Isle of Wight 1970 release (October 2009) - all the details

News about Leonard Cohen and his work, press, radio & TV programs etc.
User avatar
sirius
Posts: 459
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2008 4:09 am
Location: Manchester

Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Postby sirius » Sat Nov 28, 2009 5:19 am

We are so small between the stars, so large against the sky
User avatar
sturgess66
Posts: 4085
Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 2:50 pm
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Postby sturgess66 » Thu Dec 03, 2009 6:15 pm

From TheBattalionOnline -
http://media.www.thebatt.com/media/stor ... 4038.shtml
Blast from the Past
Leonard Cohen's Latest Release Looks Back at One of His Early Performances.
By: Clay Harley
Issue date: 12/3/09
LC-IsleOfWight.jpg
LC-IsleOfWight.jpg (16.14 KiB) Viewed 3840 times
Canadian folk singer Leonard Cohen's latest release contains live audio and video footage from a performance at the third Isle of Wright music festival in 1970. Cohen and his band

Seventy-five year-old Canadian folk singer, novelist, and poet Leonard Cohen's latest release takes a look back at a performance from his earlier days. Leonard Cohen Live at the Isle of Wight 1970 is a CD/DVD combo containing video and audio footage of Cohen's late-night performance to a crowd of 600,000 at the third Isle of Wight music festival.

The performance features Cohen and his small band-The Army-performing many of Cohen's compositions. At this point in time, Cohen was quite new on the music scene, and only had two albums. However, he was a renowned poet and novelist before he began his musical career. Cohen's music features his serious, contemplative lyrics as the focus of most of his songs, and that is captured in this documentation of the 1970 performance.

While the CD features the performance in chronological order, the DVD encompasses the event. Beginning with two of the live songs as background music, director Murray Lerner puts into perspective the size of the enormous crowd and the rioting and chaos that had been taking place at the festival. Several of the artists performing before Cohen had been booed off the stage.

Before starting his first song, Cohen, in his slow deliberate drawl, asks the crowd to each light a match in order to let him see where they are. The camera pans across the crowd showing many lights in the blackness. Then Cohen slowly eases into the first song, his well-known "Bird on the Wire:" "Like… a… bird."

From here Cohen continues to calm the crowd with his tinny baritone notes, introspective lyrics and satisfying melodies and chord changes. The small group of musicians providing accompaniment for Cohen adds to the assuagement with clean electric guitars, simple bass lines, and a keyboard and two female backup singers to create a warm sound.

The exception to the mostly soothing songs is "The Stranger Song." Cohen performs this one solo, just him and his guitar. The dark, slow song is about having a revelation of consciousness in life. Its tone and theme are haunting, and this can be seen in the uneasy expressions the audience members take on, sitting and watching, deep in thought.

Also featured throughout the DVD are interviews with various musicians who also performed at the festival: singer and songwriters Kris Kristofferson, Judy Collins, Joan Baez, and Cohen's producer and keyboard player Bob Johnston.

This CD/DVD combo is a must for any Leonard Cohen fan, a performance from his early days in music before an enormous crowd featuring wonderful live adaptations of his studio recordings. However this release will satisfy any music lover, especially those who enjoy folk music. It's a well-done piece containing some great music.


Clay Harley is a senior management information systems major.
SheenaP
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Dec 04, 2009 5:48 pm

Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Postby SheenaP » Fri Dec 04, 2009 5:55 pm

sirius wrote:Photographs of Leonard Cohen @ the Isle Of Wight Festival 1970


http://www.safeconcerts.com/photos/isle ... sp?slide=y

http://www.safeconcerts.com/photos/isle ... -cohen.asp
Some cracking pics there Sirius. Thanks alot for the links!
Sheena P.
User avatar
sirius
Posts: 459
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2008 4:09 am
Location: Manchester

Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Postby sirius » Wed Dec 09, 2009 6:25 am

