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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adex
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Re: Manchester, UK (June 17-20)

Post by adex » Fri Jun 20, 2008 3:34 am

no idea if this is an appropriate place to post a review of Tuesday's show, but i spent most of wednesday writing it, and who knows maybe it's ego that makes me want to share, but here it is :roll:

so anyway i was driving me mum back from Heathrow and listening to radio 4 as i am wont to do, and on Front Row came an article about Leonard's first gigs in Europe for over fifteen years. Mark Lawson and the Booker winner Anne Enright had been to Dublin to see the first night of the European leg of his World tour. they were both so amazingly effusive it was infectious. Almost subliminally, ML mentioned that Leonard was playing next in Manchester on Tuesday 17th. the rest of the drive was uneventful - i went to bed totally knackered after driving 450 miles and slept the sleep of the just...

next morning my eyes sprang open at 7am - Uncle Leonard was playing Manchester and i knew i HAD to get a ticket! i decided, with a stomach fizzing with excitement, that if this necessitated giving ticket touts upwards of £100 then so be it - how often do these opportunities come along?! i drove back to Liverpool, and googled the gig - there were 8 - count them, EIGHT! - tickets left for that night! with booking fee and delivery to the box office, the total came to the princely sum of £81.50 - i can't say i've ever paid anything like that for a gig... but it'd be worth it, wouldn't it?

worth it?! what price does one put on perfection? and that was indeed what it was. Manchester Opera House is a beautiful venue, and compared to other gigs i've been to with such legends as this, a wonderfully intimate and unthreatening experience. my ticket was for row E - five from the front! if i had been so minded, i could've hit the man in the eye with a well-aimed gob - like there was any chance of that! the band wandered on as silhouettes - a glorious red-backed lighting state to welcome the man himself. he arrived looking sprightly and dressed in a double-breasted suit and fedora - like the guest of honour at a Mafiosi wedding - and went straight into Dance Me To The End Of Love, its semi-Eastern-European rhythm reinforcing the gangster impression. his voice was wine-rich and as seductive as ever, with a glint in his eye, a wry and very charming smile never far from his lips. if it were possible to fall in love with a 74 year old rake such as he, i'd admit i was smitten...

so many wonderful songs ensued - The Future was next - with a strange change to the lyrics - 'Give me crack and casual sex...' - what's this Leonard? you just so utterly seduced me and now you tell me bumming's off the menu??!!! somehow i'll survive... There Ain't No Cure For Love and i'm remembering the last thing William Burroughs ever wrote in his journal - 'Love. What is it? The most natural painkiller what there is. LOVE...' Resisting an extended mental dérive around the old junky's backpassages i watch a man just ten years younger than Bill when he died and marvel at his vigour... his voice has accompanied me for several decades, all of which seem to have been heading to this moment, to share his delight, to banish forever memories of despair and teenage depression... as if on queue, he begins to sing Bird On A Wire, rendering it the drunk's wobbly anthem it undoubtedly is... during all the older songs tonight, i recall very late nights sat in rented rooms smoking cigarettes and listening to Leonard, his voice the perfect accompaniment to my barely-post-adolescent sombre self-absorption. listening tonight - i mean really listening - i realise that the intervening twenty-five years have taught me what i couldn't possibly have known at the time - i have matured, have been grown by experience, and this man's words now make so much more sense, are all the more poignant than they could ever have been back then, when i knew nothing of life and the joy and pain it often brings, and makes us better for. sobering stuff.

