CONCERT REPORT: Copenhagen (July 5)

Canada and Europe (May 11 - August 3, 2008). Concert reports, set lists, photos, media coverage, multimedia links, recollections...
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CONCERT REPORT: Copenhagen (July 5)

Postby kasper_j » Sun Jul 06, 2008 3:17 pm

Here is a small report from the Copenhagen show, if anyone is interested.

The concert were held in the very heart of copenhagen, right next to the 400 year old Rosenborg Castle, wich along with the setting summer sun made for a beautiful background to the magic that Mr. Cohen had planned for us lucky ones.

We arrived early to get some good places, and got them – although it was pretty packed at the sold out venue (11.000) it didn’t feel as constrained as one could have feared, full credit to the organizers for making everything run smoothly – also when the time came to leave.

The show was scheduled to start at 9pm – at 9.05 Leonard and band came on, to treat us to 3 hours of musical bliss (minus a well deserved break ofcourse). It almost makes no sense to single out one song, because they were all done with professionalism, feeling and an amazing desire to give people what they came for – That said, it was quite something to witness 11.000 people completely silent (I swear you could hear a pin drop) during “Suzanne” – also the Webb Sisters version of “If it be your will” was staggeringly beautiful – “Hallelujah” was also fantastic with everyone singing along – I guess I could go on like that, because it was all quite remarkable.

Leonard's ability to connect with his crowd, is the strangest thing i've ever tried at a concert - when the man speaks to, and looks at the crowd it feels like he is looking straight at you (wich he obviously isn't) - it's hard to describe, but a fantastic experience - also i have rarely seen an artist look so genuinely happy for his applause.

Thank you mr. Cohen (and band) for giving us an incredible evening, and making a dream come true – absolutely amazing!

Show was as follows.

First set:
1. Dance me to the end of love
2. The future
3. Ain’t no cure for love
4. Bird on a wire
5. Everybody knows
6. In my secret life
7. Who by fire
8. Hey, that’s no way to say goodbye
9. Anthem

Second set:
10. Tower of song
11. Suzanne
12. The Gypsy’s Wife
13. Boogie Street
14. Hallelujah
15. Democracy
16. I’m your man
17. Take this waltz

First Encore:
18. So long, Marianne
19. If it be your will
20. First we take Manhattan

Second Encore:
21. Sisters of mercy
22. Closing time

Final Encore:
23. I tried to leave you
24. Whither thou goest
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Re: Copenhagen (July 5th)

Postby jarkko » Sun Jul 06, 2008 8:42 pm

Lena Måndotter sent us this photo from Copenhagen:

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Re: Copenhagen (July 5th)

Postby jeremek » Sun Jul 06, 2008 11:06 pm

I thank Kasper. Every such a report is treasure- the way is valuable treasure Mister Leonard !
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Re: Copenhagen (July 5th)

Postby confetti » Mon Jul 07, 2008 12:02 am

great photo, and a lovely report from Copenhagen. Every report makes me want to go and see him again.
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Re: Copenhagen (July 5th)

Postby cgts » Mon Jul 07, 2008 2:15 am

Excellent summary of the concert. Curious why Leonard introduces each member of the band so many times though - had to be at least six!

I flew over from London as I couldn't make the other dates in the UK. One post script - standing next to me in the "cheap seats" ie not the enclosed area at the front of the stage - was Bjork, looking most elegant in a long red dress, and completely entranced by Leonard onstage...
I would say the performance, choice of music, and setting were exceptional. My personal favourite last night was I'm Your Man, sung with real venom and passion.
For me it was a poignant evening - the first time I had seen Leonard since his concert in Oxford in 1976, after which I interviewed him for a University magazine.
Quite an evening last night in the balmy summer air in Copenhagen.
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Re: Copenhagen (July 5th)

Postby hershey » Mon Jul 07, 2008 12:18 pm

Whoever complains about Leonard naming the band and singers names is obviously not a musician.

It really annoys me that some commentators mention 'why does Leonard introduce the band members so many times'
The reason is that he is a sensitive respectful person who GREATLY appreciates just what a fantastic band and singers are in his 'team.'
And he respects their talent - especially after they may be individually 'featured.' This is SO unusual - as often one often wonders in a concert what the name of the excellent bass player, or drummer might be? Maybe because it is less common, people are not used to this? But then Leonard IS different than many 'leaders.'