Leonard Cohen - Live at the Isle of Wight 1970

http://www.avclub.com/articles/december-8-2009,36051/

The politically charged, near-catastrophic 1970 Isle Of Wight rock festival has already been covered well in Murray Lerner’s documentary Message To Love, which combines angry performances by some of the era’s biggest acts with unsettling footage of young people demanding a privilege and consideration they haven’t earned. But Message To Love, by necessity, only provides a broad overview of the event. For an extended footnote, watch Lerner’s hourlong film Leonard Cohen: Live At The Isle Of Wight 1970 (Columbia/Legacy), which captures the moment, on the final night of the festival, when Cohen took to the stage at 2 a.m. and mesmerized the throng, transforming a contentious happening into something sublime and irreducible to cant. Though supplemented by interviews with Joan Baez and Kris Kristofferson (who had their own run-ins with the audience over the course of the weekend) and Bob Johnston (who served as Cohen’s musical director, freeing Cohen to settle into the moment), Live At The Isle Of Wight mainly focuses on Cohen’s calm, almost numb face as he sings songs from his first three albums. It’s a beguiling performance, both musically and in terms of how Cohen works the crowd. He positions himself as on the side of the everything-should-be-free contingent, but he undercuts their sense of entitlement by warning, “You’re not strong enough yet.” He gets the crowd to listen to songs about gamblers, suicides, and martyrs, showing how even people of real heft can struggle with their weaknesses. He tells half a million people to grow the hell up, basically, but does so with such gravity and stillness that no one seems to take it personally. They listen to him. Why wouldn’t they? Grade: A-
We are so small between the stars, so large against the sky
User avatar
Jim Williams
Posts: 198
Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2005 1:17 am
Location: Stone, Staffordshire, England, U.K.

Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Postby Jim Williams » Mon Dec 14, 2009 5:05 pm

Watching the DVD right now - fabulous stuff. Can someone clarify something for me? Of the three backing vocalists - Musmanno, Washburn and Hanney, which is which?
The lion and the calf shall lie down together, but the calf won't get much sleep.
User avatar
sturgess66
Posts: 4085
Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 2:50 pm
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Postby sturgess66 » Sat Dec 19, 2009 12:20 am

From the AustinChronicale -
http://www.austinchronicle.com/gyrobase ... d%3A930045
HOME: DECEMBER 18, 2009: MUSIC

BY AUDRA SCHROEDER

Leonard Cohen
Live at the Isle of Wight 1970 (Columbia/Legacy)

music_phases11.jpg
Leonard Cohen's Live at the Isle of Wight 1970 should rightly be put in a bottle. That's just prior to Songs of Love and Hate, so the set list is golden, and this historic concert on an island in the English Channel shows off the Canadian poet/prophet at the height of his powers. Cohen's story of his father taking him to the circus before "Bird on the Wire" feeds into the concert itself taking on a Felliniesque pacing. Recordings on the DVD and accompanying CD are almost perfect, the packaging and liner notes stylish and crisp, and interviews with players from the night illuminate the importance and special weight of it all. Faces of rapt audience members, many women shrouded like Virgin Marys, ride tandem with Cohen's religious air, his face serene as he calms a restless festival crowd. "They've surrounded the island," he intones midconcert, as festivalgoers try to break down a fence keeping them from the show. He then slides right into "Hey, That's No Way to Say Goodbye," and there's reverent silence. Dylan never got to that dimension. Another Canadian comes via Greenpeace, who remastered a 1970 concert in Vancouver protesting nuclear testing off the coast of another island, Amchitka, Alaska. The 2-CD set features a folk trinity: Phil Ochs, James Taylor, and Joni Mitchell. Given the political heaviness of the night, the performances don't carry that weight. Ochs seems reinvigorated, and Taylor's set is short but sweet. Mitchell, however, is in full flame, whether segueing from "Big Yellow Taxi" to "Boney Maroney," previewing songs from Blue, or dueting with Taylor on "Mr. Tambourine Man." As we prepare for a new decade in the wake of a pretty bleak one, these concerts show how innocent it all still was.

