Page 16 of 19

Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Posted: Sun Nov 08, 2009 6:55 pm
by Hal E. Lujah
I am still perplexed. Does anyone believe that this is all the DVD footage that was taken, which is what we are told?

Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Posted: Mon Nov 09, 2009 2:09 am
by elcord
I'm inclined to believe this is all, or pretty much all the footage. There certainly seems to be a sustained gap in footage after Bird on the Wire until One of Us Cannot Be Wrong. Practically all the footage, except for the opening and Bird on the Wire, is from the second half of the concert. We see nothing of So Long Marianne, You Know Who I Am, the poems or Lady Midnight. Is this where the crew decided to pack up, after Bird on the Wire? Then came back?

It does seem a bit more perplexing in regards to the second half of the concert when we see only part of Diamonds in the Mine, half of Sing Another Song Boys and nothing of Famous Blue Raincoat, except, oddly, the introduction which is placed misleadingly before Suzanne in the DVD. So one has to wonder if there is some more bits available from the second half but there does seem to be a very telling lack of any footage from the first half between Bird on the Wire and One of Us Cannot Be Wrong.

Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Posted: Mon Nov 09, 2009 2:52 am
by Hal E. Lujah
just deepens the mystery. Why would Murray Lerner go to the festival and blow off the penultimate act? I mean, weren't they there to record? So, record! How do you wind up with all this stuff missing. I just don't get it. It seems less like anything like a film-maker and more like a casual hippie with a camera. I thought he liked Cohen. What is required of him to film the event, to stand there with a camera and point it? I don't get the great film festival genre, if this is that. Sorry, folks, half the concert is missing, we fell asleep, you know. It's like he wasn't worth filming.

Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Posted: Mon Nov 09, 2009 4:25 am
by elcord
While I find the omissions from the DVD frustrating, I think the crew did a great job to be there at the end of 5 torrid days at 4am and still filming at all. How were they to know this would such a great, and in its own way, significant performance? I also accept that Mr Lerner is the filmaker and it is his film to do with as he thinks best - and where it is good it is very, very good. If there is more footage let us hope it does see the light of day at some stage. Personally I'm just fascinated by the mechanics of the whole thing. Does anyone actually know or is in contact with Mr Lerner? A short note from him would clear up all these speculations. Is there more footage? Why do we get largely the second half of the set only? What happened halfway through Sing Another Song Boys? Why is the footage of Tonight Will Be Fine so good with multiple camera angles?

Re: Isle of Wight-A small enquiry!

Posted: Tue Nov 10, 2009 1:05 am
by Russell Harvey
I don't check too often nor to thoroughly but I was just wonderin'... How many forum members were there for the Isle of Wight Festival ? I was there, as a seventeen year old Art student. Who else was there with me ? Who kept me company ? Let me know, it would be of interest. Maybe... start a list ?

Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Posted: Tue Nov 10, 2009 1:44 am
by LisaLCFan
Hi Russell,

If you go to the Board Index (main page) and scroll down to the section "The Music Place" there is a section entitled "Live Performances" and click on that, there is a thread in there devoted to people who were at IOW.


Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Posted: Thu Nov 12, 2009 10:36 pm
by sirius
Music review - Leonard Cohen: Live at the Isle of Wight

By Max Davies

Published: Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Updated: Thursday, November 12, 2009

5 out of 5 stars ... t-1.896336

Occasionally a concert like Woodstock or the last Michael Jackson show achieves an almost mythical status in pop culture. The Isle of Wight Festival was easily one of those mythical concerts and “Leonard Cohen Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970” captures some of the enormity of that event. This CD and DVD set contains some of Cohen’s amazing music and footage of his concert set and easily stands as “the fascinating document of the troubled Isle of Wight Festival attended by some 600,000 people, the vast majority of whom refused to pay for their admission,” as described by the documentary.

Cohen’s role in this vast concert was as a crowd-tamer of a frenzied political arena, where the vast majority of the festival’s attendees refused to pay and trampled the fences erected to keep them out.

The DVD documentary, produced by award-winning filmmaker Murray Lerner, shows Cohen performing in his pajamas to the enormous crowd and singing with such sincerity and skill that those in the audience are shown in awestruck pause. A clear-eyed mesmerism cast over the crowd.

