CONCERT REPORT: Milwaukee, WI, March 15, 2013

Everything about the first leg of Leonard Cohen's World Tour 2013
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CONCERT REPORT: Milwaukee, WI, March 15, 2013

Postby jarkko » Sat Mar 16, 2013 7:20 pm

http://www.jsonline.com/entertainment/m ... 71621.html
Leonard Cohen reverent - and remarkable - at Milwaukee Theatre show


At 78 years old, the legendary singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen performed at the Milwaukee Theatre for the first time in 38 years Friday night.
By Jon M. Gilbertson, Special to the Journal Sentinel

Leonard Cohen was on his knees - sometimes one, sometimes the other, sometimes both - quite often during his performance at the Milwaukee Theatre Friday night.

This wasn't because, as he pointed out early on, he hadn't played a live show in Milwaukee for 38 years. Nor was it because he's 78 years old and probably doesn't care to stand any longer than he must.

It might, however, have been because Cohen was genuflecting to his own peculiar talent, and to the near-capacity crowd that came out to honor it.

Cohen's voice, by contrast, was not an innately spiritual thing.

It was too vigorous to be a croak and too comprehensible to be a mutter; it was more of a stage whisper that could be seductive (like an old lover) or sinister (like a nemesis inclined to make threatening phone calls at 3 a.m.).

Despite its inability to reach glory, though, Cohen's voice could often at least point the way toward it. And like, but not too much like, some of his 1960s contemporaries (Bob Dylan will inevitably come to mind in a moment), Cohen has long made up for his singing with his writing.

Yet as he ranged through two sets that totaled roughly three hours, Cohen made it clear, without ever actually saying so, that he was never as gnomic as Dylan, as raw as Neil Young or as collegiate as Paul Simon.

He was, and is, a kind of Cole Porter for the rock 'n' roll era, with a similar combination of bright desolation and gallows wit. He also had musicians who probably could've found regular employment in Porter's time.

The self-lacerating explanations of "Bird on a Wire" got blues healing from the guitar of Mitch Watkins and gospel grace from the keyboards of Neil Larsen.

The wish for hope of "Come Healing" (from his most recent album, last year's "Old Ideas") gained elegance from the opening harmonies of sisters Charley and Hattie Webb.

And the mockery - of American confidence/arrogance and of Ronnie Milsap-era country-pop - within "Democracy" got an ironic patriotic charge from the martial rhythms of drummer Rafael Gayol and bassist Roscoe Beck.

Violinist Alexandru Bublitchi, multi-instrumentalist Javier Mas and lead backup singer Sharon Robinson also elevated and energized not only Cohen's songs but also Cohen himself, who bowed to his band only slightly less often than he knelt in front of the audience.

The audience, in turn, could hardly have been any more enthusiastic or respectful - as if, in response to one of his most famous songs, "Hallelujah," everyone present decided to meditate upon Leonard Cohen.

Everyone meditated with standing ovations, that's all.
1988, 1993: Helsinki||2008: Manchester|Oslo|London O2|Berlin|Helsinki|London RAH|| 2009: New York Beacon|Berlin|Venice|Barcelona|Las Vegas|San José||2010: Salzburg|Helsinki|Gent|Bratislava|Las Vegas|| 2012: Gent|Helsinki|Verona|| 2013: New York|Pula|Oslo|||
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Milwaukee, WI, March 15, 2013

Postby sturgess66 » Sat Mar 16, 2013 8:21 pm

Also from JSOnline - a photoset -

http://www.jsonline.com/entertainment/m ... 03251.html
Leonard Cohen performs at Milwaukee Theatre

Leonard Cohen was on his knees - sometimes one, sometimes the other, sometimes both - quite often during his performance at the Milwaukee Theatre Friday night.

At 78 years old, legendary singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen performs at the Milwaukee Theatre for the first time in 38 years Friday night. 'I didn't want to be a pest,' Cohen joked with the crowd. -
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Milwaukee, WI, March 15, 2013

Postby sturgess66 » Sat Mar 16, 2013 9:00 pm

Nice video uploaded by tygertrap - Thanks!

