CONCERT REPORT: London, RAH, November 17-18

September 21 - November 30, 2008. Concert reports, set lists, photos, media coverage, multimedia links, recollections...
Midnight Choir
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CONCERT REPORT: London, RAH, November 17-18

Postby Midnight Choir » Tue Nov 18, 2008 12:33 am

Live from the RAH! Chelsea Hotel tonight. So much more intimate than the O2.
2008: O2 London - July 17 | O2 London - November 13 | O2 London - November 14 | RAH London - November 17 | 2009: Antwerp - July 4 | Weybridge - July 11
John Etherington
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Re: London RAH, 17-18 November 2008

Postby John Etherington » Tue Nov 18, 2008 4:56 am

Excellent evening! Highlights for me were "Bird on the Wire", "Anthem", "Famous Blue Raincoat" (the latter two songs respectively with beautiful gold and blue lighting), "Take This Waltz", and "Democracy" which naturally met with loud cheers. Sharon Robinson's solo version of "Boogie Street" was powerful, and The Webb Sisters "If It Be Your Will" as stunning as ever. Earlier, the wonderful Webbs did synchronized cartwheels during one number. It was great to hear Leonard's spoken "A Thousand Kisses Deep" again and (the first time for me this tour) "The Partisan and "Chelsea Hotel". "Whither Thou Goest" was a perfect finish to the show.

At first, I thought Leonard might have a cold, or that he was conserving his voice, because he hardly said anything until the latter part of the first set. However, he said most of his now-familiar set-pieces later on (though he only introduced the band twice). I found that the show really gained momentum during the series of encores - especially "First We Take Manhattan". For all of Leonard's entries and exits, he skipped across the stage.

The audience were very respectful, and I can't thank Jarkko enough for making it possible to get such an excellent seat (I was three rows back, close to the right of the stage, in the stalls). Fortunately there were nice people either side of me.

It was a pleasure to meet so many good people...in sequence - my astrologer friend Mike Harding, then for drinks before the show and in the interval, my dear friend Felicity Buirski. Inside there was Andy Barnes, Julia's mum and her husband Scott, the guy who remembered me from a Dylan show circa 1990, Sue Farebrother, Jarkko and Eija, and Gina and her friend. Later in Janet's bar, it was great to meet Hydriot, Catherine and her mother, Judy. Pity, I couldn't have stayed later, but last trains beckoned.

Love to all, John E
Last edited by John Etherington on Thu Nov 20, 2008 2:58 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Bela
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Re: London RAH, 17-18 November 2008

Postby Bela » Tue Nov 18, 2008 5:02 am

Wasn't it wonderful?! A quiet, respectful, yet very enthusiastic audience. When I realised no drinks were allowed in the auditorium, I knew it would be great. The RAH feels so intimate in comparison with that huge O2 warehouse. I loved every minute of it. I'm so glad my experience at the O2 (on 17 July) came first. I would have been so disappointed if it had been the other way around and I'd been expecting the O2 concert to be as enjoyable as the RAH one.
London O2 Arena 17 July (with binoculars)
London RAH 17 November (without binoculars)
Knickerless
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Re: London RAH, 17-18 November 2008

Postby Knickerless » Tue Nov 18, 2008 1:33 pm

yeah, thanks to leonard for an amazing evening. I too thought he was a little quiet first half, especially as my last encounter with the great man was back in manchester earlier this year where he had already introduced the band a dozen times before the first interval. However, as the show went on he began to acknowledge a few calls from the crowd (damn hippy in front of me would not shut up and then danced during FBR... who the fuck danced during FBR?!) & towards the end he walked side stage to accept some roses which he then 'danced' off back stage with.

Especially pleased to get raincoat, chelsea hotel & partisan though if im being picky my mother was holding out for sisters of mercy... still!

The lighting worked really well, i love looking up across the albert hall and seeing those big old spot lights coming down for the top tier and the quality of the visual on the screens was great (i would have happily married the dark haired of the two sisters a thousand times). I have to say, I was sat in the front stalls to the right of the stage and I would have still liked to have seen both the overall volume and the level on leonard's voice a little higher though I don't think it was out of sync with the rest of the tour.
The band have got better and better as the tour has gone on and tonight, once again, was the best i think i have seen them play.