(Isle of Wight) ***.5

(Amchitka) ***
kokenpere
Posts: 267
Joined: Sat May 22, 2004 9:20 am

Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Postby kokenpere » Sun Dec 20, 2009 10:33 am

What 2-CD set????????? My copy had 1 DVD and 1 CD of Leonard's concert. Is there another edition?

kokenpere/michael

PS My mistake. The 2-CD set is a separate recording. (With James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, and Phil Ochs)
paddieu
Posts: 106
Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2008 2:31 am

Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Postby paddieu » Thu Dec 24, 2009 3:07 am

uh ? 2 of those 3 didnt play there :o
Carmen
Posts: 93
Joined: Sat Sep 05, 2009 6:23 pm

Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Postby Carmen » Sun Jan 03, 2010 12:55 am

HURRAY !
The long-expected DVD + CD has finally arrived and I am so happy! It is simply fabulous!

Carmen
User avatar
sturgess66
Posts: 4085
Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 2:50 pm
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Postby sturgess66 » Wed Jan 20, 2010 4:52 am

Review from Variety.com -
http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117941 ... id=31&cs=1
Posted: Tue., Jan. 19, 2010, 5:00pm PT

New U.S. Release
Leonard Cohen Live at the Isle of Wight 1970
(Documentary)
By RONNIE SCHEIB

A Pulsar Prods. and Sony Music Entertainment presentation of an MFL production. Produced by Murray Lerner. Executive producer, Steve Berkowitz. Directed by Murray Lerner.

With: Leonard Cohen, Bob Johnston, Joan Baez, Judy Collins, Kris Kristofferson.

At 4 a.m. on the fifth and final night of the troubled 1970 Isle of Wight concert, the not-yet-legendary Leonard Cohen stepped onstage before a raucous crowd of 600,000 and promptly captivated the unruly masses. Murray Lerner's mesmerizing docu closely chronicles Cohen's set, only occasionally breaking away to record audience reactions or interview fellow performers, who even today profess astonishment at how Cohen turned the night around. Must-see footage for fans and for those less hip to Cohen's early stylings, the docu, already out on DVD, opens theatrically Jan. 22nd at Gotham's Cinema Village.

Anger over admission fees, fences and patrol dogs led the crowd, three times larger than expected, to overturn barriers and set fires. Anarchy threatened, stoked by Jimi Hendrix's magnificently incendiary perf; indeed, Cohen's appearance was delayed by the need to replace the piano and organ, which had been set ablaze during Hendrix's set.

Some acts were booed off the stage, notably Kris Kristofferson, who, in both archival and present-day footage, attests to the ugliness of the crowd and the ease with which Cohen charmed them. Helmer Lerner reveals this background context incrementally, around the edges of Cohen's bravura performance.

Neither defensive nor defiant, Cohen quickly established a quiet, confessional intimacy with his audience, opening with a childhood anecdote that ended with the request that everyone light a match so he could see them (prefiguring the communal lighters of modern-day concerts).

At the time of the concert, Cohen's voice had not yet attained the gravelly basso profundo that came to characterize his stylistic reinvention. His more inflected notes and husky sincerity here belong to his wistful "troubadour" phase, making up in sheer hypnotic beauty what his vocalizations later gained in incantatory power.

Lerner's steady closeups and restrained editing over prolonged stretches mimic the rapt attention of the crowd. Cohen was only entering the third year of his singer-songwriter career but, after two successful albums, his selections were instantly recognizable to concertgoers; the opening chords of "Bird on a Wire," "Suzanne," "The Stranger Son" or "Goodbye Marianne" were greeted with anticipatory delight. A rousing bluegrass-y rendition of "Tonight Will Be Fine" highlights the backup band, dubbed "the Army," which legendary producer Bob Johnston assembled, including Nashville musicians Charlie Daniels, Ron Cornelius and Elkin "Bubba" Fowler. Johnston offers down-home, ecstatic reminiscences of the 40-year-old event that trump the more sedate recollections of Judy Collins and Joan Baez.

Docu reps Oscar-winning music documentarian Lerner's eighth utilization of his extensive 16mm Isle of Wight footage. This gift that keeps on giving yielded one feature on the entire festival ("Message to Love"), as well as well-crafted individual docus on sets by Hendrix, the Who, Jethro Tull, Moody Blues, ELP and Miles Davis.