It is such a waste of time and inserts negativity for several people in articles (and on the forum) to occasionally raise this comment.
It is such an a amazing concert, with so many 'highs' - why keep mentioning this point - especially as Leonard is hardly going to go against his natural respect and change his ways. So just focus on the positive, or on things that you think Leonard might constructively take on board. Thanking his fantastic band and singers and making certain that we know their name, is NOT something that Leonard would (or should) change.
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Re: Copenhagen (July 5th)

Postby tomsakic » Mon Jul 07, 2008 12:39 pm

I still didn't attend any of the shows, but I finally got some recordings, and I can assure you (as I have all recordings and bootlegs from previous tours): 1. Leonard is not introducing the band members more frequent than he did during last tours, i.e. in 1993; and 2) he's alsmot not talking between the songs, it seems he has accurate schedule in seconds and so he is going into next song even during the applause for the previous song. Talk is only on places marked in his setlist and screenplay.

I am saying this because I got impression - from this forum and reports - that he's talking too much and introducing the band all the time. But I was surprised by the bootlegs: he's going from song to song, without little stories and talks in between; every second seems calculated and rehearsed. (I have Moncton, Toronto and Hamilton, so far.)
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Re: Copenhagen (July 5th)

Postby Magda » Mon Jul 07, 2008 9:42 pm

I came to Denmark from Warsaw, Poland just to have an opportunity to see and listen to Mr. Cohen.
The evening in CPH was magic. I can agree to everything kasper_j wrote before me.

Absolutely wonderful experience! I missed only "Famous Blue Raincoat"..
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Re: Copenhagen (July 5th)

Postby paddieu » Tue Jul 08, 2008 2:17 am

Thanks very much indeed for the input into past comparisons etc :)

I agree we shud [eventually, but not yet] stop talking about being frustrated by these intros...

If anyone can say something new about them, then obviously thats better than just complaining...

And if you have no complaints I am very glad for you :)

so putting my money where my mouth is...

The problem I have with them is twofold.

One, ironically, the person in question is often building a nice solo, and instead of being able to hear them take it to the climax of what they are creating, our man steps all over it by announcing their name so you cannot even hear the outcome of their work !

I say ironically,because it could be said that this is disrespectful to them, even if intended to be the opposite.

I would be interested in your feedback as to whether sometimes, now or in the past, both, he lets them finish the solo before saying their name etc ?

Two, it can be said to be disrespectful to us, ironically again. Because, hey, let us judge their worth ourselves, thank you - please don't assume we cannot tell its worth without you drawing our attention to it !

And once a show [ok twice if it must be] create genuine space for us to show our appreciation. That's plenty. I honestly did begin to feel a bit insulted by the end of the show, sorry, but thats how it affected me...

Three - having said this it occurs to me that maybe Leonard is following some 'chanson' tradition or other, where such frequent intros are part of the performance culture ?? If so that would help explain why he cannot sense 1 and 2 above...

But dont worry - I dont have this out of proportion - I am too blown away by the miracle of what we have happening this blessed year of 2008 LC (!) :shock:

And am enjoying very much each report that each of you send in :D
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Re: Copenhagen (July 5th)

Postby NickShears » Tue Jul 08, 2008 5:54 am

Re the intros, isn't it pretty pretty standard in jazz for a soloist to get a namecheck at the end of the solo or the end of that number? And I certainly remember Leonard having been particular about doing so on the two (tragically long ago) occasions I've seen him play (which were in the now distant UK), and on the live albums. Respect and recognition, two things that fine musicians should get more of.
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Re: Copenhagen (July 5th)

Postby » Tue Jul 08, 2008 5:55 pm

I was at Copenhagen on the 5th, and it was a truly magical evening. The silence in the audience for "Suzanne", the sigh when he began "Hey, that's no way to say goodbye", the sheer love for the guy when he first appeared on stage... wonderful, wonderful.

The most poignant moment for me was towards the end when, after thanking us for "keeping these songs alive," he said, "I don't know when we will pass this way again..." and it hit home that this was, for so many of us, our one chance of seeing this truly great artist in person.
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Re: Copenhagen (July 5th)

Postby jarkko » Wed Jul 09, 2008 10:35 am

"The dreamer has found peace", writes Hufvudstadsbladet, Helsinki, today in its report from Copenhagen. It's the biggest Swedish speaking newspaper in Finland.
Drömmaren har funnit ron
I den ljuva danska sommarnatten framförde Leonard Cohen sin gudstjänst till människan och kärleken. Det märks att han lyckats lägga depressionen som plågat honom bakom sig.
Leonard Cohen
Rosenborgs slottsträdgård, Köpenhamn 5.7.

Om den yngre Leonard Cohen var en förförisk klarinett som fick kvinnorna på fall, var den 73-åring som i helgen uppträdde i Rosenborgs slottsträdgård i Köpenhamn en diskret, men inte desto mindre oblyg fagott. Farfarsfiguren som trivdes på scenen i nästan tre timmar var ingen föredetting som rullats fram bara för att publiken skulle få ta ett nostalgiskt avsked. Charm är en bestående kvalitet, och fortfarande vet Cohen hur han ska ta sin publik.

