CONCERT REPORTS: Manchester, UK (June 17, 18, 19 and 20)

Canada and Europe (May 11 - August 3, 2008). Concert reports, set lists, photos, media coverage, multimedia links, recollections...
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Re: Manchester, UK (June 17-20)

Post by woolton » Wed Jun 18, 2008 11:40 pm

Hi Phil,
You're in for a real treat. I wish I was going tomorrow as well!! Last night's performance was superb.
Leonard Cohen has to be one of the greatest singer songwriters in modern times. The band were wonderful too.
The atmosphere was lovely...... everyone was so happy to be there. Still feels like a dream.
Have a super evening. Enjoy!
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Re: Manchester, UK (June 17-20)

Post by Red Poppy » Thu Jun 19, 2008 12:59 am

You have a heart of stone! :lol:
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Re: Manchester, UK (June 17-20)

Post by roubiliac » Thu Jun 19, 2008 1:37 am

Wednesday's set list as Tuesday's PLUS Famous Blue Raincoat in the encore. Whole show was marvellous and I bumped into Jeremy Paxman in the circle.
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Re: Manchester, UK (June 17-20)

Post by johnny7moons » Thu Jun 19, 2008 2:00 am

Famous Blue Raincoat AND Sisters of Mercy! And Whither Thou Goest! Woooaaah!

I am emotionally drained.
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Re: Manchester, UK (June 17-20)

Post by sirius » Thu Jun 19, 2008 2:52 am

Leonard Cohen, Manchester Opera HouseBy Ludovic Hunter-Tilney

The Financial Times

Published: June 18 2008 19:12 ... fd2ac.html

Alleged fraud and the recuperative powers of cheerfulness explain Leonard Cohen’s return to the stage. The fraud follows his claims in 2005 that an ex-manager emptied his retirement fund, leaving him almost penniless. At the age of 73, the “poet laureate of pessimism” must once more sing for his supper.

His first appearance on a British stage in 15 years came under the auspices of the Manchester International Festival, where he entertained an ecstatic audience with a droll, graceful show. There was no allusion to his financial crisis, nor any sign of his famously gloomy outlook. With old age has come the lifting of his lifelong depression. “Cheerfulness,” he told us with a twinkle, “can bring you through.”

Frail but dapper in a dark pinstripe suit and fedora, he resembled a boulevardier who had spent an afternoon watching pretty girls from a café. Whereas that other Jewish titan of pop, Bob Dylan, has adopted the persona of a travelling bluesman as he ages, the Montreal-born Cohen, once a notorious ladies’ man, looked like an elegant relic of the French chanson tradition. Clutching his hat modestly to his chest at each explosion of applause and truncating standing ovations with the claim that such displays made him nervous (“It makes me think you’re going to leave”), he exuded a beguiling, ironic courtliness.

The set focused on the later stages of his career, with early albums mined for the odd classic such as “Suzanne”. The backing band played with charm and swing. A Hammond organ shimmered in the mix and Javier Mas, a Spanish guitarist, plucked intricate accompaniments; the effect blended R&B and jazz with European and Jewish folk traditions.

A trio of female singers, led by Cohen’s songwriting collaborator Sharon Robinson, added a subtle backing chorus, siren voices in his tales of love and sex. Age has narrowed the range of his own vocals, and his attempts to sound impassioned, as when he exclaimed, “If I had been unkind” in “Bird on the Wire”, came out raspy. But his baritone, grizzled by cigarettes and dark humour, remains magnificently seductive, a tarry pleasure of the flesh. His final encore, a bluesy “I Tried to Leave You”, climaxed with the line “Here’s a man still working for your smile”. On record it sounds world-weary, defeated. Here, it was triumphant.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2008
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Re: Manchester, UK (June 17-20)

Post by Born With The Gift Of A G » Thu Jun 19, 2008 2:53 am

Wednesday night in Manchester...

That Don't Make It Junk dropped from the previous night's setlist and Sisters Of Mercy, Famous Blue Raincoat and Whither Thou Goest? added.

A rather good exchange, in my view!