next it's wry jokey Leonard - Everybody Knows. i love the album I'm Your Man, marveled on its release how cheesily modern it sounded, how at last here was proof of what i had always suspected, that Mr Cohen, despite his depressive reputation, is one of the world's great modern humourists. even though I knew this, this song still had me laughing out loud - i had actually forgotten how funny it is: 'Everybody knows you've been discrete, but there were so many people you just had to meet without your clothes...' tell me that's not funny! cheeky smiles litter his delivery, again with that oh-so charming glint in his eye, at the times his eyes are not shut tight, face skyward, both hands clenching the microphone, prayer-like, testifying, that rich baritone oozing barely parodic religiosity... Leonard speaks truths only ever hinted at by religion. he is called Cohen for a reason, a name befitting the priestly class tonight at least he leads... Sharon Robinson provides perfect 'backing' vocals on all the tracks - on this one, which she co-wrote, she is sublime.

as she is on the next, In My Secret Life - it provides a slowly melting bridge to two simply astonishing songs. all of the musicians tonight are the model of understated mastery - one in particular, the multi-instrumentalist Javier Mas, provides an intricate introduction on a strange twelve-stringed guitar-lute, which Leonard's website tells me is called a bandurria, before the band break into a simply heartrending version of Who By Fire, complete with bassist and the tour's musical director Roscoe Beck performing on double bass for the only time tonight - a shame, as the sound, and his performance, are haunting. then another oldie - Hey That's No Way To Say Goodbye, and not for the first or last time tonight i have tears trickling down my cheeks - again, lyrics that when i first heard them couldn't possibly be as poignant as tonight - 'Many loved before us, I know that we are not new/In cities and in forests they smile like me and you/But let's not talk of love or chains/And things we can't untie...' My eyes are soft with sorrow, and not for the first time tonight i appreciate your heart needs to be broken a good few times before truth leaks out...

as if in reward, Leonard stops to talk. it's the first time he's played live in fifteen years he tells us, the last time he was in England he 'was just a sixty year old kid with a crazy dream...' his smile mirrored by two thousand mouths... 'and in that time I've taken a lot of Prozac...' enormous laughter... a long list of anti-depressants follows, ending with 'Ritalin, and I've studied all of the world's major religions, and despite this, nothing has prevented a basic cheerfulness from breaking through...!' as cheers and laughter fade, he recites the chorus of what is surely a modern masterpiece, Anthem: 'Ring the bells that still can ring/Forget your perfect offering/There is a crack in everything/That's how the light gets in...' his words make mine redundant, and it's time for the interval.

'Fifteen, or seventeen or so minutes' later he comes back on, preceded by roadies as dappily dressed as the main attraction, who place a keyboard centre stage. Leonard stands before it, and tells us not to be afraid, 'it plays by itself', before pushing a button and the familiar Bontempi-style rhythm of Tower of Song begins. We know he has no choice, that he 'was born with the gift of a golden voice', but the knowing laughter that accompanies these lines is familial, like the whole audience has become Leonard's children, sat cross-legged and awe-filled, staring open-mouthed at an avuncular master as he picks his wobbly way through the one-key 'solo', which we all cheer and applaud: 'Oh you're too kind' he says with a smile, but we protest en masse - by now, anything he chooses to do is just fine with us. we're in the company of a legend, and who would have thought he could possibly be as good as this?

'Don't stop!' he tells his backing singers - the incomparable Sharon Robinson, and the wonderfully talented Webb Sisters - as the song fades out - 'I've got it now... I've got it! The meaning of life is...' the audience hangs on his words, suddenly silent - if there was such a thing as the meaning of life, surely this man knows its secret - he may well reveal it tonight... and here it is: as the singers continue, he intones with them 'Do dum dum dum, de-do dum dum...' it is just one of those many perfect moments that litter tonight's show, all of which we know will stay with us, if we're lucky, forever...

Suzanne's next: it is perhaps testament to a talent, and performance, as great as this that the so-called 'hits' register no stronger than the other, less widely known material. yet even this song, rendered light by repetition, strikes me as still so stunningly poetic - from the beautiful image of 'Then she gets you on her wavelength...' I am reminded how modern his songs have always been; even when their musical setting ranges from strummed acoustic to baroque complexity, each displays an almost studied insouciance that is the epitome of modern cool. as if to prove me a liar, the next two songs, The Gypsy's Wife and Boogie Street leave little impression, until suddenly we are amidst the majesty of his most covered, and perhaps most coveted, masterpiece: Hallelujah.

