CONCERT REPORTS: Oakland, April 13, 14 and 15

USA and Canada (April 1 - June 4, 2009). Special concert for fans in NYC (February 19). Concert reports, set lists, photos, media coverage, multimedia links, recollections...
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CONCERT REPORTS: Oakland, April 13, 14 and 15

Postby jarkko » Mon Apr 13, 2009 10:09 am

This thread is for your concert reports (only), but let's get it going with an appetizer.

http://www.contracostatimes.com/enterta ... urce=email
Leonard Cohen rare concert tour has fans crying 'Hallelujah"
By Jim Harrington
Oakland Tribune
Updated: 04/12/2009 05:35:44 AM PDT

He's never recorded a smash radio hit. Never come close to cracking the Billboard Top 40. Never had any of his albums certified platinum in the U.S. His biggest-selling studio release, 1967's "Songs of Leonard Cohen," eventually went gold stateside, but it took more than 20 years.

Even though he's fared better commercially in his native Canada and the U.K., an accountant might look at his sales figures in this country and yawn.

Yet, tickets for Cohen's North American tour, which includes shows Monday through Wednesday at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland, have been as hard to come by as ducats to see Britney Spears, Phish, the Dave Matthews Band, Coldplay or any other pop/rock juggernaut that you want to mention.

"The response has been amazing," says Gary Bongiovanni, editor-in-chief of the concert industry trade publication Pollstar. "This will be the biggest tour (Cohen) has ever done."

Why the fuss?

Bay Area fans certainly have led the way. They snatched up tickets for the first Paramount date that went on sale so quickly that promoters added a second, then a third, show. In total, about 10,000 tickets have been sold for the three-night stand — and that still hasn't satisfied demand. (Some good news for fans originally shut out on purchasing tickets: Promoters say they will be releasing more prime seats, particularly for the Tuesday show, so keep checking with Ticketmaster for availability.)

So, what is it about Cohen that's causing so many thousands of people to fight for the chance to drop upward of $250 on a ticket?

Several factors are involved. There's the infrequency in which he tours (this jaunt is his first in 15 years). There's the mystique that surrounds the man. But mainly it's that many worship Cohen, 74, as one of the finest writers of his generation, worthy of comparison to such greats as Bob Dylan, Brian Wilson, Smokey Robinson and Lennon/McCartney.

Cohen is, however, a vastly different kind of songwriter from those others. Some believe he's not really a songwriter at all, but a poet who sets his words to music, and, in that sense, perhaps his true comparison group can't be culled from the pop-music world.

"This is our Keats. "... This is our Shelley," comments U2's Bono in the Cohen documentary/concert film "Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man."

Early love of words

To get a sense for the difference between songwriting and poetry, turn off the stereo and simply read the lyrics to a Cohen tune. Tracks like "Suzanne," "Bird on a Wire" and "Famous Blue Raincoat" don't need the guitar, bass, drums or even vocals to work. Now try doing the same thing with a songwriter, even a great one like Dylan, and it's not quite the same deal — the lyrics to, say, Dylan's "Masters of War," as finely crafted as they are, clearly benefit from musical accompaniment.

It helps that Cohen was an accomplished poet long before he was a recording artist.

Born in Montreal in 1934, Cohen was drawn to words at an early age. While at McGill University, he studied Yeats, Whitman and Henry Miller and published his first collection of poetry, "Let Us Compare Mythologies," in 1956. His second book of rhymes, "The Spice-Box of Earth" (1961), made him something of a star in Canadian poetry circles.

He would latter follow with a pair of novels, "The Favourite Game" (1963) and "Beautiful Losers" (1966). The second book is now championed by many as a postmodern Canadian classic, although critics were far less kind to it at the time — the Toronto Globe and Mail called it "verbal masturbation" while the Toronto Daily went so far as to say "this is, among other things, the most revolting book ever written in Canada."

That kind of ink didn't help book sales, and Cohen, short on cash and long on words, decided to move to the U.S. in 1967 to try his luck in the burgeoning folk scene.

"In hindsight, it was like a mad decision that I was going to rectify my economic situation by becoming a songwriter," Cohen reminisces in the film "Leonard Cohen Under Review, 1934-1977." "I thought I'd go to Nashville and cut a record and that would take care of things."