Joan Baez, another performer at the festival, described Cohen’s performance as “just coming from so deep inside of him that it somehow or other touches deep inside other people.” And she’s right. Cohen’s simple words make a complex lyrical texture that sings songs of profound longing, of love in a voice so wistful, melancholy and sincere.

Cohen opens his set with “Bird on a wire” in true troubadour fashion. His skilled flamenco finger-picking, whirling rounds and phrasings in the succeeding songs nicely accompany his music and manage to strike the emotional core of you.

Later in his set, he dedicates his performance of “The Partisan,” a song from the World War II French resistance movement that sends shivers down one’s spine.

Lyrics from “Suzanne” might best sum up the net effect of his performance where it feels like the last warmth of a late autumn day’s sunset: “and the sun pours down like honey.”

The live set is perfect in its imperfection regarding the recording quality and the show itself. It doesn’t have the polished production of his later live works and thus feels more present, less mediated between you and his singing. Cohen’s sincere vocals, the spontaneous sound of the back-up singers and other players, make just the right touches to complement Cohen’s voice and guitar , enabling them to perfectly set like diamonds.
Cohen “the Canadian folksinger-songwriter-poet-novelist” is not the only talent in this line-up, either. Charlie Daniels accompanies him on electric bass and fiddle, and Ron Cornelius, Elkin “Bubba” Fowler and back-up singers Corlynn Hanney, Susan Musmanno and Donna Washburn flesh out the line-up.

All but three of the songs on “Live at the Isle of Wight 1970” came from Cohen’s first two records, so fans of those albums will especially enjoy the songs he plays how he and slightly alters the words of a couple in this performance. This is a solid album combination and is easily listened to repeatedly with pleasure.

Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Posted: Sun Nov 15, 2009 6:01 am
by sirius
Review: Leonard Cohen Live At The Isle Of Wight 1970

By Evan LeVine ~ November 11th, 2009. Filed under: review. ... -1970.html

I don’t think it is necessary for me to laud my hero, Leonard Cohen, any more than I already have on this website. As a singer-songwriter, a poet, and a novelist he is in a class all his own. His first three studio albums are as flawless as they are unparalleled. I dare you to find a songwriter whose first three albums are crafted as well as Cohen’s. It is impossible. Songs Of Leonard Cohen, Songs From A Room and Songs Of Love And Hate contain nary a dull tune. His lyrical themes, his guitar playing, his high baritone voice are all perfect. Even if the man himself is not a fan of the latter album, I consider it to be his best. From “Avalance” to “Joan Of Arc,” it is my favorite recording of all time.

When I first received word that Cohen’s entire 1970 Isle Of Wight performance was to be released as a CD/DVD set, I immediately requested a review copy. The concert occurred nearly half a year before Songs Of Love And Hate was released, so the night’s setlist contained almost all of Cohen’s most-recognized, dare I say best songs from those first three albums. Aside from that, the aura of his performance has been something of legend in the decades since the festival. As the story goes, Cohen was awakened early the morning on August 31st, 1970 — either at 2am or 4am depending on your source — and brought onstage to perform to a riotous crowd of 600,000 concertgoers. After several days of music, the audience had trampled fences, set fires to numerous structures, and booed a number of artists off stage. The grounds had been transformed into a political arena. Backed by his band, The Army, Field Commander Cohen tamed the crowd with a mixture of songs, poems, and darkly comedic banter. His beatific presence and artistic brilliance had a mesmerizing effect on the festival’s attendees. Only once does Cohen address a single member of the crowd. The remainder of his set literally forced 600,000 people to shut their mouths and behold his greatness.

The soundboard recording is truly awesome. At different points in the show, you can hear Cohen instructing his band, encouraging them to pick up or slow down the pace of a song, or add some spice to his voice and guitar combo. Standout tracks include “The Stranger Song,” “Tonight Will Be Fine” and “Lady Midnight.” The codeine-slow “Bird On A Wire” proved to be a downright hypnotic way to open his set, but the follow-up track, “So Long, Marianne,” picks up the pace nicely. As his performance rolls on, the backing band finds its groove and songs are injected with more and more life. “Suzanne” is slowed down a bit, allowing Cohen’s vocal delivery to come across like a meditative chant. On the DVD, it’s effect on the crowd is seen clearly as pockets of seated audience members stare up at the singer in complete awe.

