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CONCERT REPORT: Kitchener, ON (June 2)

Posted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 7:34 am
by zintman61
Just a quick note to get this thread started.
Been a long day and I'm rather wiped more later.

I've been going to concerts since the mid 70's...seen 100's of concerts from the Sex Pistols to the Stones to Frank Sinatra.
But man... that show tonight was one of the coolest,I mean real deal concerts I've ever experienced in my life.In the top ten for sure (probably top five).

Pure artistry...the band is just immaculate...superb performance!

Quick notes:

Lyric change in the Future:
Give me crack and anal sex became Give me crack and careless sex.

Leonard paid tribuute to Bo Diddley.
paraphrasing:"we lost a great poet today,Bo Diddley left us".
He dedicated a song to him..I'm so tired not thinking straight...I think it was Take This Waltz.
I'm sure someone will confirm.

Trivia note: We sat right next to Brenda Martin,the lady who was in the news for months regarding her fight to get released from a Mexican jail she was imprisoned in for two years,on charges she claimed she was innocent of.The Canadian government flew a private jet down to pick her up when she was paroled.
She really seemed to be enjoying herself.

Bob cat can play some serious guitar!

all for now...(sorry)

Re: Kitchener Ontario June 2

Posted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 8:11 am
by stfa
WOW! I concur with everything above.....this was more or less a religious experience......the band is even better than the 93 band.....all have extreme talent but are very subtle and tasteful.......the organ sounds are unbelievable.......the 'girls' have an amazing sound both individually and collectively....when the sisters have their moment in the encores it is almost as spellbinding as when Leonard sings..........tonight we got Waiting for a Miracle in one of the encores........very warm audience ( but I imagine most are...) Leonard entered to a standing ovation which was the first of many........really enjoyed the way the crowd would laugh at the apropriate lines in many songs......especially Tower of Song......Leonard is so gracious even with the inevitable people who have to yell out.......the crowd cheered most of the verses of Closing the end of the concert he left the door open for a future visit.......although this tour does have the feel of a farewell tour in many ways........Leonard appeared feeble at times, but once he started singing that all is not every day you get to see such a man.....loved democracy.......wish more Americans were aware of takes a Canadian to have that kind of perspective........On to Hamilton!!!!!!

Re: Kitchener Ontario June 2

Posted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 8:22 am
by zintman61
Yes!!...Waiting For a Miracle was a brilliant live rendition,just sublime!

And I agree about the people who felt it necessary to hoot and shout things out during the song...completely unnecessary,wait for the end of the song people!

And flash photography...I mean,FLASH photography...completely rude and thoughtless.

I think the live Cohen experience just skimmed over some people's heads,I don't think they really got it.
I did notice some of the loudest applause erupted for songs from The Future..the album with the most pop appeal.

Re: Kitchener Ontario June 2

Posted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 8:27 am
by Joe Way
Anne is trying to get to sleep, but I'm still too wound up at our hotel here in Kitchener.

I can only echo what has been said so far about the quality of everything involved with these concerts. When Leonard sings, "And here's a man still working for your smile" you know that so much effort has been put into the tour to make it worth every dime and every mile traveled.

For those of us who were able to see him at a very early stage of his career, where we cheered the magnificence of "Suzanne" & "Bird On The Wire," the development of the music remains continual while retaining the youthful exuberance and essence of these great songs. Now to see those songs performed in a virtuouso fashion along with the increasingly great canon that Leonard has assembled is breath taking. The concert brought fresh eyes & ears to all of us oldsters and it was wonderful to see & hear the reaction of those more new to his work.

On to Hamilton.

Joe & Anne

Re: Kitchener Ontario June 2

Posted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 11:50 am
by phat
Was it just me, or did his reading of "A Thousand Kisses Deep" consist entirely of verses not in the song on the album?

I liked how he gestured knowingly to the audience when he sang "then we take Berlin". (Kitchener was called Berlin before WWI.)

Leonard Cohen a spiritual nostalgia tour

Posted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 12:51 pm
by sirius
Leonard Cohen a spiritual nostalgia tour

The unmitigated pleasure of my spiritual nostalgia tour, however, was Monday’s concert with Leonard Cohen, who did not disappoint. His performance and that of his band and backup were strong and powerful. The audience, two-thirds grey, but generously peppered with the generation under 30, connected enthusiastically with this troubadour of love at 74, who performed repeated encores. One can describe Monday night’s concert as a spiritual event, a fellowship of moderns who long for love and community but who often do not find them in pews and churches. Cohen in his inimitably gravelly but melodious voice betrayed how much religion is still on his mind. Untroubled by the weight of history and Wayne Johnston’s bitter-humorous childhood reminiscences, he observed the poetic beauty in the name of the auditorium, “Holy Heart of Mary,” just as he had once spoken feelingly in one of his classic songs about “Sisters of Mercy.” Reminiscing about his own religious journey from Judaism to Zen Buddhism, Cohen commented that he had tried many religious ways, but in the end “cheerfulness kept breaking through.” Finally, and for me personally a signal moment in the concert, he recited the refrain to “Anthem,” that verse that rings with truth and illuminates with hope the darkness and brokenness of our existence: “Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” ... 9656&sc=86