Instead, he moved to New York City, became well known through his association with Judy Collins (who scored a hit with Cohen's "Suzanne"), and landed a deal with Columbia Records. His first offering on the label, "Songs of Leonard Cohen," was released in 1967 and made a modest showing on the charts, topping out at No. 83. Yet, the highly literate record also served notice that a new and important voice was on the scene.

"There is an authority to that first Leonard Cohen album," Rolling Stone editor Anthony DeCurtis says in "Under Review." "In a sense it's not like a debut — it's like the next collection of stories or poems. It didn't have that tentative feel that even great '60s debuts have. This was somebody who clearly had an established voice as an artist."

Universal words

Some of that, of course, can be credited to his background as a professional writer. But it's not as simple as that, or else every struggling poet and writer would be cutting classic albums. Something about Cohen's writing style, an ability to take deceivingly simple lines full of concrete details and combine them into vastly meaningful stories that touched on universal human experience, really worked in song.

That first album was no fluke. He followed it up with three more releases — 1969's "Songs From a Room," 1971's "Songs of Love and Hate" and 1974's "New Skin for the Old Ceremony" — that many consider among the best albums of the era. His later works, while not championed with quite the same passion, have produced excellent songs, ones that many believe could come only from the mind of Leonard Cohen.

"Leonard is this almost prophetic voice in music for me," U2's the Edge says in the film "I'm Your Man." "He's got this almost Biblical significance and authority, which, I think, definitely comes from his unique approach to working on songs, where a song can take years to mature."

One factor helping his cause has been the obvious high regard that other great songwriters have for him. Lou Reed seemed to sum up the feeling best as he inducted Cohen into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year, when he said that the honoree ranks among the "highest and most influential echelon of songwriters." Countless other musicians have shown their respect by covering Cohen tunes.

Cohen also has cultivated, intentionally or not, an undeniable mystique. People hear all the stories — how he did much of his writing in the '60s while living on a secluded Greek island, or how he left regular society for five years in the '90s to study Buddhism high atop a mountain — and it conjures up an iconic image, one that places Cohen closer to Hemingway and Kerouac than Lennon and McCartney. He's also lived a fairly private life, and goes years without being in the public eye.

"I doubt he would be able to command such a big dollar if he toured regularly," comments Rob Evans, editor-in-chief of the music-news site LiveDaily.com. "The average ticket for a Bob Dylan show, for instance, probably runs about $65, while Cohen is averaging well more than $110 per head. That's probably not sustainable over the long term."

1-of-a-kind baritone

There's also something about Cohen's canyon-deep voice, which many initially dubbed commercially unviable, that some find so mysteriously appealing.

"How do you describe why it is that Leonard Cohen makes you feel intimate with him? But he does," noted rock critic Robert Christgau says in "Under Review." "So, you want to engage him when you hear his voice coming out of the speakers."

All that combines with a musical approach that owes much to folk tradition, draws heavily from classical music and early 20th century popular song, yet seems so curiously detached from most of rock 'n' roll. It's the kind of music that only an unlikely superstar could produce.

"There's a place for my kind of music, although it can never be in the mainstream," Cohen said in 1972. "It's a sanctuary for me and for the people who use it that way. That's what I use it for "... a sanctuary."

Reach Jim Harrington at jharrington@bayareanewsgroup.com. Read his Concert Blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/aei/category/concerts/.
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|||
gb14772
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Re: CONCERT REPORTS: Oakland, April 13, 14 & 15

Postby gb14772 » Tue Apr 14, 2009 5:53 am

Show hasn't started yet. Talked to Bob Metzger during the early entry. He said there would be a few new songs tonight.

Also that they tour another year. Another NA tour in Oct, after Europe, Istanbul, south Africa, maybe some others I forgot.

What a nice guy. He was just standing alone so we chatted for maybe 5 minutes. Not that many in the early entry, maybe 50-60, most of the male band members were there, although I didn't see Javier Mas or Neil Larson, they may have been there. Well worth the effort to get there early.