Leonard's version has never been my favourite. I'd usually take John Cale's simple piano version, or Jeff Buckley's guitar orchestra version, over Leonard's recording of this song. But tonight's performance is supreme, slower than either Cale's or Buckley's, which is slow enough, but this version is driven, finds its singer almost on his knees, as each verse pushes towards its inevitable pay-off of 'Hallelujah!' it is undoubtedly one of the greatest songs of the past fifty years, and tonight's rendition does it justice, Leonard's voice rising to each transcendent ending. it is the verse in which the holy dove is moving too that tears cannot help but escape my eyes again - the sauciness of the first few lines, with its knowing playfulness of 'Now you never show it to me, do you?' rendered bathetic by the sheer beauty of the following lines, 'And every breath we drew was Hallelujah...' Perfection. How can it get any better?

But it does. The angry knowingness of Democracy [Is Coming to the USA], perhaps his most overtly political poem/song, is again driven and riven with disgusted disappointment, tempered only by Dino Soldos'[?] upbeat Wonderesque harmonica, that the so-called beacon of freedom is 'the cradle of the best and worst' underlined by an almost spat-out 'the heart has got to open in a fundamental way...' - it is a hope, perhaps a dream, but one worth keeping alive, and you can feel it here tonight. 'When, Leonard?' shouts a female voice from the balcony, and he shoots a slightly sheepish look to the rafters as if he has no greater knowledge than any of us... You're being too humble Mr Cohen...

As if knowingly, Rafael Gayol begins the cabaret soft-brush shuffle of I'm Your Man, allowing the titular man to breathe the suggestive opening lines, which, just in case we haven't quite got it, he changes on later choruses to 'I'll wear a leather mask for you...' saucy, Leonard, and so, so cool. in contrast, he begins the inexorable climb of just what he would do if he thought for a moment that begging would get his woman back, finally imploring the word 'Pleeaassee!', echoed humourously by Roscoe Beck, before falling back into hyper-cool 'I'm your man...' at this moment, we know with absolute certainty what the whole evening has been resolutely proving: he most certainly is Our Man...

and a poet too. as proof, he offers a simple recital of A Thousand Kisses Deep. we, perhaps not wretched, and on tonight's form far from meek, are rapt, hanging on every word, truly living life 'as if it's real', for it has surely never felt more so than now.

and then the cue for more tears; Take This Waltz. It's never sounded better.

then he's gone. The band continue to play, end politely, and leave too. but there is no escape. the crowd, revelant, are on their feet again, wildly cheering and applauding, hoping he will return. a wait just this side of teasing and he re-emerges, doffing his hat in gratitude, and straps on his guitar. another 'hit', So Long Marianne, making a welcome return to his set, apparently absent for many years. his hat pushed back on his head, we see a glimpse of a younger, but hardly any more vital - is such a thing possible? - crooner obviously enjoying himself. then an insistent pulsing rhythm - the crowd know where we're heading, and it's to Manhatten, ours for the taking...

he disappears again - surely the end? but the crowd refuse to accept the inevitable, and he's back on, with a story: 'I told Sharon that my drinking was becoming a problem. She looked at me and said "Leonard this is very serious - I think we're going to have to write a song about it!"' The result, That Don't Make It Junk, with its genius opening line 'I fought against the bottle, but I had to do it drunk...' is perfect Leonard. as is another recitation, of If It Be Your Will, unspeakably poignant given his fifteen year hiatus from live performance, but back now, never better. always respectful of his collaborators, he offers a more detailed introduction to the Webb sisters, who stand in a slow-to-appear spotlight, with harp and guitar - is there no end to his accomplices' accomplishments? after he has sonorously told us the lyrics, which at first sound so perfect as a poem it is difficult to believe that music could improve them, the two beautiful voices offer their version - and prove that belief irrelevant: it is simply heartbreaking...