Camera (color, 16mm-to-Blu-ray), Andy Carchrae, Jack Hazan, Nic Knowland, Norman Langley, Lerner, Richard Stanley, Charles Stewart, Mike Whittaker, William Turnley, Bob Elfstrom, Bradley Stonesifer; editor, Einar Westerlund, George Panos; sound, Greg Bailey, Ron Geesin, Gareth Haywood, Mike Lax, Mike McDuffie, Colin Richards, Ivan Sharrock, Mark Kaplan, Doug Dunderdale, Alex Marquez. Reviewed on DVD, New York, Jan. 16, 2010. Running time: 64 MIN.
User avatar
sturgess66
Posts: 4085
Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 2:50 pm
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Postby sturgess66 » Thu Jan 21, 2010 2:19 pm

Good review in the AllMovieBlog -

http://blog.allmovie.com/2010/01/20/leo ... mg-review/
Leonard Cohen — Live at the Isle of Wight 1970: The AMG Review

January 20th, 2010 | 2:51 pm est | Mark Deming

Image

A small, slightly shabby figure stands by the side of a stage. He’s an idiosyncratically handsome fellow but looks tired, nervous, and a bit unsure of what’s about to happen. He needs a shave, his clothes are rumpled, and a mop of curly hair that could use the attention of a brush sits on top of his head. A few moments later, he carefully walks to center stage with a small group of musicians, picks up a guitar, and does something extraordinary — he holds a crowd of over half a million people in the palm of his hand for little more than an hour simply with the power of his voice, his words, and his melodies, all while barely moving from one spot.

Leonard Cohen has been reminding audiences of his subtle genius as a performer in recent years, having set out on an international concert tour in 2008 that has been selling out venues around the globe and reawakening interest in one of the world’s greatest living songwriters. But Cohen’s debut album was not quite two years old when he was booked to play the Isle of Wight music festival in the summer of 1970, and it was past 2 a.m. on the fifth and final day of the festival when he went on-stage with “the Army” (as he called his band) to perform for an audience that had been openly hostile to many of the acts over the course of a long weekend. The organizers of the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival, held on a small island off the southern coast of England, had been expecting as many as 200,000 music fans to attend, but close to 600,000 showed up. Among them were a large group of anarchists and political activists angry at what they saw as commercial co-opting of the counterculture by the promoters (even though tickets for the full five days cost only three pounds), especially when they saw the large corrugated metal fences that had been set up to keep out folks without tickets. Angry protests took place outside the fences and eventually the crowd began trying to tear them down, and inside the venue listeners were nearly as bitter as those outside; by the time Jimi Hendrix finished his set several hours before Cohen went on, someone succeeded in briefly setting the stage canopy on fire.

Filmmaker Murray Lerner, who had a background in films about music, was hired to document the festival, and nearly 40 years after the fact he’s fashioned his footage of Cohen’s set into a short feature, simply called Leonard Cohen: Live at the Isle of Wight 1970. It’s likely that the current swell of interest in Cohen and his music is what prompted Lerner to pull this material from the vault, but regardless of his motivations the film is an absorbing, rewarding experience for anyone with an interest in Cohen’s music. Lerner includes brief interviews with other artists who performed at the festival (Kris Kristofferson and Joan Baez) and some of Cohen’s collaborators (singer and close friend Judy Collins and Bob Johnston, who produced several of Cohen’s albums and played keyboards for the Isle of Wight date), and they provide valuable background and context for Cohen’s performance. Much of the haphazard nature of the evening is summed up by the fact that, while Cohen was originally scheduled to go on early in the afternoon, by the time he was summoned to the stage he was fast asleep in his dressing room, and it’s not hard to see the grogginess on his face as he begins his set.