Famous Blue Raincoat
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ohLft4Tg3uA
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Milwaukee, WI, March 15, 2013

Postby sturgess66 » Sat Mar 16, 2013 10:35 pm

This is the set list as posted at setlist.fm

http://www.setlist.fm/setlist/leonard-c ... b4f03.html
First Set
Dance Me to the End of Love
The Future
Bird on the Wire
Everybody Knows
Who by Fire
Darkness
Ain't No Cure for Love
Amen
Come Healing
Democracy
A Thousand Kisses Deep
(recitation)
Anthem
Second Set
Tower of Song
Suzanne
Waiting for the Miracle
Show Me the Place
Anyhow
Lover Lover Lover
Alexandra Leaving
(performed by Sharon Robinson)
I'm Your Man
Hallelujah
Take This Waltz
Encore:
So Long, Marianne
Going Home
First We Take Manhattan
Encore 2:
Famous Blue Raincoat
If It Be Your Will
(performed by the Webb Sisters)
Closing Time
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Milwaukee, WI, March 15, 2013

Postby sturgess66 » Sun Mar 17, 2013 3:27 am

From OnMilwaukee -
http://onmilwaukee.com/myOMC/authors/on ... eview.html
[Click on link to see John Sieger cartoon drawing]
Yes, he's fedorable." Drawing by John Sieger of Leonard Cohen at the Milwaukee Theatre last night.

Hallelujah, Leonard, I'm your man!

By John Sieger, special to OnMilwaukee.com
Published March 16, 2013 at 3:24 p.m.

If Leonard Cohen didn't exist, David Lynch would have to invent him.

In a performance with his stellar nine-piece band that was a mystifying mixture of "Blue Velvet" and dialog with that other poet of song, Bob Dylan, Cohen delivered an evening that moved a capacity audience from the first song to the last. It didn't hurt that the first song was "Dance Me to the End of Time," his meditation on love (his most common topic) and the Holocaust.

It also didn't hurt that he immediately dropped to his apparently much younger knees in a posture that evoked a more humble James Brown. To even pull off a song with references to that tragic chapter in history is an accomplishment; to put it across with grace and panache to a Downtown crowd on a Friday night is simply amazing.

And just who are these Cohen fans?

I was a lukewarm one until last night, but now I'm close to red hot. I always respected the man's work, chuckled at a few of his best lines and adored, along with generations of Americans, his song "Hallelujah."

Having said that, I am wary of a certain middle-brow vibe that can surround shows that attract this demographic. Often, it can prove to be an evening of professional but not necessarily risky show biz.

This had all the trappings: an elegant set with curtains dropping like the aurora borealis from the heavens and changing colors just as often, the band and the man in tasteful black or charcoal grey suits and every touch of production, from sound to the obligatory curtsying guitar techs, doing their jobs.

What distinguishes the "Man with the Golden Voice" from many of his contemporaries, and allows him to rise a little above the middle-brow crowd, is his songs. Each of them has an equal measure of danger and sly humor written in, and once that's done all that's left to do is hone the performance. He has obviously approached that task with gusto.

Claiming he "didn't want to be a nuisance" after not playing Milwaukee for 38 years, he sprinkled his set with funny lines, including the one where he rolls out of bed, a somewhat haggard old man, steps to the mirror and says to himself, "Lighten up, Cohen!"

The trick, of course, with most of his material somewhat south of the mid-tempo mark, was to make it all come alive. He seemed to have no problem owning the courtly statesman character he has created and his frequent introductions of his band, which included his collaborator, Sharon Robinson, and bassist/musical director, Roscoe Beck – lately in town to work on some Greg Koch tracks.

My conversion began on the first number and I was ready to testify by the time he finished the stunning early career number "Bird On A Wire." Had there been a call to the stage, I would have been ready by the time he was through with "Everybody Knows," and if he had been recruiting martyrs for his world crusade, the stunning recitation of his poem (you read that right, poem), "A Thousand Kisses Deep," would have sent me to boot camp.