then Closing Time, in case we haven't quite got the message! but there is nothing hurried about this version, and for the first time tonight, each band member indulges in a solo, an opportunity which not one player abuses - only Roscoe Beck's noodly bass very slightly mars the occasion, but as musical director, and therefore the man most likely responsible for these near-definitive arrangements of his master's songs, he's earned a noodle or two... here, Rafael Gayon's subtle and self-effacing solo highlights what a supremely magnanimous player he is - an obvious virtuoso, his drumming is light and unshowy, even on what is supposed to be his big opportunity to impress! Leonard is gracious as ever, painstakingly following each player's part with their full name and added appreciation, and then they're gone.

the audience is on its feet again, another minutes-long ovation to welcome him back on stage. he tells us to sit down, as an audience standing makes him nervous: 'I always think you're about to leave...' there's no chance of that. we are all captive - if we could take him home with us we surely would... He ends with the fittingly titled I Tried to Leave You, his fourth encore, again his wry smile colouring every knowing line, and sadly we know he must now leave, infeasibly happy that our favourite uncle is back amongst us.

last night in Manchester, King Cohen held court for three majestic hours. long, long may he reign supreme...
yentek
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Re: Manchester, UK (June 17-20)

Post by yentek » Fri Jun 20, 2008 4:37 am

Adex,

Absolutely magnificent! The best item by far on the 2008-09 tour thread thus far. I last saw L.C. in Los Angeles at the Wiltern some 16 years ago, and am praying that the tour is extended to include U.S. dates (and based on the reaction so far, I'm optimistic), but your review was the next best thing to being there.
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Neophyte
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Re: Manchester, UK (June 17-20)

Post by Neophyte » Fri Jun 20, 2008 5:09 am

Whether it's ego or graciously wanting to share your extraordinary experience, I'm so grateful that you took the time to write such a gloriously rich account of your Leonard experience!! I've been mesmerized by many of the ecstatic accounts, but .....WOW! :shock: We leave tomorrow for Montreal, and I'm just wishing we had tickets for more than one night! I have a feeling I'm going to have the performance further enhanced by remembering your insights. Thanks so much, adex!!
Hallelujah!!!
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Mikeaus
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Re: Manchester, UK (June 17-20)

Post by Mikeaus » Fri Jun 20, 2008 9:38 am

Dear Adex

What an amazing review.
Whilst I am 14,000 miles away I was there with you.
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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phillip
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Re: Manchester, UK (June 17-20)

Post by phillip » Fri Jun 20, 2008 10:11 am

Firstly Having eventually obtained tickets for my Auntie on (Tuesday 17) and tickets for myself and my Mother on (Thursday 19th) What can I say! My Auntie has been a fan for 40 years and has already put a post on here, I myself have been a fan for 20 years and saw him in the 1993 Concert in London so getting to see him again last night was a dream come true, my mother has been a fan for many years too but it was the first time she has seen him live and we both had a fantastic night I can tell you:) I sadly did not do a setlist for the simple reason I was far to busy watching Leonard! and someone else has already beaten me too it and done the setlist so thats good:) thankyou... oh and by the way we were sat in Row M in the stalls so had great seats :D As far as I am aware the setlist was the same as Wednesday except he did not sing Famous Blue Raincoat but being a die hard fan that was ok, to pick best bits is very hard for me as he is truely fantastic and I was and always am in awe of Leonard he blows all other performers out of the water he is the best as I am sure you will all agree. As I say its so hard for me to pick hightlights but a few had to be