After Tuesday's unmissable emotional experience, I just felt that I absorbed far more of the songs in the concert this evening.

Best heckle of the night:

In Tower Of Song, when LC sang the line "I'm crazy for love but I'm not coming on", a rather excited woman yelled out "Oh yes you are!"

And we get to do it all again tomorrow...marvellous!
"Little lady.....I AM Kris Kristofferson....."
London: 10 & 11 May 1993; Manchester: 17, 18, 19 & 20 June 2008; Vienna: 25 September 2008; London: 17 November 2008; Paris: 26 November 2008; Manchester: 30 November 2008; Liverpool: 14 July 2009; Paris: 28 September 2012; Manchester: 31 August 2013; Leeds: 7 September 2013.
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Re: Manchester, UK (June 17-20)

Post by lilly » Thu Jun 19, 2008 2:57 am

After all the reviews, all the posts telling us how great the tour is, how wonderful Leonard is, I began to be nervous - could he possibly live up to it all? Well, YES YES YES. Can't stop grinning. I was there, I saw him, and it's all true!! And Famoue Blue Raincoat, Sisters of Mercy too. Can't believe my luck. Can't wait for tomorrow night ....

And it was really nice to meet up with folk at the Deansgate - thanks for organising it (although such a shame about the food).

John Etherington
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Re: Manchester, UK (June 17-20)

Post by John Etherington » Thu Jun 19, 2008 3:16 am

Reflections on Tuesday night (17th)...Ironically, I cut my finger with a razor blade shortly before leaving London yesterday! Arriving at The Travel Lodge in the City Centre, I found that to get to my room, I had to take the down elevator, and that the room was by the river (clearly I was being haunted by the spectres of Leonard's past!). After touching base with the Cohenites at the Deans Gate, and some welcome red-wine, I headed for the Opera House. In my madness, I had (the previous day) decided to upgrade my J25 stalls seat to B23, but without too much effort managed to secure face-value for the spare.

The Opera House is a great venue, but the entrance and corridors sure get mighty crowded! I must say that I thought that the merchandise was disappointing compared to what we've had in the past. Previously we've had tasteful shirts with small logos compared to the garish stuff on offer, here. I would like to see a black shirt with a small united heart logo, and a white shirt with the muse image on the front. The absence of programmes so far, must have already lost Leonard a small fortune.

This was my seventeenth Leonard concert since 1970, but it exceeded all my expectations. Leonard looked as stylish as ever in his grey suit and fedora, and I loved his welcome where he apologised for the financial and geographic hardship that some of us have had to endure. He said something to the effect that he had no idea that there was such a market for this stuff.

The power and clarity of Leonard's vocals was a complete surprise, and he is sounding better now than he did fifteen years ago. As ever, he graced us with his usual warmth and humility. We are witnessing a master at the peak of his performance powers at age 73, and this must surely be some kind of record in contemporary music. And what a band! Leonard's respective definitions of the Webb Sisters and Sharon Robinson as "sublime" and "incomparable" are rightly deserved (and lovely ladies they all are, too). I found the stage lighting tasteful, and especially liked the backdrop when it had a bright, illuminated, purple glow.

Leonard's choice of material was impeccable (I've purposely avoided set lists, as far as I'm able, to keep the surprise element). The absolute highlights for me were "Hey That's No Way to Say Goodbye" which genuinely gave me tingling sensations, "Anthem" which brought a flood of tears to my eyes, and a definitive "Hallelujah". "Boogie Street" was also a stand-out for me..."Oh crown of light, Oh darkened one"! The poetic inclusions were wonderful, with Leonard reciting the alternative lyrics to "a Thousand Kisses Deep" and the familiar lyrics to "If it Be Your Will" before the Webb Sisters exquisite musical and vocal interpretation.

The audience at the opera House could not have been more respectful, and what a joy to see the absence of all those tacky liitle cell-phones! Okay, some jerk in the gallery yelled something across Leonard's intro to "Anthem", but there's always one! My own seat could not have been better situated - second row, directly behind Jarkko and Eija. It was great to meet them both gain, along with my other dear friends...Gina, Jeff, Jim, Celia, Anthony and Greg others I've met once before or for the first time...Andy, Davido, Anthony and his wife, Rachel, and everyone else.