But despite the size and uncertain temperament of the crowd, Cohen’s set is most striking in its intimacy; the film doesn’t focus on the grand scale of event but on the details of his performance, with the camera often capturing Cohen’s face in long, unblinking close-ups. One song from the Isle of Wight recordings, “Sing Another Song, Boys,” was used on Cohen’s 1971 album Songs of Love and Hate, and in that context it sounds like a performance taped in a nightclub where the musicians are interacting closely with the spectators. Watching it performed here, it seems as if Cohen, instead of trying to expand his performing style to encompass the biggest audience of his life, has — by force of creative will and strength of personality — shrunk the space to suit his music, and the languid but emotionally intense nature of the material ultimately suits the mood of the day. Poetic yet honest, his tales of a shattered emotional landscape in which beauty (both physical and spiritual) does battle with our worst instincts are fascinating both in their literate power and in the shaky but emphatic interplay between Cohen and his accompanists, and they sound all too appropriate as the soundtrack to this evening, in which the last light of the optimism of the 1960s was slipping below the horizon.

Leonard Cohen: Live at the Isle of Wight 1970 runs just over an hour, and those fans who witnessed Cohen’s recent tour (in which the shows often lasted close to three hours) might be surprised by the small scale of his festival set, especially when pondering the size of the crowd who saw it as it happened. But the younger man with the less ragged voice who strolled out to meet a fair-sized city waiting to hear his music on a tense August night had clearly learned how to make his songs work on-stage, and it’s rare to see music this spare work its magic as well as it does in this film. Lerner’s documentary gives us a look into one memorable night in the life of a singular poet and musician, and if it doesn’t tell us much about the man, it speaks eloquently about the artist and his considerable gifts.
User avatar
sirius
Posts: 459
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2008 4:09 am
Location: Manchester

Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Postby sirius » Thu Jan 21, 2010 3:37 pm

Film review

Image

Leonard Cohen: Live at the Isle of Wight 1970

Dir. Murray Lerner. 2009. N/R. 64mins. Documentary.

WIGHT OF WAY Cohen, center, gives the English crowd what they want.In the summer of 1970, the British—reliably late to the party—threw a disastrous rock festival to call their own: the third installment of Isle of Wight, featuring the Doors, the Who and some 600,000 fans, most of whom had recused themselves from the indignity of purchasing tickets. Like all baby boomer music gatherings, the proceedings were immortalized on film, in this case by documentarian Murray Lerner. In 1995, the director unveiled a broad survey of the concert, Message to Love, and now, he returns to his archives to focus on the week’s most storied performance: a hazy set by Leonard Cohen, presented here with sporadic commentary from the singer’s contemporaries.

Having spent the past five days jeering and rioting, the audience was surly; Cohen’s instant soothing of the mob before him proves fascinating. The scruffy Canadian crooner-poet took the stage past 2am (shortly after Jimi Hendrix had set it on fire), and freshly roused from a nap, he’s the portrait of mellow, inhabiting his signature middle ground between oracle and lothario. Heard through the prism of the sleepy mass, Cohen’s lyrical surrealism becomes unusually pronounced, while songs slip away like dreams: As one line begins to make sense, the next evaporates into madness. The Isle of Wight crowd watches transfixed, as if in collective reverie; four decades on, filmgoers just might too. —Jay Ruttenberg

Opens Fri 22 at Cinema Village.

More new Film reviews



Read more: http://newyork.timeout.com/articles/fil ... z0dFXvswBp
We are so small between the stars, so large against the sky
User avatar
sturgess66
Posts: 4085
Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 2:50 pm
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Postby sturgess66 » Fri Jan 22, 2010 3:30 am

And good reviews just keep rolling in about Leonard at the Isle of Wight.

From New York Times -
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/22/movies/22leonard.html

MOVIE REVIEW | 'LEONARD COHEN LIVE AT THE ISLE OF WIGHT 1970'
Going Back to the Well to Drink in the ’70s

articleLarge.jpg
Brian Moody/Rex Features, via Sony Music Entertainment

Revisiting the counterculture: Leonard Cohen, at 35, in Murray Lerner's “Leonard Cohen Live at the Isle of Wight 1970.”

By MANOHLA DARGIS
Published: January 22, 2010

The maxim “waste not, want not” must be embroidered on a pillow somewhere in the director Murray Lerner’s home. In 1970 Mr. Lerner joined some 600,000 wet, chilled, increasingly cranky hippies on the Isle of Wight, off the southern coast of England, for a five-day outdoor concert. A quarter-century later Mr. Lerner released his best-known film about the event, “Message to Love: The Isle of Wight Festival” (1996), becoming a near Isle of Wight completist, with additional works on Miles Davis, the Who, Jimi Hendrix, Jethro Tull and Emerson, Lake & Palmer.