'Who By Fire'
'Gypsy Wife'
'First We take Manhattan' (the production of this Song is fantastic I always sing this song to myself when I am out and about)
'Closing Time' (This songs always makes me laugh so many funny verses such as 'She is 100 but wearing something tight') lol
'Sisters Of Mercy'
'A thousand kisses deep' sent shivers down my spine
'Suzanne' etc etc I could go on as I say I love all Leonards songs and for me him singing any of his songs would of been perfect for me :D

Leonards voice was very good, strong, rich, warm, clear, better than the 1993 tour me thinks... Not to forget Leonards great humour, such as the prozac references etc... We all know Leonard has a Top band when he goes on tour but he certainly has a great band playing with him, Niel Larson was impeccable I just LOVED his keyboard, as with Bob Metzger's Guitar he is an awesome player, am so thankful for Javier Mas the highlight for me was 'Who by Fire' always makes me think Of Leonard on Hydra! perhaps it was the 1988 video/documentary 'Im Your Man'! Rafael Gayol drums and Dino Soldo Sax playing out of this world am so glad there was some sax! Sharon and the Webb sisters also sang beautifully and if THE BAND read this (my Aunt managed to get your autographs for me on Tuesday night so a BIG Thankyou to you all it was very kind :D and Thankyou Sharon for allowing my aunt to take your photo for me after the concert. all in all it was out of this world I could go on all day but as I write this my mind is still in the Opera House as I write lol...

I also apologise for any mistakes I have had about 6 hours sleep, I want to Thankyou Leonard for 20 happy years listening to your albums, reading your books of Poetery etc... am so lucky to of seen you last night and my Mother had a great time too lost for words...

Lastly if anyone reading this was at last nights concert 19th June feel free to reply to me always good to keep in touch with fans:) Now I am lost for words too it was such a perfect night and so I end here and Thank you Leonard once again I wish you the best wih the rest of the tour, hope to see you again :D God bless you Leonard and Thankyou:)

and Thankyou Jarkko for all your help:)
Last edited by phillip on Thu Nov 20, 2008 12:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
I have been a Leonard Cohen fan for 28 years feel free to email me if you wish to keep in touch!
fafner
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Re: Manchester, UK (June 17-20)

Post by fafner » Fri Jun 20, 2008 10:19 am

I went to the gig on Tuesday - and will be going again tonight. I'm so hoping that 'Famous Blue Raincoat' and 'Sisters of Mercy' appear on tonight's set list. Please, please, please.....
cpl593h
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Re: Manchester, UK (June 17-20)

Post by cpl593h » Fri Jun 20, 2008 11:29 am

friends who, though they have loved LC over the years, are out of the routine of spotting gig announcements, chasing down tickets and going to see bands play pulled out the stops to get LC tickets and they went with some trepidation

i am happy to report they have all been in raptures - these were fans, but not die-hards. but now they are die-hards

i saw the tour in Dublin and in Manchester on Tuesday and am going again tonight.

i would happily see every night of this tour - i am hesitating to say it is the best gig i have seen in my life (and i have seen hundreds if not thousands) but surely it must be close.

as well as LC's voice and humour and poetry, the grace and care and repsect the band show for each other is also a highlight.

anyone who has not been and is going soon, you are going to come away high and uplifted!
Thelightgetsin
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Manchester - Thursday 19th June 2008

Post by Thelightgetsin » Fri Jun 20, 2008 12:56 pm

Folks,

I am still nursing a very warm and pleasant feeling this morning from last night's show. It was absolutely fantastic. Leonard was on awesome humerous form and truly in "golden voice". It is wonderful that he is clearly enjoying it as much as we are!

Herewith the Set List for Thursday...