The troops rallied for "Democracy Is Coming to the USA," kicked off with a martial snare by Rafael Gayol (who spent a few years here playing with The BoDeans) and the The Webb Sisters, along with Ms Robinson, marching in place. Javier Mas, a Spanish virtuoso on an instrument called the twelve string bandurria, soloed for a few minutes at the beginning of "Who By Fire."

Other highlights included "Suzanne," probably one of his most covered songs, and the one that really introduced his European aesthetic to the world and "I'm your Man," a lusty roue's advertisement.

Then came the song that has been performed by many but never stolen from the gruff voiced crooner, "Hallelujah." Like Johnny Cash and Dylan, he proved that you can't top a wily older performer with cheap tricks like singing well.

The sense that a truly generous spirit took command of the stage in a state of zen-like control was unavoidable and the three-plus hour show (not always a treat), which featured three encores, demonstrated a level of energy and commitment rare in today's music.

Let's hope he doesn't wait another 38 years to drop in on us again.
Tags: Leonard Cohen, "Hallelujah," Milwaukee Theater, Bob Dylan, David Lynch, crooner, "man with the golden voice"
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Milwaukee, WI, March 15, 2013

Postby vickiwoodyard » Sun Mar 17, 2013 4:00 am

Thank God this reviewer "rang in." Well-said!
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Milwaukee, WI, March 15, 2013

Postby Tchocolatl » Sun Mar 17, 2013 4:36 am

I like this article. No fedora and no palpable in it. It feels good to read it. And I like the freudian slippery.
"Dance Me to the End of Time,"
... ?

"and I knew our joy would fill the Earth and last till the end of time, my love" (?)
***
"He can love the shape of human beings, the fine and twisted shapes of the heart. It is good to have among us such men, such balancing monsters of love."

Leonard Cohen
Beautiful Losers
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Milwaukee, WI, March 15, 2013

Postby Sweetannie33 » Sun Mar 17, 2013 5:28 am

This concert was magic. Every seat was filled . Everyone in the audience treated it as sacred , yet jubilant .
I could sense the entire crew was not completely well , but I have never seen leonard so connected and jovial at the same time. You could feel Arlene in the air and leonard spoke some words before leaving stage that I hope someone can recall. I got to kneel before the stage while he sang famous blue raincoat and it literally turned my soul inside out. This was my 17 th show . I have been listening to leonard since I was eight. This was my last time seeing him , I am so grateful .... To the crew to the forces that have made this happen . Thank you does not cover it. And to those of you who were in the audience that night thank you .
It was a visceral contrast to Chicago the evening before. Which was hideous . The venue was beyond stunning , the united hearts crew were spot on . But the audience was disrespectful , including countless people walking to the pit mid song, non stop photo taking and video recording , drinking and eating . It was distracting as an audience member and offensive .
For all of you who will see this lot again on this tour , I hope that the vibe is akin to milwaukee .
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Milwaukee, WI, March 15, 2013

Postby vickiwoodyard » Sun Mar 17, 2013 6:16 am

I can't fathom why people are so disrespectful while attending a show where people have paid top dollar and planned long in advance, in some cases,
to make sure they could experience the magic that is Leonard Cohen. And they disrupt the energy....not to mention interrupting people's field of vision, etc.
Of course, Leonard prevails in spite of it all. Thank God.
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Milwaukee, WI, March 15, 2013

Postby sturgess66 » Sun Mar 17, 2013 6:40 am

Video uploaded by "Ugur Arcan" - Thanks!

Dance Me To The End Of Love
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEhBXwQ7-no
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Milwaukee, WI, March 15, 2013

Postby kokenpere » Sun Mar 17, 2013 7:44 am

An unforgetable evening. :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Milwaukee, WI, March 15, 2013

Postby Joe Way » Mon Mar 18, 2013 2:12 am

Leonard back in Wisconsin! Anne & I saw him at the Field House in Madison in 1970. I had just started my first job when he performed in Milwaukee in 1975.

The Milwaukee Theater used to be the old Auditorium where I saw my first concert, "The Kingston Trio" way back in the early 1960's. It is now a beautiful venue that seats about 4000 people.