Man, Mr. Lerner must have a lot of footage! Yet again, he has dipped into his archives, this time coming back with “Leonard Cohen Live at the Isle of Wight 1970.” The title more or less says it all: the date was presumably added because there were concerts at the Isle of Wight before and after 1970, though the live seems superfluous. Mr. Cohen, who’s partial to black these days, might dress like a dapper funeral director, singing and often half-singing and chanting in a voice as dark as a grave. But as his recent energetic concert tour schedule indicates, that 75-year-old musician is very much alive. (In 2008, several years after discovering that his money had been stolen by his former business manager, Mr. Cohen began a world tour.)

Clocking in at a fast-moving, often slow-grooving 64 minutes, including credits and brief interviews (including with Kris Kristofferson, who had been booed during his set), “Leonard Cohen Live at the Isle of Wight 1970” is a pleasurable if generally ahistoric blast to a countercultural past. The August 1970 concert, as Mr. Lerner’s has shown before, turned into something of a battlefield between the promoters and the gate-crashing attendees who didn’t want to pay for the music. Tempers flared, fights ignited, and Rikki Farr, one of the organizers, furiously castigated attendees, a meltdown that Mr. Lerner thinks significant enough for both “Message to Love” and “Leonard Cohen.” In the end the gate crashers triumphed.

In “Leonard Cohen” Mr. Lerner only gestures at the politics that fanned the concert’s fires, metaphoric and otherwise. That’s fine, though a few more specifics would have been nice. Mr. Cohen took the stage after audience members apparently shot flares onto the stage while Hendrix was playing, causing the roof to catch fire. Mr. Cohen’s calm (or shock) during his set was as amazing as his delivery of songs like “Bird on the Wire.” You have to wonder what he was thinking. You also have to wonder what Mr. Lerner was thinking when he decided to step on the opening of “Suzanne” with a short interview with Judy Collins, who tells a story about once having had to guide a nervous Mr. Cohen back onstage after he exited midperformance.

Mr. Cohen doesn’t appear remotely worried during the concert, for which he was awoken sometime around 2 in the morning. He was 35 years old, unshaven and rumpled, and his dark hair still draped over this ears. (From some angles he brings to mind a somewhat less dissolute Serge Gainsbourg.) Dressed in a tan safari jacket and playing an acoustic guitar, staring into the night and putting a largely unseen yet palpably present, often audible audience under a spell, Mr. Cohen was a man on a mission and somewhat of a missionary from another world. And, as he sings one dark thought and feeling, his long, lyrical, at times surrealistic words chasing one another, you experience the ancient arts of the shaman one more time.

Leonard Cohen Live at the Isle of Wight 1970

Opens on Friday in Manhattan.

Produced and directed by Murray Lerner; edited by Einar Westerlund and George Panos; released by Sony Music Entertainment/Legacy Recordings. At the Cinema Village, 22 East 12th Street, Greenwich Village. Running time: 1 hour 4 minutes. This film is not rated.
User avatar
sturgess66
Posts: 4085
Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 2:50 pm
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Postby sturgess66 » Fri Jan 22, 2010 3:38 am

And here's another one - from the Village Voice -

http://www.villagevoice.com/2010-01-19/ ... ight-1970/
Leonard Cohen Live at the Isle of Wight 1970
This latest from the cottage industry of Cohen-in-concert memorabilia