Den som följt med Cohen och hans mentala konjunkturer vet att han på senare år lyckats glida ur depressionen som plågat honom under mestadelen av hans vuxna liv. Den yngre Cohens destruktiva självironi och introspektion är numera bortblåst; det var inte ”Field Commander Cohen” som uppträdde här. Den tidigare självproklamerade ”desperationens handelsman” har hittat sin själsliga ro i zenklostret i Kalifornien (där kaffe, alkohol, Marlboro Lights och kvinnobesök emellertid inte varit förbjudna).

Tvivlaren som slutat söka
Det som blev tydligt i Köpenhamnsnatten var att frånvaron av själsvåndor inte reducerat Cohen till en dussinartist utan nerv och närvaro, och att han som tolkare av sina egna verk fortsättningsvis håller lika hög standard som förut. Cohen står inte på scenen för att försöka vrida klockan tillbaka, eller för att rädda sitt eftermäle. I stället kan man se Cohen som en tvivlare som slutat söka, och som därför kunnat börja turnera igen; en drömmare som slutat att jaga sig själv utan att för den skull slutat att iaktta. Och det han ger oss är det han ser – med handen på hjärtat, och ett mångtydigt leende på läpparna.

Denna nya Cohen spelar till perfektion sin roll som den något timida judiska gentlemannen och åldrande kvinnotjusaren, och upprepade gånger tackar han publiken för dess välvilja med hatten i hand. Den gamle Cohen är lika underbart avväpnande och självmedvetet skämtsam som den yngre var storslagen och gäckande i sin desperation.

Spänningsmomentet ligger i sammanhanget: att Cohen med ett skälmskt leende sjunger ”I’m crazy for love but I’m not coming on”, nu tjugo år äldre än när låten kom ut på skiva, är lika självutlämnande som det är förrädiskt. Men trots att han verkar ha lagt sig till rätta i sitt (elfenbens)torn har han inte stagnerat, och varken han eller vi kan någonsin veta var detta Tower Of Song finns: ”Now I bid you farewell, I don’t know when I’ll be back/ They’re moving us tomorrow to that tower down the track.”

Banalt och sakralt
Mot bakgrund av Cohens nya livsbetingelser är det ingen överraskning att låtlistan domineras av de vackra och de maffiga låtarna, medan de desperata och de cyniska inte ryms med. Mycket från Recent Songs, I’m Your Man och The Future således, medan bara två låtar finns med från New Skin For The Old Ceremony och Death Of A Ladies Man inte får en enda träff.

Medan det klockrent spelande bandet kompar är det gamle poeten-playboyen-predikanten som ges allt utrymme. Det är ett överraskande starkt paket: svängrummet mellan de lågmälda Bird On A Wire och If It Be Your Will, till krafturladdningarna Boogie Street, Democracy och First We Take Manhattan är enormt. Att den gyllene rösten, trots att den med åren tappat några frekvenser, ännu håller för vansinnesgalopperande renderingar av Closing Time är lika förvånande som det är imponerande.

Men Cohens allra största styrka ligger, som den alltid gjort, i förmågan att syntetisera det banala och det sakrala i en och samma erfarenhet: trots att Suzanne för länge sedan blivit en kliché, är de tusentals mednynnande rösternas ljudmassa en hårresande upplevelse. Detta är post-ironi när det är som bäst: det är skönt att tilllåta sig översköljas av de djupa känslorna utan att känna skam i kroppen. Och senast vid en avväpnande mäktig tolkning av Hallelujah kommer tårarna, också för de stora karlarna.

Som ingen annan i branschen förmår Cohen gestalta människans inre kamp genom att vara klichéaktig och profetisk – samtidigt. Därför kan rader som ”I did my best, it wasn’t much/ I could not feel so I learned to touch” (Hallelujah) och ”I smile when I’m angry./ I cheat and I lie./ I do what I have to do/ To get by” (In My Secret Life) bli till något som kunde kallas för den fullvuxna mannens tystgråtna böner. Bara med den skillnaden att den rediga karln bredvid som såg ut som en fiskare från Esbjerg hulkar och snörvlar öppet.

I den ljuva och löftesrika danska sommarnatten framförde Cohen sin gudstjänst till människan och kärleken. Och att han förmår tilltala en publik som till snittåldern är närmare tre decennier yngre än han själv, och där en överraskande stor del av den yngre publiken närmast scenen har armband från den samtidigt pågående Roskildefestivalen, är ett belägg för att hur länge Cohen än besjunger det sexistentiella mysteriet kan vi någonsin komma ”to the end of love”. Kanske är det därför han inleder kvällen med den låten.