Leonard started the concert by acknowledging the many years that it had been since he performed in Milwaukee. "I didn't want to be a nuisance" he said. The crowd was really into seeing him. He immediately received a standing ovation. There was terrific energy right from the start.

He spent more time on his knees than I'd ever seen before. While introducing, "Ain't No Cure for Love" he said, "I drag myself out of bed and place myself before the mirror. Christ, Cohen, lighten up! How many years can you continue to pout?"

Democracy was moved to the first set. It is such a wonderful version with the "Jew's Harp." The crowd was so into it. Anne & I kept jumping up for the standing ovations. "Come Healing" was absolutely the most beautiful version I've ever heard. The same holds true for "Show Me The Place" in the second set. It just amazes me how much these new songs add to the overall experience of his concert. Not that it surprises me, but the new songs add much complexity to the night.

Anne & I met Mike Lutomski (Kokenpere) who has had a number of physical problems that he has overcome in an amazing manner.. We also met our dear friend, Vlasta. All and all it made for such a wonderful night. Mike has had seven cranial surgeries (I'm sorry for revealing personal information, but he is such a good guy). Mike is a miracle who keeps up now. We had dinner together at an Italian Restaurant, " Calderone." When we sat down we discovered a couple from Madison, one who is the guy who is my counterpoint in another conference center in Madison. We also saw Bob & Barb who went to the event this summer.

Leonard said something to the effect, that his key board playing was not all he could give. And he answered, by playing with his elbow. It's hard to know what to say, but all of his songs were so intense and "present" that it is hard to know what else to say.

It was one of the the 14th or 15th concert that we had witnessed. It was one of the best. Certainly one of the finest for "company kept." We hope we can lure him to Madison now.
"Say a prayer for the cowboy..."
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Milwaukee, WI, March 15, 2013

Postby kokenpere » Mon Mar 18, 2013 6:14 am

Thanks Joe and Anne. It was an unforgetable evening.

Michael
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Milwaukee, WI, March 15, 2013

Postby sturgess66 » Mon Mar 18, 2013 8:48 pm

From Express Milwaukee -
http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-207 ... eatre.html
Monday, March 18, 2013

Leonard Cohen @ Milwaukee Theatre
March 15, 2013
By David Luhrssen

Image

Leonard Cohen held his audience spellbound through a three-hour show Friday night at the Milwaukee Theatre. His 3,000 fans spanned generations, much as his two long sets spanned the decades, covering favorite songs (and a few obscurities) from the 1960s through the second decade of the present century.

Cohen opened with "Dance Me to the End of Love," performed in the downbeat two-step of a Balkan cafe band—an impression heightened by the black suits and fedoras worn by most of the musicians. So garbed, Cohen resembled a godfather of Eastern European soul as he sang of the inevitable dissolution of romantic love.

The mood was sustained through much of the concert, with breaks for the uplift of divine erotic ecstasy in "Hallelujah" and moments of self-deprecating humor. "I say to myself, 'Lighten up Cohen!'" he exclaimed to appreciative laughter from the audience. And yet, no one comes to his recordings or performances looking for a happy pill. His songs inhabit the melancholy spaces between reality and perfection, written in cadences that combine sacred and profane, high and low in a Walt Whitman quest to shake language to life by merging the literate with the vernacular.

In a gesture seldom seen since Al Jolson, Cohen often performed on his knees as if in supplication; more often he sang slightly slouched with hands cupped around the microphone like an old-fashioned nightclub singer; occasionally he took up guitar and on the sardonic "Democracy" he performed on Jew's harp.

The multi-talented, multi-instrumental band members buoyed the low rumble of his voice in carefully choreographed arrangements. Cohen looked on in respect during guitarist Mitch Watkins' deep blues solo during "Bird on the Wire" as organist Neil Larsen infused the song with gospel on the Hammond B3. The spotlight often fell on the band, especially Javier Mas' Mediterranean breaks on assorted string instruments and violinist Alexandru Bublitchi’s Gypsy tangents. Back-up singer and collaborator Sharon Robinson sang her own number, "Alexandra Leaving," and her fellow singers, Charlie and Hattie Webb, took charge of “If It be Your Will.” Bassist Roscoe Beck was even allowed to solo on "Who By Fire"—adding interesting texture and lasting not a moment too long.