Hans Rollmann is a professor of Religious Studies at MUN and a Cohen fan, who can be reached by email:

Re: Kitchener Ontario June 2

Posted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 2:08 pm
by Steve Wilcox
phat -

The recitation of A Thousand Kisses Deep is of an earlier version of the song (originally a poem). A live demo of the earlier version was heard in Armelle Brusq's documentary; we saw Leonard sitting at his keyboard at Mount Baldy and singing the song.

read it at

(p.s. - regarding flash photography - so far I have seen the show at three venues (with 3 to go in Montreal!), ah, but to my point - the first two venues did not allow photography (though it was done discretely); but the third venue allowed full flash photography and I was in the 2nd row but the flashes coming from behind WERE very very annoying and distracting - and worse yet, a young man continually got up from his seat, went to the stage, then crouched down and took photos across the stage perimeter. Some people's kids!)

Re: Kitchener Ontario June 2

Posted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 7:30 pm
by Steve Wilcox
To those who attended Kitchener -

was the Tour merchandise available yet? and I don't mean CD's and books of poetry but Tour specific items - especially


Re: Kitchener Ontario June 2

Posted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 8:23 pm
by kdcoe
I agree with the commentary regarding the Kitchener concert--it was unbelievable! We gave Cohen a standing ovation as soon as he arrived on stage and at every opportunity thereafter. The musicians accompanying him were the best I have ever seen--and that covers everything from opera to folk--and I am gettin' to be some old! They provided enough extra solo performances to give Cohen some well deserved breaks while on stage. We were accompanied by a couple who had never seen him in concert, and one of them hardly even knew of him. They too, like ALL of us at the Centre in the Square, were in awe of what may be the best musical performance we will ever see. This is my third live Cohen concert covering almost 35 years and it was the best. He has a grueling schedule and I hope each and every venue enjoys the phenomenal performance that we were so fortunate to witness in Kitchener.

The man is truly an artist. Everyone on stage, or remotely connected with everyone on stage, did a superlative job. Cohen speaks to a select few on planet Earth but those of us who listen, are truly fortunate to have done so. I have done so for over 40 years and hopefully he and I can continue for a few more decades.

I will see you in Toronto on Friday, Leonard. If I had the opportunity, I would follow this tour around the planet.


Re: Kitchener Ontario June 2

Posted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 8:59 pm
by kdcoe
We were disappointed that there were no T Shirts or posters available. There were some disks and books, all of which, most aficionados would already possess.


Re: Kitchener Ontario June 2

Posted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 10:28 pm
by thibej
Agreed entirely on the quality of this show, one of the more amazing concerts I've ever seen and maybe the most emotional. It definitely exceeded my expectations. After hearing Cohen's voice on 'Dear Heather' and the songs from that album, I was a little worried. That worry disappeared pretty quickly. The set was amazing, and included almost everything from 'I'm Your Man', except for "Jazz Police" haha. His voice was in fine form, only really stretching a bit on "Take this Waltz". The band and backup vocalists were fantastic. I would actually purchase a live recording of this concert in a heartbeat, were there one.

The venue is decent and the audience reaction was highly positive and warm. This is sadly the only performance of the tour I'm going to be able to attend. Anyone who does not have tickets who can conceivably get them and thinks they might enjoy the show, should. I can assure you, if you are a fan of Cohen, you will love it.

Also, he played 20 or 21 songs. As many of the songs stretch 5, 6, 7 minutes or more, the concert was around 3 hours long, including the brief intermission. That's a long time for anyone to play. I'm so glad I had the opportunity to see Mr. Cohen and his band!

Re: Kitchener Ontario June 2

Posted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 11:00 pm
by mpeter
included almost everything from 'I'm Your Man', except for "Jazz Police" haha
Oh my. I believed this for a moment and thought that he played "I Can't Forget" which is one of my favourites!! but then I checked the setlist and saw he didn't... would love to hear that song though (it seems I won't)

Re: Kitchener Ontario June 2

Posted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 12:39 am
by stfa
I'll second that motion!!!! I love I Can't Forget but it isn't on the alternate song list (neither is Jazz Police lol)

Re: Kitchener Ontario June 2

Posted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 12:46 pm
by Steve Wilcox
An article today in the Kitchener Record
Like his poetry, Cohen is timeless

Robert Reid


Leonard Cohen took Berlin -- for the second time.