Ice cream was great, french merlot was the best of the wines (£7.20 a glass) and the albert halls scent of moth balls remains.

So yeah, all in all another absolutely magnificent show.
madgett
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Re: London RAH, 17-18 November 2008

Postby madgett » Tue Nov 18, 2008 1:52 pm

Can't wait for tonight! I never thought I'd consider the RAH to be an intimate venue, but compared to the hideous charm vacuum in Greenwich, it will feel like having him in my living room. Hoping for Raincoat, Partisan, Chelsea: anything I haven't already heard in the summer.
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imyourwoman
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Re: London RAH, 17-18 November 2008

Postby imyourwoman » Tue Nov 18, 2008 2:48 pm

Had the extreme good fortune to bump into Leonard after last night's amazing show. He signed our books and told us to "give the old guy a hug" during the photo. What a gent!
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Martyn_UK
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Re: London RAH, 17-18 November 2008

Postby Martyn_UK » Tue Nov 18, 2008 3:04 pm

Having seeing Leonard on the Isle of White in 1970 and in London in the 80's I can honestly say this was the most memorable performance.

For me the highlights were the two occassions where Leonard simply spoke the words to his poems to the soft organ background.... wonderful. The words were so poignant and the silence in the Hall was amazing. I so wish there was more of this available on CD

The screens in the RAH helped a lot and I do hope that there was recording going on that can be released later.

Thank you leonard.... I hope we're both around for the next London concert.

Martyn
ladydi
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Re: London RAH, 17-18 November 2008

Postby ladydi » Tue Nov 18, 2008 3:37 pm

Hi imyourwoman!

Fabulous photo of you both with Leonard! What luck to run into him after the concert....AND to have him suggest "a hug for the old guy"! No wonder everyone is all smiles :D :D :D :D :D

The joy of seeing him in concert is awesome but to actually talk with him would be the icing on the cake! 8)

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Bela
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Re: London RAH, 17-18 November 2008

Postby Bela » Tue Nov 18, 2008 4:05 pm

Such beaming faces!!! What a wonderful photo! (I'm a nasty shade of green right now so it's just as well you can't see me.) How did the person taking it manage to keep the camera steady? :D
London O2 Arena 17 July (with binoculars)
London RAH 17 November (without binoculars)
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hydriot
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Re: London RAH, 17-18 November 2008

Postby hydriot » Tue Nov 18, 2008 4:18 pm

Yes, it was good to meet you too John. However, on a small technicality ...
John Etherington wrote:the wonderful Webbs did a somersault during one number
The girls did synchonised cartwheels. To ask them to do somersaults (defined as having no feet or hands on the ground) would be asking a little too much of even them!

The Troubadour was a great success, if a little cramped. In the eyes of the staff, I seem to have raised the tone of our little party by ordering Eggs Benedict ... they started referring to me as 'the gentleman'!

What made the RAH for me the third-most memorable of his concerts was the excellent company and outstanding seats. Good to see you again, Rob (who met me quite by chance in a pub in Bournemouth just before the 11 November show). Thank you Ken for the gifts. Thank you Dave for the bear-hug that took this staid Englishman by surprise (but was most welcome). Thank you Paula and sister for entertaining conversation. Thank you Shaunagh, even though you disappeared almost immediately: I would have liked to have got to know you better. Thank you Judy and Catherine for trusting me to navigate you successfully to Janet's Bar. Thank you Mickey_one for offering glimpses into your professional life (the prize for the most colourful character of the night has to go to Mickey_one's guest, who, as the concert progressed, seemed to transfer to a different planet, even sitting on a high balcony rail to be photographed with the band in the background in the middle of a number!)

There were no great surprises in the set-list or the words, though I did notice a change to the first refrain of Chelse hotel #2: "You just threw it all to the ground". And right at the end, he softened the rather harsh conclusion by singing "That's all, my little darling, I don't think of you that often."