There is a special table for Fan Club pickup, I had to wait less than a minute. Don't get in the Ticketmaster will call line if you got the LC forum presale. Go inside the ticket office lobby to the table on the left.

Concert starts in 8 minutes.
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Mabeanie1
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Re: CONCERT REPORTS: Oakland, April 13, 14 & 15

Postby Mabeanie1 » Tue Apr 14, 2009 11:26 am

gb14772 wrote:Show hasn't started yet. Talked to Bob Metzger during the early entry. He said there would be a few new songs tonight.
Reports eagerly awaited!!

Thanks

Wendy
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mirka
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Re: CONCERT REPORTS: Oakland, April 13, 14 & 15

Postby mirka » Tue Apr 14, 2009 12:33 pm

.
Great concert, despite all the ugly ticket manipulations magic kept breaking through :) 8)
I missed public singing "So long Marianne", as it happened in Dublin.
/Warsaw March 22 1985 / Halifax May 16 /Charlottetown May 18 / Dublin June 15 / Vienna Sept 24 2008/
Oakland April 13, 14, 15, San Jose Nov 13 2009/
Las Vegas Dec 11 2010/ Oakland March 2 2013/
yaniv297
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Re: CONCERT REPORTS: Oakland, April 13, 14 & 15

Postby yaniv297 » Tue Apr 14, 2009 2:48 pm

is there any report on new songs??

does he mean brand new songs like lullabye or just oldies that weren't played on this tour? maybe one of us cannot be wrong was finally played?
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Re: CONCERT REPORTS: Oakland, April 13, 14 & 15

Postby yaniv297 » Tue Apr 14, 2009 4:16 pm

This link has the following setlist:

“Dance Me to the End of Love”
“The Future”
“Ain’t No Cure for Love”
“Bird on a Wire”
“Everybody Knows”
“In My Secret Life”
“Who by Fire”
“Chelsea Hotel”
“Waiting for the Miracle”
“Anthem”
Set break
“Tower of Song”
“Suzanne”
“The Gypsy’s Wife”
“The Partisan”
“Boogie Street”
“Hallelujah”
“I’m Your Man”
“A Thousand Kisses Deep”
“Take This Waltz”
Encore:
“So Long Marianne”
“First We Take Manhattan”
Encore 2:
“Famous Blue Raincoat”
“If It Be Your Will”
“Democracy”
Encore 3:
“Lullabye”
“Closing Time’
Encore 4:
“I Tried to Leave You”
“Whither Thou Goest”

Source:
http://blogs.mercurynews.com/aei/2009/0 ... n-concert/

Nothing particulary different other then Lullabye replacing Junk again. Miracle still in, That's No Way and Sisters still out. Maybe the other dates will get the new songs.
gb14772
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Re: CONCERT REPORTS: Oakland, April 13, 14 & 15

Postby gb14772 » Tue Apr 14, 2009 6:37 pm

I was slightly disappointed about no real new songs. In replaying my conversation with Bob, he may not have precisely said "new songs tonight", but may have meant they are playing new songs from the earlier legs of the tour, as we had talked about that and the CD/DVD. In that context, they are doing some new songs.

We saw LC in Montreal last June. I thought this show has improved in some very nuanced ways. I thought Leonard had more subtle expression in many of the songs than I had heard then, or on audience recordings from Europe. Same thing with the band, but partly just hearing it in person you pick up things that you don't get from a recording, no matter how good.

The audience was very appreciative and responsive throughout the show. The sound was superb from where we were sitting (11th row).

There was a big negative on the otherwise beautiful Paramount Theater, not enough rest rooms for the crowd during intermission. There are two sets of rest rooms, one downstairs below the main level, and the other one flight up from the main level, on the way to the balcony. To try to balance the resources, they closed the Men's rest room downstairs for the ladies; the men were all forced upstairs, and it was very very crowed, many guys trekked downstairs through the crowd, only to be sent upstairs, and there was a huge queue for the men's room. I made it out in time, but there were hundreds still waiting to get in when they sounded the 10 minute chime, I saw a lot of people coming back in late after intermission. If you are a woman, don't get in the queue for the men's room downstairs, there are only six stalls in there (hardly worth the disruption), and that line moves very very slowly compared to the rather large adjacent women's room (so I was told by my wife).

