Watched Live in Dublin midnight until almost 3:00 am; Joann was asleep, so I was joined only by Tyson, our tabby cat, who somehow didn't seem very interested.
The first thing I noticed was something I now recall being discussed when the DVD came out--it didn't have the same live feeling as, for example, Live in London. I think that during the mixing process they dialed-down the audience "noise" a bit too much.
Here are some musings that I noted while I watched:
Dance Me: Even on the DVD the electricity in the air before this song starts a concert is present. Sometimes LC's voice is a little weak at the beginning of a concert, but not here. LC's quip about breaking the family budget to sit in the best seats, as well as some other banter later on, seem a little phony when you've heard them before, but I do realize that most attending any concert probably have not been to another, so to them the lines are fresh. I should say here that for me, most of the songs in the concert were heard first in the Live in London DVD, not on the original albums, so I tend to regard the 2008-2013 live arrangements as the "real" ones. Others who bought all of LC's albums when they were released likely think of the original arrangements as being the "real" ones.
Future: This is one of those songs where it took me many plays to understand the music, the Future always seemed disjointed--until it was no longer. I see a high level of energy present on stage for so early in the concert.
Bird: Such a different presentation compared with the original, much more instrumentation. Funny to see Mitch and Javier sitting while 80-year old LC is so active.
Everybody Knows: Always a favorite of mine, enjoy seeing LC watching the other singers sing their parts. Javier makes his presence known, the first of many times in the concert. Interesting lyric, the "like your father or your dog just died," I cannot imagine that line failing to penetrate any listener. In LC's case, he lost his father and his dog at a young age, so it is not surprising that he equates their importance in song (but of course not in real life).
Who By Fire: I seldom like long band solos, but make an exception for Javier's performance here, it is breathtaking to watch him playing. Love his smile of contentment when he finishes.
Gypsy's Wife: Nice to see LC with his guitar again, wonder if it is the Conde? Beautiful lyrics and instrumentation give the song a real gypsy flavor. LC closing his eyes for an entire verse is remarkable. Thought I knew what this song was saying, but the last verse now seems to not fit my template, I need to study these lyrics more.
Darkness: Everyone on stage looks so happy despite the mood of the song. LC's voice is very strong (can anyone sing deeper than he does here?) Initial band introductions, which began in Dance Me, conclude here.
Amen: A long (8:00) rendition and a perfect arrangement. [Flashback #1: It's the start of a summer evening, with the air pure from a recent rain shower. The sun has gone down, and the sky is darkening. Despite the large crowd and outdoor setting, there is very little noise. Everyone's attention is focused on the stage, on the band, and on LC's voice. When LC sings "through the god-damned horror" it is as if he is in your living room commiserating with you. A memorable night in Lucca.]
Come Healing: Any song following the preceding rendition of Amen would have to be a let down, and that is my reaction. It seems to me that setting these lyrics to music had to have been a difficult task.
Lover Lover Lover: In light of recent discussions of this song, I found it difficult to not be interpreting lyrics rather than listening to the song. LC and the band are in a high-energy state here.
Anthem: Sadness sets in when Anthem starts, it means that the first set is almost over. LC has his eyes closed, but he is moving around rather than stationary; how can an 80-year-old have that much confidence in his sense of balance on stage? [Flashback: #2 It's December in Las Vegas, and in his introduction to Anthem LC is saying, "Some of you have been to many concerts...we are deeply aware of the gesture and of the sacrifice. I want to express our gratitude to those--I don't want to call them fans--they are of a much deeper order than fans." Anthem is played, showcasing each band member with a short solo. Then the band leaves the stage for the intermission, and we go to the lobby for a cigarette and to gush about our first concert.]
Tower: Love the way that LC loves to perform this song. Love the singers watching LC play his sophisticated instrument. Never get tired of the reaction of the crowd to "born with the gift of a golden voice."
Suzanne and Chelsea Hotel: LC with his guitar again, very little backup except the singers. These songs are probably closer to their original renditions than almost any other songs in the concert.
Waiting: I am always waiting for my favorite lyric, "When you've fallen on the highway and your lying in the rain and they ask you how you're doing, of course you say you can't complain." Love this particular performance.