Kitchener hasn't been called Berlin since 1916. But that historical fact didn't diminish the adoration he received from the sell-out crowd at Centre in the Square.

Nor did it diminish the deep gratitude he extended to his adoring fans.

Cohen's loss has been our gain.

It's highly unlikely he would be touring were it not for a former manager, an ex-lover, bilking him out of millions of dollars of retirement savings.

But touring the world is exactly what the celebrated poet-novelist-singer-songwriter is doing these days on the heels of being inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame, including a visit to Kitchener.

Cohen last appeared at the Centre in 1993 in support of his 11th album The Future. He remembered the previous visit.

"It's been 15 years since I last stood on this stage," he recalled with customary self-deprecating humour. "I was 60 then, just a kid with a crazy dream."

Despite the line in The Tower of Song of being "born with the gift of a golden voice," Cohen has never claimed to be a great vocalist.

Still, his bedroom rumble has always served his lyrics exceptionally well. He sounded as good Monday night as he did 15 years ago.

Although he had three terrific backup female singers in longtime musical collaborator Sharon Robinson and the "sublime Webb sisters" (Charley and Hattie), not to mention a sextet of superb musicians, his voice remained front and centre.

Cohen didn't so much sing as caress lyrics and his clear diction ensured you heard every word.

When he sang he often bent over slightly, as if drawing the words from somewhere deep within. And, when he wasn't singing, he gently sashayed like a proud grandfather at his granddaughter's wedding.

Notwithstanding his voice, he has built his performing career on two essential qualities.

First is charisma.

The term is overused in casual conversation. But Cohen has the real thing, a compelling attractiveness or charm that inspires devotion in others.

Nattily attired in a dark, double-breasted suit, blue dress shirt sans tie, topped with fedora, Cohen looked like he just stepped out of a 1940s romantic comedy. He epitomized debonair.

But his charisma is not the result of fashion, sex appeal or even force of personality. It's a form of grace, a gift with appeal that transcends mere attractiveness.

After each song, and in response to thunderous applause and regular standing ovations, the Monk of Rock offered his beaming, crooked grin, with his hand over his heart in a gesture of humility and gratitude.

Second is language.

Whether writing poetry or songs, Cohen has remained a poet. W.B. Yeats has been called the Last Romantic Poet. But Cohen deserves the title.

His best songs have the allure of poetry -- compelling, engaging, haunting. Melody, while often memorable, remains secondary to lyrics.

His use of imagery and metaphor is unsurpassed in popular song. His language is so rich and so evocative, it's impossible to select specific examples; they are simply too abundant.

His songs ranged over his career, extending back to the 1960s with a fresh Bird on a Wire, Who By Fire, I've Tried to Leave, and the forever haunting Suzanne.

Cohen's unique style of fingerpicking is often overlooked and it was wonderful seeing him play guitar for these and a couple of other songs.

Most of the material was drawn from the 1980s and 90s including a number of songs he co-wrote with Robinson, who contributed several duets and solos.

Cohen is celebrated for his songs from what he refers to as the Book of Love. And, indeed, love is a major theme, as was evident in such songs as The End of Love, Ain't No Cure for Love, My Secret Life, The Gypsy's Wife and A Thousand Kisses.

But he has also been one of the very best political songwriters over the last quarter century as was confirmed by Democracy, The Future and Anthem.

Similarly, while acknowledged as the poet melancholy, his subtle humour shone through in many songs including The Tower of Song and I'm Your Man.

Cohen did a short first set, longer second set and returned for three encores, so the concert ended up featuring 25 songs over three hours, minus intermission.

His songbook brims with enough exceptional material to fill three concert programs. So, there were undoubtedly fans who left the Centre without hearing personal favourites.

But, it's a guarantee nobody left disappointed. He delivered a superb concert

He ended by singing, "here's a man still working for your smile."

He worked not only for smiles, but for tears of joy.

"It was a privilege and honour to play for you," he concluded. "I hope I can come back someday."

That would be nice, very nice.

Re: Kitchener Ontario (June 2)

Posted: Sun Jun 15, 2008 9:14 am
by stfa
Official word from Maclean's magazine and Mr Cohen himself.......we and our friends in the East WERE indeed part of the tour.... :D

Q: You started this tour in smaller centres in eastern Canada. Was it a warm-up leg?

A: There’s no such thing when you’re appearing in front of an audience. It would be insulting. Our band was warmed up. We had three months of rehearsal. Neil Larsen [the keyboard player] said most bands rehearse for a couple of weeks, and then it usually takes 10 or 20 concerts for the band to jell. We jelled in the rehearsal hall. God forbid that I would walk out onto a stage and think that this is a warm up. So from the first concert which was in Fredericton, maybe the show’s tightened, and the rhythm of the show has been more accurately defined, but it was no warm up.

Not that it really matters but nice to know!!!!! Please come back soon for "winding down".