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Re: Copenhagen (July 5th)

Postby steen » Wed Jul 09, 2008 11:36 am

Frank Sinatra did it, and did it again and again, his absolute definitive later than last good bye tour. But we never know which time is the last, do we, Frank? Bob D. does it his way, a ‘never ending’ tour, but with the paradox result, that you fear every encounter to be the last.
Saturday LC said Goodbye to Copenhagen.
Not in so many words, but then again, a show where the official last song was Take this Waltz – “with it’s “I’ll newer forget you, you know”, “Thank you, my friends, for keeping my songs alive”, he said, and rest assured, Leonard, that somebody will, long after you yourself is here no more, inch Allah.
And then the encores, the Closing Time farewell between buddies, and, almost at the end, the Testament, (etymology: testamentum covenant with God, holy scripture, from Latin, last will, from testari to be a witness, call to witness, make a will): And draw us near/and bind us tight/ All your children here/In their rags of light/In our rags of light/All dressed to kill/And end this night/If it be your will”. An ambiguous prayer, an ambiguous testament, an ambiguous farewell, the angelic Webb Sisters, the Sisters of Mercy, singing with fragile voices into the summer night, while you suddenly became aware of the noise and commotion at the beer stand where the refrigerators sounded like enormous mechanic locusts, From this broken hill/All you praises they shall ring/If it be your will.
He tries to leave us, a man still working for our smile, a pale, a tiny, skinny Jesus in a pin striped suit, “oh, but didn’t he look fit and well”, somebody said leaving. No, actually, he didn’t, he looked old and weak, kneeling center stage in a strange posture meant to camouflage, what was there for anyone to see, what everybody knows.
And, in the Sisters of Mercy, didn’t he emphasize the cruel line about our life being a leaf that the seasons tear off and condemn, building a great arc over the years, from early on till now, didn’t you feel the sudden chills of autumn in this wonderful Copenhagen summer’s night?
“Drive safely home and take care not catch a summers cold, thanks for inviting us, you never know when we be passing through here again”. Indeed we don’t.

Copenhagen says farewell.
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Re: Copenhagen (July 5th)

Postby NewZealander » Wed Jul 09, 2008 9:35 pm

Oh Steen..that was such a moving account of that show, all the shows really. :cry: As i sit here in the early hours of (the next) morning here in New Zealand reading this. A shiver went up my spine as I read your words. You have put into words I think what we have all quietly thought about this tour. We none of us last forever, we are all seizing this opportunity to share in the spirituality of our great man and his wonderful songs, before it is too late. It's wonderful to see how he is thoroughly enjoying, appreciating and living absolutely every minute of these shows for himself as well...And after that....well his songs will live on, we'll be able to tell our grandchildren.....great grand children?..that we were there, and saw him. :)
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Re: Copenhagen (July 5th)

Postby ForYourSmile » Sat Jul 19, 2008 8:35 pm

I believed that this farewell was not possible, so this tour, this concert is a precious surprise gift. Reading I have thought about my father, a deep and emotive person too, we had time to say goodbye and explain our love, this leaves a pleasant sensation of peace and harmony. But, as you have said, who knows, maybe we will see Leonard again (soon in the autumn tour) and anyway we will keep “these songs alive" (quote at the end of So long, Marianne). The thoughts of farewell are very alive in his last work.

Cohen shows a special interest to communicate with his audience, wishes it, enjoys it and demonstrates it, he doesn’t hide it. He shows his gratefulness too. And his audience corresponds to him surrendered. To live this communion, to share it with eleven thousand people deep has been a magnificent experience. How it has been said we have lived through magic moments, specially the perfect silence of the crowd in "If it is your will" (the ambulance had passed yet in the secret life), the most beautiful prayer felt with this lot of people can raising to the paradise to an unbeliever. The shared feelings feedback themselves, an effect very dangerous politically but a blessed when we feel together the beauty, the poetry, the music, the good of the life… :roll:

The sincere gratefulness is addressed to the band too, naming them frequently how a well-deserved recognition of their work. For example, if I am not wrong, Sharon Robinson is mentioned seven times (Ain’t no cure for love, In my secret life, Anthem, Boogie Street (twice), Take this waltz (collaborator y cowriter) and I tried to leave you). I would say that it is not usual, not even in Cohen's previous tours. This commentary is not a complaint and shouldn’t annoy anybody. Cohen shows his generosity and is proud for the work of his band, just it.

In my opinion a concert, especially this, is more than an audience of music, is a demonstration. It’s a tribute from the audience to Leonard Cohen and vice versa.

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