Don't drink very much before the show to avoid this rather unpleasant situation in an otherwise perfect setting.
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Re: CONCERT REPORTS: Oakland, April 13, 14 & 15

Postby mnkyface » Tue Apr 14, 2009 6:47 pm

Epic perfection.

So happy to hear Lullaby, I cried. It's a beautiful song, right up there with his all-time best.

I was so blissed out for the whole concert. Got to hear songs he didn't do last summer- Famous Blue Raincoat, Chelsea Hotel, and 1000 Kisses Deep recitation. Missed Tower of Song because the bathroom line was INSANE and the ushers wouldn't let us back in until ToS was done.

Can't wait to go again TONIGHT!! :D :D
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tonymoco
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Re: CONCERT REPORTS: Oakland, April 13, 14 & 15

Postby tonymoco » Tue Apr 14, 2009 8:25 pm

.

A friend who went last night (Monday 4/13) said that "Conspiracy of Beards" was nowhere to be found at the lobby pre-show event.

Does anyone have an update as to whether they will be at tonight's and/or tomorrow's show?

Thank you.
gb14772
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Re: CONCERT REPORTS: Oakland, April 13, 14 & 15

Postby gb14772 » Tue Apr 14, 2009 8:44 pm

tonymoco wrote:.

A friend who went last night (Monday 4/13) said that "Conspiracy of Beards" was nowhere to be found at the lobby pre-show event.

Does anyone have an update as to whether they will be at tonight's and/or tomorrow's show?

Thank you.
Huh? They were wandering all over the street outside the box office before 6 PM. We went to get a bite to eat before going inside, once in, they don't let you out and back in. We went into the theater at 6:30PM, and went to the main lobby. The beards were up on the balcony overlooking the main lobby (which is a beautiful example of Art Deco) and were singing away until 6:45 or 6:50PM. I don't know when they started, I assume at 6:15. You had to have "Fan Club presale tickets" to get into the theater at 6PM to hear them. The regular ticketholders were let in at 7PM and they were done by then.

Band members came out about 6:45 for 10 minutes or so, they came out while the Beards were finishing up.
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Re: CONCERT REPORTS: Oakland, April 13, 14 & 15

Postby blueporch » Tue Apr 14, 2009 9:21 pm

I have to say I found this show disappointing. Not LC -- he was fabulous as usual. But the audience! Granted we had poor seats -- row SS. But about five songs in, four people next to us just got up and left! They never came back. Four people in the row ahead also left at the end of the first set, and never came back. So there were some big empty patches in the seating. Everyone else was sitting like a bump on a log. Polite applause at the end of each song. We were at the BIg Chill last summer, and remember the glory of the audience singing along to "Hallelujah" and "So Long, Marianne." Here the audience was absolutely silent. Add that the sound was not actually very loud from where we were, so that the show was a bit like listening to a distant record along with some people who weren't sure why they were there. Then tons of the people near us left before the encores. Why would people spend $$$ and leave early? Why did they go in the first place? Argh! LC sang his heart out, but not everyone in the audience was in the right place. That plus the quietness of the sound had a dampening effect on the experience.
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Re: CONCERT REPORTS: Oakland, April 13, 14 & 15

Postby ellenop » Tue Apr 14, 2009 9:36 pm

blueporch wrote:I have to say I found this show disappointing. Not LC -- he was fabulous as usual. But the audience! Granted we had poor seats -- row SS. But about five songs in, four people next to us just got up and left! They never came back. Four people in the row ahead also left at the end of the first set, and never came back. So there were some big empty patches in the seating. Everyone else was sitting like a bump on a log. Polite applause at the end of each song. We were at the BIg Chill last summer, and remember the glory of the audience singing along to "Hallelujah" and "So Long, Marianne." Here the audience was absolutely silent. Add that the sound was not actually very loud from where we were, so that the show was a bit like listening to a distant record along with some people who weren't sure why they were there. Then tons of the people near us left before the encores. Why would people spend $$$ and leave early? Why did they go in the first place? Argh! LC sang his heart out, but not everyone in the audience was in the right place. That plus the quietness of the sound had a dampening effect on the experience.