With all sincerity I can say that this was possibly the greatest concert of my life (and I've attended many, including 35 by Brian Wilson in recent years). Words such as awesome, majestic and transcendant can only hint at what it was like to be at the Manchester Opera House last night. The experience was truly life affirming, and I'm still on a high twenty-four hours later.

Love to all, John E
Last edited by John Etherington on Thu Jun 19, 2008 11:12 am, edited 7 times in total.
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Re: Manchester, UK (June 17-20)

Post by tiggs » Thu Jun 19, 2008 3:41 am

You see I was coming down from and really appreciating the wonderful night I had in Dublin on Saturday, near the front with quiet people round me and all was wonderful. Then I read a post that he did boogie street in Manchester... WTF
Now I am one of those people whos memory is such that I realise the world is still turning and everything in it is wonderful, but if he did boogie street in dublin and I cant remember it then surely there is an injustice :)
My favorite memory from Saturday

" Friends its getting dark, soon I wont be able to see you anymore" ... that sentence is haunting me.

I pray to god that I get to see him again........ and hear boogie street
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Re: Manchester, UK (June 17-20)

Post by John Etherington » Thu Jun 19, 2008 3:49 am

Hi Tiggs,

I hope your wish to hear "Boogie Street" comes true. My own prayer is for "Sisters of Mercy" to be included in the London set.

All good things, John E
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Re: Manchester, UK (June 17-20)

Post by sirius » Thu Jun 19, 2008 4:08 am

Cohen charms Opera House

Manchester Ltd ... pera_House

Rob Haynes on a living legend's first appearance in 15 years

The brief interruption into the city of the summer sun has passed, and the skies have greyed over, dispensing showers hither and thither. In a part of Leonard Cohen’s soul, one suspects, he is nodding with satisfaction at this development. After all, the man has spent decades carefully nurturing a melancholic reputation which makes Morrissey seem like Ainsley Harriott, but the speed at which this four night residency sold out proves that the appeal of such maudlin introspection remains strong.

"The sold-out crowd rise to a standing ovation before the singer has uttered a note."

Recent years have confirmed the downbeat Cohen worldview – having retreated to a Buddhist monastery for much of the nineties, the singer discovered that his manager had taken certain Buddhist views on material goods a step too far and spirited away most of his bank balance. Cohen’s recent bout of activity can, in part, be attributed to this. But as he shimmies onto the stage in the company of a nine-piece band there’s not a trace of reluctance in his demeanour, and the sold-out crowd (including Jarvis Cocker) rise to a standing ovation before the singer has uttered a note. For a 73-year-old he is looking in unfeasibly good shape. Dressed in a grey pinstripe suit which he inadequately fills, topped with a matching fedora which he will repeatedly doff respectfully throughout the evening, he resembles a Mafia Peter Cushing. The band are similarly attired in a range of elegant threads and hats – imagine that the parents of the Fun Lovin’ Criminals had formed a group.

He opens with 1984’s 'Dance Me To the End of Love', and within seconds, rather oddly, is addressing it on bended knee to his seated acoustic guitarist. His voice these days sounds like it is huskily whispering a lullaby directly into your ear from about six inches away, and makes a superb focal point.

It’s a slick, professional show and one the players are clearly relishing, not least Cohen himself, whose often overlooked humour makes for a splendid line in between-song banter. He muses on the last time he was in Manchester, guessing at around 15 years ago. “I was 60, 15 years ago,” he recalls. “Just a kid with a crazy dream…”

The simplicity of the songs, performed by that voice, is what established Cohen’s reputation, and it is something of a shame that the new arrangements have quite so much of the band on them, with the spartan elegance of the originals frequently smothered beneath layers of smooth jazz and extended solo spots. The effect over a near three-hour set becomes soporific, although the crowd – the majority of whom appear of an age to have enjoyed Cohen’s work the first time around – lap it up adoringly.

