970/

I also posted more about the Forest Hills concert in addition to the Erlich review at http://1heckofaguy.com/2011/05/24/leona ... -lifeless/
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Geoffrey
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Re: Concert review: Forest Hills, New York 25 July 1970

Postby Geoffrey » Tue May 01, 2012 12:23 am

DrHGuy wrote:I also posted more about the Forest Hills concert in addition to the Erlich review at http://1heckofaguy.com/2011/05/24/leona ... -lifeless/
i must say, you do have a most excellent website, mr guy.
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lizzytysh
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Re: Concert review: Forest Hills, New York 25 July 1970

Postby lizzytysh » Tue May 01, 2012 2:21 pm

. . . that dull, humorless quality of a voice speaking after death.
Now, that's a perspective I had never considered. I kinda like that.

Have to wonder, as one always does in situations like this, if Nancy ever saw another performance;
and where Nancy is today. The blanks fill themselves in.
"Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken."
~ Oscar Wilde
mickjaggerscat
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Re: Concert review: Forest Hills, New York 25 July 1970

Postby mickjaggerscat » Sat Dec 28, 2013 2:23 pm

Are we forgetting that one of Cohen's early albums featured a suicide note from a woman on its back cover? The implication beingshe had killed herself for him, which was bad enough, but why was he was advertizing it? To honour her noble gesture, enhance his image, attract more suicidal women into his life? No hagiographer mentions that -- I just did a quick Google to find out which album cover that was, and nothing came up but no one who followed his early career could have missed it. Back then, it seemed like a good reason not to buy his records -- and most of my friends agreed. Erlich expresses what a lot of people felt about Cohen's early songs, and stage presence. He was not considered exactly "wholesome", seemed to arrive out of nowhere like a breath of patriarchal vengeance. My generation (who grew up with the Beatles) viewed him with suspicion even though, or maybe because, he was a local boy who had somehow landed a recording contract. Was he kidding? Or just insane? We would have agreed with this review, based on his performances and persona around town. The word most often attached to him in those days was "creep." We saw him as a rich kid who had somehow managed to gain a following that included mental patients and street people who thought he was monitoring their thoughts. A few people appreciated his black humour, and were waiting for him to grow out of his narcissism. The only reason I actually attended one of his concerts in 1975, was that I was living in exile in southern Ontario and was homesick for Montreal. I went, with some friends, afraid they would be bored and I would be embarrassed but it turned out to be a very powerful concert. Afterwards we discussed how he seemed to have put the entire audience under a trance.
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blonde madonna
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Re: Concert review: Forest Hills, New York 25 July 1970

Postby blonde madonna » Sun Dec 29, 2013 7:02 am

It was Live Songs.
It wasn't a suicide note.
The writer, a poet and artist, did committ suicide, she suffered from a mental illness, it was not because of Cohen.
I believe he included her writing in the liner notes as a sign of respect.

Lots of people just didn't understand Cohen in the early days, you sound like you were one of them.
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Re: Concert review: Forest Hills, New York 25 July 1970

Postby mickjaggerscat » Sun Dec 29, 2013 12:40 pm

Lots of people fail to understand him even now (: Not surprising, since it's a long and complicated history that includes the Rothschilds, MI6, Rosicrucians, 17th century False Messiahs, the MKULTRA program, Operation Paperclip, COINTELPRO and counter-revolutionary movements, the anti-Castro Mafia, Zionism, Ronald Reagan, the Lubavitchers -- if you really want to understand Cohen, you need to reearch all of the above.
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Re: Concert review: Forest Hills, New York 25 July 1970

Postby mickjaggerscat » Sun Dec 29, 2013 1:35 pm

More to the point: Recent Songs appeared in 1973, well after Erlich's review. But she sums up what many people felt about him back home in Canada. In the US, very few people had even heard of him. Maybe his Montreal audience failed to understand him, but then, all we had to go on in 1970 were several books of poems (including the recent ENERGY OF SLAVES), 2 albums, two novels (the second of which, BEAUTIFUL LOSERS, still puzzles critics).

We could read, so even we knew it was not "literally" a suicide note written written to Cohen but what was it doing on the album cover? Flipping it over, we saw a photo of the singer looking like a prisoner on Death Row. On second thought, maybe a Zen monk in a military outfit grabbing a smoke in a public toilet. Either way, our Leonard was looking "penitent" -- or wanted us to think that. Perhaps his hollow stare is a clue to something he is not telling us, which we could only figure out by putting out some cash and listening to the songs? Some of us decided to wait and see.

Obviously both images are there for shock effect, to draw us into some core enigma. If, all these years later, no one is talking about the dead woman's scrawled note (if it wasnt written to him, how did he get it? I'm still searching for the text but I recall it suggested sexual immolation, an encounter with the Divine, preJoan of Arc -- Not everyone at the time was ready to leap to the conclusion that these images and mysteries were benevolently spiritual. We had the impression the subtect was, "I am God. Keep away. I will kill you if you come too close." We found that a bit, well, odd.

So Nancy Erlich's review, three years earlier, was representative of people who found Leonard pretty dark and even disturbing. Did we misunderstand, or has there been a massive shift, since then, in the direction of darkness ?

Debate, discuss.
vanbonn
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Re: Concert review: Forest Hills, New York 25 July 1970

Postby vanbonn » Sun Jan 05, 2014 8:35 am

Awesome!
what a document - I will hang it above my Norwegian turntables 8)
2010: Salzburg 2012: Amsterdam, Amsterdam 2013: Ljubljana, Vienna, Amsterdam

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