Manchester Opera House – Thursday 19th June 2008

First Set

Dance Me To The End Of Love
The Future
Ain't No Cure For Love
Bird On The Wire
Everybody Knows
In My Secret Life
Who By Fire
Hey That's No Way To Say Goodbye
Anthem

Second Set

Tower Of Song
Suzanne
The Gypsy's Wife
Boogie Street
Hallelujah
Democracy
I'm Your Man
A Thousand Kisses Deep (lyric recital)
Take This Waltz

Encores

So Long, Marianne
First We Take Manhattan
Sisters of Mercy
If It Be Your Will
Closing Time
I Tried To Leave You
Whither Thou Goest (All)

Leonard ended the evening with a doff of the hat and the words "Bless you for your open hearts"

Bless you too, sir.
woolton
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Re: Manchester, UK (June 17-20)

Post by woolton » Fri Jun 20, 2008 1:30 pm

Enjoyed reading your review Phillip...... it sounds as though you had a really memorable night.
I attended Tuesday's performance and I'm still on Cloud 9. As you say, every other performer just cannot match Leonard.
I actually think his voice is better than at the 1993 Albert Hall - and he was wonderful then.
I was watching a t.v. programme some months ago and a doctor was on saying that people who are stressed out should be made to listen to Leonard Cohen's music because his voice is so soothing and relaxing.... I agree. Wasn't it just great!
Still can't believe I've seen him (2nd time in my life!!)

Enjoy reading all the other reviews.
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phillip
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Re: Manchester, UK (June 17-20)

Post by phillip » Fri Jun 20, 2008 1:33 pm

Hi Sue

I know he is the greatest and I remember that thing on TV where the Doctor! he is so relaxing and still on cloud 9 myself, it was a concert I will always remember and am glad to of seen him twice also:) thank you for introducing me to his songs back in 1988!

Image The Stage and Emblem Taken by myself on Thursday 19th

Image Sharon Robinson Taken by my aunt on tuesday 17th

Image The Webb Sisters taken by my auntie
Last edited by phillip on Fri Jun 20, 2008 1:56 pm, edited 3 times in total.
I have been a Leonard Cohen fan for 28 years feel free to email me if you wish to keep in touch!
Born With The Gift Of A G
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Re: Manchester, UK (June 17-20)

Post by Born With The Gift Of A G » Fri Jun 20, 2008 1:42 pm

I was surprised to discover a good review and photograph of Leonard Cohen at the Manchester Opera House (Tuesday's show, I believe) in today's issue of The Daily Express (which, to be honest, is normally a paper that I would only use to line our cat's litter tray!).

Two thought's re. LC in Manchester on Thursday evening:

(i) that has to be the best rendition of Tower Of Song in Manchester to date;

(ii) I don't know quite how to put this delicately.....but is the Webb sisters' 'spotlight section' during I Tried To Leave you becoming progressively more, ahem, 'orgasmic' with each show?
Hope that makes some sense to those who have experienced it this week!
"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.
jpmcgrath
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Re: Manchester, UK (June 17-20)

Post by jpmcgrath » Fri Jun 20, 2008 2:08 pm

My name is Joe and I have a single Gallery seat for Friday night in Manchester if anybody is interested. My contact number is 00 353 86 2488198. I will be at the Midland Hotel this afternoon and before the GIG.

Enjoy

Joe :D
brodharley
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Re: Manchester, UK (June 17-20)

Post by brodharley » Fri Jun 20, 2008 2:32 pm

Hi
just a my opinon on Lc concerts
We went to Dublin sunday night ,got soaked as did everyone else ,but yes there were a few loud possibly worse for wear people ,but the Atmosphere was Electric !
Last night e went to Manchester Thursday , LC was as good we were dry ,but the Atmosphere was Awful ,I thought I was mistaken and was there to watch a play!
Lots of people will watch the concert on either their phones or camera videos ,because they were more interested in filming it than watching the Master!
I had seats in circle where one spent all concert writing on a pad.
Rant over silversurfer cohen fan of 30+ years,one thing great to see young cohen fans there last night
Brod Harley
I have tried in my way to be Free :oops:
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Rachel
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Re: Manchester, UK (June 17-20)