By Nick Pinkerton
Tuesday, January 19th 2010 at 4:59pm
Village Voice.jpg
Village Voice.jpg (11.78 KiB) Viewed 3412 times
Details: Leonard Cohen Live at the Isle of Wight 1970
Directed by Murray Lerner
Sony Music Entertainment/Legacy Recordings
Opens January 22, Cinema Village
This latest from the cottage industry of Cohen-in-concert memorabilia (I'm Your Man, Under Review, Live in London) offers the best vintage available. Director Murray Lerner, whose latter-days career consists largely of revisiting footage from the Isle of Wight concerts, presents a re-sequencing of Cohen's 2 a.m. set from the 1970 festival's final day. With only sparse coverage available, Lerner doesn't have the option of distilling the confidential performance—a virtue. Much of the film is simply Cohen on-screen, dressed like a Camus protagonist in head-to-toe khaki, held in medium close-up, fervid-eyed through his measured recitation. Exceptional live recording by Teo Macero does justice to the Army, Cohen's band of (mostly) Nashville session vets, including fiddler Charlie Daniels and Songs From a Room producer Bob Johnston, performing a set list drawn from Cohen's first three albums, closing on a funeral note with "Seems So Long Ago, Nancy." Lerner solders things together in a narrative arc, breaking for new interviews with witnesses—Kris Kristofferson and Joan Baez—who cast Cohen as a musical sedative. Born-ancient "I know we are not new" Cohen followed young, hellraising Hendrix (with three weeks left to live), subduing a mutinous crowd of some 600,000 with raincoat-weather songs in 3/4 time.
User avatar
sturgess66
Posts: 4085
Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 2:50 pm
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Postby sturgess66 » Fri Jan 22, 2010 7:44 pm

From HollywoodAndFine -

http://hollywoodandfine.com/reviews/?p=1908

The last paragraphs sums it up well: "Short at a mere 64 minutes, “Leonard Cohen Live at the Isle of Wight 1970” is a fascinating document, less of a moment in history than in the development of an artist. Forty years later, he’s still performing – and it’s still an occasion when he does."
January 22, 2010
‘Leonard Cohen Live at the Isle of Wight 1970’: Soothing savage beasts

Image

Either you’re a Leonard Cohen fan or you’re not; there seems to be no middle ground. Which pretty much sums up who the audience is for “Leonard Cohen Live at the Isle of Wight 1970.”

The film by director Murray Lerner is receiving a brief theatrical run in New York beginning today (1/22/10) but is also being released on DVD as part of a package with the CD of the same show.

It’s the epitome of narrowcasting: A single performance, fewer than a dozen songs, with little else onscreen beyond Cohen and his band. The camerawork is such that, though Cohen’s intricate and insistent guitar-playing is heard, there’s nary a shot that truly shows his hands during any of the musical performances. The sound is such that, while Cohen and his band are heard perfectly, the audience sounds like a small, appreciative club full of fans, when there were actually 600,000 people in attendance.

We do get a wee bit of history of the festival itself, which drew a massive crowd and degenerated into a brawling free festival after ticketless hordes burned the fences to gain entry. A couple of witnesses to the mayhem – performers Kris Kristofferson and Joan Baez – are shown in archival footage and contemporary interviews. And there are a few filmed images of the fires and of one festival organizer yelling at the crowd.

Which leaves Cohen himself, performing at 4 a.m. with a band called the Army and which included noted music producer Bob Johnston on keyboards and Charlie Daniels on both bass and fiddle. But, really, it’s all Cohen.

Spindly, long-haired and beak-nosed, Cohen was at something of a peak at that point: a poet whose popularity had crept into the mainstream, with songs packed with erotic, provocative imagery, sung in a slightly droney baritone that seemed perfect for the lyrics in the same way Bob Dylan’s voice has always seemed just right for his.

There’s nothing ostentatious about the performances – just the casual, precise Cohen, enunciating each word clearly, stringing them together in ways that seem both mysterious and surprising. He runs through everything from “Bird on a Wire” and “Suzanne” to the relatively upbeat “Tonight Will Be Fine,” which sounds like a hoedown, compared to the rest.

Cohen never rushes a song or a lyric. Instead, he seems to come at them carefully, bit by bit, as though he were unwrapping a gift in fragile paper that he didn’t want to tear. The audience – remember, it’s 4 a.m., they’re cranky, dirty, rebellious – seems to listen raptly, as thought some sort of benign wizard had suddenly appeared in their midst to mystify them.

Short at a mere 64 minutes, “Leonard Cohen Live at the Isle of Wight 1970” is a fascinating document, less of a moment in history than in the development of an artist. Forty years later, he’s still performing – and it’s still an occasion when he does.

Return to “News”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 12 guests