Still, to these ears the evening’s finest moments come when less is demonstrably more – 'Tower of Song' is accompanied by a simple keyboard programmed beat (and Cohen beams radiantly at the disproportionate applause which greets his rudimentary keyboard solo). '1000 Kisses Deep' is a stunningly effective, straightforward poetry recital against a vague synthesiser wash, while 'Suzanne' is the only time Cohen plays (more or less) unaccompanied but for his own acoustic guitar, and it’s the high point.

“I bid you farewell. I don’t know when I’ll be back,” he intones on 'Tower of Song', and it’s a fair point for a man well into his eighth decade, but this iconic night should remain consolation enough to his enraptured audience.
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Re: Manchester, UK (June 17-20)

Post by sirius » Thu Jun 19, 2008 4:23 am

Leonard Cohen wows fans in UK comeback,10 ... back,31816

Considering the 'master of misery' Leonard Cohen is only back on the road at the age of 73 because his manager recently made off with £5m from his retirement fund, the Montrealer was in surprisingly good mood when he hit Manchester on Tuesday night for the first of four nights at the city's Opera House - his first UK concert in 15 years.

Looking dapper in a double-breasted suit and fedora, Cohen was greeted with a standing ovation before he had even sung a word. Given that he once said that his records should come with free razor blades, some of the audience seemed surprised he hadn't composed a song about his financial woes. In fact, he even cracked a joke (of sorts), saying: "It's been 15 years since I stood up on the stage. Fifteen years ago when I was 60 - a young kid with a crazy dream - then I took a lot of Prozac." Then he reeled off the names of other prescription mood-enhancers he had taken over the years, adding: "I studied all the religions of the world too, but cheerfulness kept breaking through."

The Manchester concert won him the type of plaudits he first achieved in his 1960s heyday. Both the Guardian and the Independent awarded five stars, while the Telegraph said that Cohen had "the audience in his grip for the best part of three hours". He ended aptly with his song, I Tried to Leave You: "Goodnight, my darling/I hope you're satisfied/Here's a man still working for a smile".
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Re: Manchester, UK (June 17-20)

Post by NickShears » Thu Jun 19, 2008 6:52 am

A huge bouquet to each of you who have posted such detailed, well written, personal reviews of these concerts. Thank you all! You've brought tears to my eyes many a time as I've been reading how wondrous the shows have been. I can only keep praying that Mr. Cohen decides to visit us down here in Australia.
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Re: Manchester, UK (June 17-20)

Post by Mikeaus » Thu Jun 19, 2008 7:11 am

NickShears wrote:A huge bouquet to each of you who have posted such detailed, well written, personal reviews of these concerts. Thank you all! You've brought tears to my eyes many a time as I've been reading how wondrous the shows have been. I can only keep praying that Mr. Cohen decides to visit us down here in Australia.
Could not agree with you more Nick. The closest we have got to Leonard in the past 20 years is Philip Glass' interpetation of Leonard's Book of Longing at the Adelaide Festival in March this year. Both nights were sell outs. Prior to that the I'm Your Man concert at the Sydney Opera House in January 2005 was a stunning success with artists like Rufus & Martha Wainwright, Antony (amazing rendition of If It Be Your Will) Julie Christensen & Perla Batalla (their version of Anthem was brilliant) and many other wonderful performers. This show is available on DVD. In the meantime, we live in hope and dreams that Leonard will pay a visit to the land down under, where he has thousand of fans.
Sydney & Bowral 2009. Lissadell Sligo July 2010 (what a night!). Sydney & Hanging Rock November 2010. Bimbadgen Winery, Hunter Valley, Nov 2013. Sydney Opera House, Dec 2013.
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Re: Manchester, UK (June 17-20)

Post by confetti » Thu Jun 19, 2008 9:46 am

I am so envious of you lucky lucky people. Manchester sounds like it has been wonderful. Glad everyone had such a good time. :D :D :D
"I needed so much, to have nothing to touch - I've always been greedy that way"
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