Partisan: LC with his guitar again, and intense. Unlike most songs where Roscoe Beck cues the musicians, LC does the cuing himself with the downward movement of his guitar. How many times has he done that to start Partisan over all these years? It always saddens me a bit that LC did not write this song, it seems so like a lot of his work. I've always felt that the verse in French was to reinforce LC's Montreal connection. [Flashback #3: Late in the day in early fall we are on a hectic taxi ride to L'Olympia, a small venue with a considerable history. We meet others at a bar a block away, but details of this are forgotten since our minds are on what is to come. We take our seats, nice plush red seats, and the magic starts. During the second set the lights darken to veil rearrangements on stage, and then come on again to reveal the quartet of LC and Mitch with guitars, Javier with one of his exotic instruments, and Neil with an accordion, standing together, and starting The Partisan. The audience loves this song because of its connection with their history, and they really love it when LC sings the verse in French. Far too soon it is early morning and we find ourselves in another taxi returning to the rental apartment.]
Secret Life: For me this song was a bit of a letdown, it is overshadowed by the many great songs that preceded it. Is it possible to sing in a lower voice than LC's when he sings "wisdom of old"?
Alexandra Leaving: Leonard gets to rest and listen to a great singer sing a beautiful song perfectly.
I'm Your Man: LC steps out of his character in this playful rendition. Playful is not an adjective normally attributed to LC, but he pulls it off.
Recitation: A nice break in the action for the band (other than Neil) and the audience. I can see why so many have said they wish there were more recordings of LC reciting his poetry.
Hallelujah: LC's voice and energy level are still strong, while I am tired and sore just from sitting on my couch watching. Tyson has gone to the kitchen in hopes that food has appeared in his dish. I always wondered why LC began to sing "you" instead of the the original rhyming "ya" in the Hallelujah verses.
Waltz: This is the point in concerts where I am struck with the realization that the show will be quickly winding down. The singers add a lot to the performance here, especially in the final verse. Beautiful voices all. Here we see some shots of the audience; I think interspersing more throughout the DVD would have improved it.
Marianne: This rendition of one of my favorite songs was not the best. I think this has to do with the mixing, too much of the audience reaction was eliminated. In Ireland especially, there was always large audience participation in the Marianne chorus, but here it has been eliminated (even though LC acknowledges its presence).
Going Home: Poignant lyrics now that LC has left us. I need to look at these lyrics more, who is the singer, or "I," meant to be?
Manhattan: Always liked this song, lyrics, music, staging, everything. [Flashback #4: Drinking wine that some fans brought to the park beneath the venue, and Christelle shows us "Pablo" who will be tossed on stage before "the monkey and the plywood violin" line. The sun is finally setting, and we climb the mountain to Palau Sant Jordi for the show. Now we are seated, just several rows back from where Javier will be on stage. Eventually the concert reaches Manhattan, and Christelle's aim is perfect. We can see LC making the the toy monkey wave to Javier right in front of us. The crowd loves it, it is good to be alive. Then the long walk downhill from the venue, and the taxi to downtown Barcelona where we have a very late but delicious tapas meal.]
FBR: LC with his guitar again. My favorite song, but here it is played at too fast a tempo for my taste, I like the original slow version. The otherwise excellent concert lighting falters at the end of FBR, LC is made to appear to have a blue "clown" nose. This can be overlooked.
Closing Time: This is a song LC always seems to enjoy singing (maybe because he knows he is almost done for the night?). It must be incredibly difficult to remember the lyrics, everything goes so fast there is no time to think.
I Tried t Leave You: Final appearance of LC's guitar. As I mentioned once before, there is a lot going on in this short little song, I like it a lot. Nice opportunity for a final showcase of the band.
Save the Last Dance: LC obviously likes this song, but I would really prefer to see him do one of his songs--any one--instead. Just my opinion.
I wrote more than I had intended, likely far too much. I hope there are a few bits that interest you, enough to make wading through it worthwhile.
Last edited by its4inthemorning
on Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:46 pm, edited 6 times in total.
2010 DECEMBER 10 - CAESARS COLOSSEUM, LAS VEGAS / 2012 SEPTEMBER 28 - L'OLYMPIA, PARIS
2012 OCTOBER 3 - PALAU SANT JORDI, BARCELONA / 2012 DECEMBER 13 - K-ROCK CENTRE, KINGSTON
2013 APRIL 6 - RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL, NEW YORK CITY / 2013 JULY 9 - PIAZZA NAPOLEONE, LUCCA
2017 NOVEMBER 5-8 - MONTREAL LEONARD COHEN MEMORIAL CELEBRATION - RIP, YOU GOT ME SINGING!