Post by Rachel » Fri Jun 20, 2008 2:45 pm

Tuesday and Thursday

Audience Review
I enjoyed every single song. This was marred by: on Tuesday the man sitting next to me driving me up the wall by clapping through the first few bars of each song, and leaping up and yelling ‘yes’ at the end of every number. Yes yes I am a committed miserablist who cannot abide the sound of people around me enjoying themselves. On Thursday, the man sitting next to me used his mobile to a) send texts, b) intermittently film the concert FROM THE GALLERY and c) got all wide-eyed and persecuted-looking whenever I shot him a venomous look. I was trying to convey to him that I’d spent more than four times what I’ve ever paid for a gig for this ticket with facial contortions, then he tried to hide the phone, but its little blinking screen kept naggingly intruding into my peripheral vision. Possibly I ought to have politely asked him to stop, but the bile had risen so high I think I would have physically lacerated the poor bloke, had I said anything. Suspect this was someone’s bored partner. Please leave bored partners at home! They are safer and happier there! Also, the people who clap when they recognise the song in the fourth bar or so should please desist! It is intolerable to a sad obsessive like me, who usually knows what song it is from the first two chords.

Band review
I was also displeased at the substitution of ‘give me crack and careless sex’ for ‘give me crack and anal sex’ because I think it’s actually the most oft-quoted Leonard Cohen line (in my circles). I became very worried that other lyrics had been similarly sanitised when Mr. Cohen sang that ‘old Joe’ was still picking cotton for your ribbons and bows, but this was fortunately not the case, and didn’t happen on Thursday. I was enraptured by the sight and sounds of Javier Mas playing his bandurria, laud, archilaud and 12 string guitar throughout the whole concert (whenever I had summoned the wherewithal to ignore the texter next to me). I was very pleased that Roscoe Beck briefly took his hat off on Thursday night. I enjoyed ‘Who by fire’ very very much. I thought the delicacy and simplicity of the percussion, and slowness, of this one was absolutely inspired. The juxtaposition of the figures and voices of Cohen with the sublime Webb sisters in ‘If it be your will’ made this song transcendent. The arrangement of ‘Boogie Street’ stood out. I’m a fan of both syncopation and Sharon Robinson’s voice. Also, the lighting in this one was great. For the first time I really enjoyed ‘Hallelujah’ and think this was due the passion in the singing. Can’t think of anything else. If this review sounds as though I didn’t enjoy the concerts much, that absolutely isn’t true: I just care enough to be immensely critical.

It was lovely to meet some of you in the pub. Especially Ken with the bootlegs and beer, and Jondi with the unbelievably generous offer of giving me his ticket if my tout didn’t show up (fortunately he did), and Linda very briefly, and everyone else too.

It was not so lovely that Jarvis Cocker demonstrated a lack of chivalry in failing to offer me a light when I was fumbling around in my bag next to him in the interval on Tuesday, fag ostentatiously in hand. (I genuinely couldn’t find my lighter, this wasn’t a stage-managed ploy to meet Mr. Cocker). Fortunately I was led away from Jarvis just before I was going to ask him for a light, and probably lose all self-respect thereby.

I think this review is getting a bit bloggy. I’ll stop.

The whole thing was amazingly intense. Thank you Leonard!
elljay
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Re: Manchester, UK (June 17-20)

Post by elljay » Fri Jun 20, 2008 3:32 pm

Just wanted to add my tuppence worth about the Tuesday concert...... AMAZING!! I found myself with tears in my eyes at numerous points throughout the evening as memories came flooding back of what all these songs really mean to me and have meant for about 30 years!

I had to return to Edinburgh on the first train on Wednesday because it was my son's 7th birthday (what a bad mother I am) but I can honestly say if it hadn't been for that important reason I would have stayed another night, bought a ticket off a tout and prayed I could stay on at the hotel.

The view from row J in the Circle was truly fantastic and the sound perfect with Leonard himself just unbelievable!

Please, please, please let the tour continue after the summer...............
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