I was there too but in the Balcony and nobody there left. In fact everyone was in awe and immensely appreciative ( a bit too much to my taste, can't stand when people start clapping in the middle of a song....).
I think that where you were located the sound is muffled by the overhanging balcony. Above sound was impeccable. Some friends were all the way in the bleachers and said sound was great there too.
Thanks Leonard and the band and supportive team from the bottom of my heart.
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Re: CONCERT REPORTS: Oakland, April 13, 14 & 15

Postby ellenop » Tue Apr 14, 2009 9:41 pm

gb14772 wrote:
tonymoco wrote:.

A friend who went last night (Monday 4/13) said that "Conspiracy of Beards" was nowhere to be found at the lobby pre-show event.

Does anyone have an update as to whether they will be at tonight's and/or tomorrow's show?

Thank you.
Huh? They were wandering all over the street outside the box office before 6 PM. We went to get a bite to eat before going inside, once in, they don't let you out and back in. We went into the theater at 6:30PM, and went to the main lobby. The beards were up on the balcony overlooking the main lobby (which is a beautiful example of Art Deco) and were singing away until 6:45 or 6:50PM. I don't know when they started, I assume at 6:15. You had to have "Fan Club presale tickets" to get into the theater at 6PM to hear them. The regular ticketholders were let in at 7PM and they were done by then.

Band members came out about 6:45 for 10 minutes or so, they came out while the Beards were finishing up.
The Conspiracy of Beards will be playing every night from 6:15 thru 6:45PM.
To get in no matter how you got your tix, just say "fan club" at the entrance.
Cheers!
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Re: CONCERT REPORTS: Oakland, April 13, 14 & 15

Postby manwithnoname » Tue Apr 14, 2009 10:04 pm

I was at Monday nights show, and it was great. I saw no one leave early. Especially not near the end, where i expected people to leave between encores. For such a long show, I was AMAZED to see that so many people stayed, and stood for ovations over and over again as the show was winding down. The bay area has a reputation (in my mind, in local reviewers' comments, and reactions from many bands I've seen over the years) for being unappreciating and very tame audiences. We don't clap for long enough, we don't sing along, we don't really "get into the show". At the concert last night I saw quite the opposite. The applause and reactions to musicians cue's were outstanding. People seemed genuinely happy to be there rather than just paying for a show that they could brag about seeing around the water cooler the next day at work.

I'm gonna take a wild-ass guess that the people in the back of the lower section that left were not really big fans of the show (lots of local radio stations including Talk Radio stations were giving away tickets) so who cares if they left. From where I was (row GG) I didn't see a single person leave early except to avoid those awful bathroom lines. Granted I wasn't looking behind me at all to see who was leaving, but from where I was, I saw none of the issues that were complained about a few posts up. I can concur however that it seems the seats under the balcony are limited in terms of sound quality. While row GG had a decent view of the stage, the volume was a little low (most likely due to the design of the building, and the lack of speakers underneath the balcony). I can imagine the volume being lower the further back people sat. That's why I was really worried about having $99 tickets. Either way though, I think the whole experience was great, and I'm glad I got to see him finally.
"I sang my song. I told my lies, to lie between your matchless thighs." -LC
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Re: CONCERT REPORTS: Oakland, April 13, 14 & 15

Postby Chicano » Tue Apr 14, 2009 11:47 pm

I thought the Monday show was amazing. LC got a super warm response from the crowd and I thought he and the band took note of the warm response. LC smiled more during the first set. In my opinion, the crowd was really into it, more so than San Diego and LA.

As for people leaving early, I just don't get it. They're missing out. It's a school night and the show was still going strong by 11pm, so (giving them the benefit of the doubt) perhaps they had to catch public transportation, get ready for work, etc. Still no excuse.

I took a good friend, not very familar with LC. Now, he's love with the music. It was fun to attend with new convert. Also, I've been lucky to sit next to really cool fans and have great conversations about our mutual love for LC. Looking forward to tonight and Wednesday. I am broke, but the 27 angels made me do it.
4/7 San Diego; 4/10 Los Angeles; 4/13, 4/14, 41/15 Oakland; 6/4 Red Rocks

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