I was a little concerned at Leonard's voice in Who By Fire but, as on other occasions, he seemed to become energised by the warmth surrounding him, so much so that the whole show seemed to grow and grow, until it reached its climax with the roar of approval from the audience at the first singing of the words "Democracy is coming to the USA".

Our seats were outstanding. I was in the front row of Block O, right up against the stage, and at the same level as it. In fact there was a pathway onto the stage at the end of my row, just eight seats away (and guarded by a perfectly human bouncer). Large numbers of roses had been purloined from the Troubadour's table settings, and assorted ladies assembled at this strategic point (stage left) ready to throw them at an appropriate moment. Unfortunately, Leonard always exits stage right, so the first to throw (Mickey-one's friend) failed to attract his attention.

However, two small young women, who I do not know, had a huge bouquet to offer him (neither little nor wild, but hey ... call it poetic license), and by holding it up and waving it whenever he looked their way, they managed to attract Leonard's attention. In spite of the fact that he always exits stage right, with the extraordinary graciousness for which Leonard is justly famous, at the end of I'm Your Man, while the singers and band played on, Leonard stepped over to the entrance stage left, accepted the bouquet and even had a few words with the ladies there.
Last edited by hydriot on Wed Nov 19, 2008 6:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
“If you do have love it's a kind of wound, and if you don't have it it's worse.” - Leonard, July 1988
John Etherington
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Re: London RAH, 17-18 November 2008

Postby John Etherington » Tue Nov 18, 2008 5:09 pm

Hi Hydriot,

I stand corrected - I somehow suspeceted that I was using the wrong term. Since cartwheels are easier than somersaults, I will expect Leonard to do one in the near future.

Cheers, John E
paulmac
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Re: London RAH, 17-18 November 2008

Postby paulmac » Tue Nov 18, 2008 5:31 pm

I thought last night was wonderful. Sorry, that's not enough. Words can't really sum up how I felt throughout that concert. It just got better & better. Just the same as the O2 although RAH pips it because it was longer. I'd gone with a friend, Les, to the O2 & she was equally as mesmerised by it all. Last night we brought friends so they saw & heard for themselves what we had been talking at them about since July. It was such a brilliant feeling to see them feel the same massive pleasure from the concert.

Until this year when anyone asked me what my 5 favourite concerts had been I'd always included the 2 Leonard concerts from the 70's & 80's (from many superb concerts I've experienced over the years). At the start of the year I never expected to ever see him again & even if he did play he wouldn't be anywhere near as good. How wrong I was. He is just as spellbinding as he ever was & his band is just as magnificent. I now just need to see Leonard once more to ensure he takes over all top 5 spaces in my concert league!

I have no favourites from either concert because I enjoyed all the songs equally. However, I'd like to hear him sing 1 or 2 from Death of a Ladies Man 1 day. But when all the other songs are so glorious it must be so difficult to fit them in. Perhaps he could do 1 very long concert in which he sings his entire back catalogue. He certainly looks like he wants to & could do it!

He's your man!
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howthelightgetsin
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Re: London RAH, 17-18 November 2008

Postby howthelightgetsin » Tue Nov 18, 2008 5:37 pm

imyourwoman wrote:Had the extreme good fortune to bump into Leonard after last night's amazing show. He signed our books and told us to "give the old guy a hug" during the photo. What a gent!
ah so he was still there or did you track him down in the local area? I was stood there for a bit but then had to get my last train, glad you got to meet him. I met him at the Big Chill hes such a lovely genuine man isn't he :)
Last edited by howthelightgetsin on Tue Nov 18, 2008 5:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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howthelightgetsin
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Re: London RAH, 17-18 November 2008

Postby howthelightgetsin » Tue Nov 18, 2008 5:38 pm

Enjoy tonight folks, wish I could go back... but going away later. Last night was simply great, I've enjoyed them all - regardless of venue.
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Melvyn
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Re: London RAH, 17-18 November 2008

Postby Melvyn » Tue Nov 18, 2008 6:43 pm

"What made the RAH for me the third-most memorable of his concerts"

I see you were also at the Bournemouth concert, which I attended; I'd be interested to know how that compared with the RAH (I thought Bournemouth was excellent).

Regards,

Melvyn.

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