The musical range was broad, from the minor-key disco lament of "Everybody Knows" through the surging rock of Cohen's portrait of political fanaticism, "First We Take Manhattan." There was poetry recited to an unobtrusive atmospheric backdrop in “A Thousand Kisses Deep.” The sparse arrangement for "Suzanne," the hymn to a doomed affair that introduced Cohen to listeners in the ’60s, evoked without replicating the original recording.

The concert was well paced by its gracious host. "I just didn't want to make a nuisance of myself," he joked about his 38-year absence from Milwaukee stages. "I hope it's not three or four decades till we meet again." Time will tell.
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Milwaukee, WI, March 15, 2013

Postby sturgess66 » Mon Mar 18, 2013 9:45 pm

And yet another review from Milwaukee show - from A. V. Milwaukee -
http://www.avclub.com/milwaukee/article ... tre,83610/
Leonard Cohen at Milwaukee Theatre
by Cal Roach March 18, 2013

Image

It’s hard to imagine that Leonard Cohen might need to be playing live at this point in his career. At 78 years old, he released his highest-charting album, Old Ideas, last year, but his legacy as a poet, singer, and songwriter has been assured at least since he last visited Milwaukee almost four decades ago. Few non-Dylan songwriters have a more widely revered canon, but rather than rely on his most acclaimed material, Cohen stuck more to the latter-day work that clearly inspired the improbably lively performance he gave an appreciative audience Friday night at the Milwaukee Theatre.

If Cohen were to focus on the irreverent folk of his ’60s and ’70s heyday, one might expect him to spend most of his time onstage sitting on a stool with an acoustic guitar. But Cohen rarely picked up an instrument for this performance, and perhaps appropriately, selections from his first five albums were few and far between. Instead, Cohen leaned heavily on his comeback period, drawing liberally from 1988’s I’m Your Man and 1992’s The Future, making for an oddly danceable, often synth-driven performance that showcased the longtime influence of his frequent songwriting collaborator Sharon Robinson. Robinson sang on most songs, even taking the lead on “Alexandra Leaving,” and she was joined by U.K. duo The Webb Sisters, who also contributed occasional harp and guitar accompaniment. All members of Cohen’s band had opportunities to showcase their individual talents; the 12-string acoustic work by Javier Mas was particularly impressive, especially his introductory solo to “Who By Fire.”

Cohen’s vocal range has been extremely limited for decades, but over time, his gruff whisper has become a more recognizable calling card than his youthful singing voice ever was. Tailoring such classics as “Bird On The Wire” and “Suzanne” to his deep, breathy tone didn’t hamper their effectiveness in the slightest, and if anything, his renditions of songs like “Amen” and “Show Me The Place” from Old Ideas were richer and more lifelike than the studio versions. Of course, it was his gracious and peculiar magnetism that captivated the crowd much more than his actual singing. A far cry from the dark, pensive persona portrayed in many of his songs, Cohen’s self-effacing humor and obvious gratitude toward his band and his audience carried the performance as much as the music.

Through two sets spanning three hours, the missteps were rare. Perhaps Cohen’s inner Canadian smartass gets a kick out of U.S. crowds missing the irony of “Democracy,” but the song fell a little flat despite its boisterous reception. The electronic sheen of “First We Take Manhattan” felt a bit out of place and outdated in the encore as well. Otherwise, Cohen and the band integrated new songs and new arrangements of oldies quite well. The most transcendent moments came in probably the most predictable places, as the second set climaxed with a remarkably powerful rendition of “Hallelujah,” prompting a spellbound standing ovation from the crowd. To begin his second and final encore, Cohen sang “Famous Blue Raincoat” with an unexpected urgency, the band augmenting him tastefully and unobtrusively. Playing only a handful of his most legendary tunes may have been a risky move, but it suggests that Cohen is more interested in the current state of his art than whatever legacy others would project for him.

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