Speaking of which, the accompanying DVD contains a film by Murray Lerner documenting Cohen’s performance. It includes interview clips with Judy Collins, Kris Kristofferson, Joan Baez and others. Although the entire performance was filmed, not all of it is shown. It should have been made available as a whole on the DVD. Furthermore, the songs chosen for inclusion are not in the correct running order. It’s a bit baffling why the director chose to build a film around select songs only to offer them to viewers out-of-order. Other than those two negative points, it is a very entertaining film.

Needless to say, I am much happier with the release of Leonard Cohen Live At The Isle Of Wight than I am with March’s Live In London. This 1970 performance is of greater historical significance and it boasts an impressive setlist of early songs. I always love listening to Cohen’s infamous BBC performances from the summer of 1968. In the past, each time I have heard those songs I have wondered why a full concert from that era was not released for casual and die-hard fans to enjoy. When the Live In London disc was released, I was happy to have a new Cohen album but disappointed by the concert choice. Making available both the audio and selected video from the Isle Of Wight festival is a phenomenal way of showcasing the genius of one of the world’s greatest songwriters. I highly recommend this CD/DVD set to all Cohen fans. And to those of you who may not know his work that well, I guarantee you will be moved by this album. It is impossible not to be inspired by the man’s limitless talent.

Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Posted: Sun Nov 15, 2009 6:15 am
by Hal E. Lujah
This guy says the whole thing was filmed; I wonder who is right about that.
I did not know that CD is not a fan of the third album. Is that so? I see that he never performs Avalanche, which I like. Was it due to criticisms of the album, imperfections? A lot of people I know were turned off b the second album. third is intense and excellent. I wonder

Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Posted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:27 pm
by sirius
O concerto que salvou o Festival de Wight

por JOÃO MOÇO08 Novembro 2009 ... o=M%FAsica


É já o segundo disco ao vivo de Leonard Cohen editado este ano. Mas 'Live at the Isle of Wight 1970' é especial. É o retrato do concerto que o canadiano deu às duas da manhã na ilha britânica perante uma multidão em fúria que apenas se acalmou com as suas palavras

"Salvou o festival". Estas são palavras do realizador Murray Lerner, recordando o concerto histórico de Leonard Cohen no Festival de Ilha de Wight, que o próprio filmou e que agora foi editado em CD e DVD. Não é de todo descabido falar em salvação, no sentido literal da palavra, quando se pensa neste concerto. Os ânimos exaltados que se viviam nesta pequena ilha no sul de Inglaterra onde o festival decorria pelo terceiro ano consecutivo apenas se acalmaram com as palavras de Cohen. Muitos falam mesmo que, enquanto o canadiano esteve em palco, se viveu um estado de "hipnotismo".

Não são raras as vezes que o Festival de Ilha de Wight é referido como o "Woodstock britânico". E na verdade nesta terceira edição o festival foi transformado numa autêntica arena de manifestações políticas.

Os organizadores esperavam, no máximo, 200 mil pessoas. Apareceram mais 400 mil. A maioria, animada por um espírito revolucionário, recusava-se a pagar o bilhete de entrada. Então, os organizadores colocaram uma vedação à volta do espaço onde se realizava o certame, o que só intensificou a fúria da multidão. "Havia um conflito entre o mercantilismo e o idealismo da música", conta Lerner no documentário que acompanha esta edição.

As condições logísticas eram precárias para receber mais de meio milhão de pessoas, o que instalou a confusão durante os cinco dias de festival.

Antes de Cohen subir ao palco, parte deste tinha sido incendiado durante o concerto de Jimi Hendrix, que viria a morrer poucas semanas depois. No mesmo dia o cantor country Kris Kristofferson foi expulso durante a sua actuação. A veterana das canções de protesto Joan Baez ofereceu-se mesmo para actuar antes de Jimi Hendrix e tentar acalmar a fúria que se vivia no recinto. Mas nem ela conseguiu impedir que os protestos se propagassem. No meio de todos estes distúrbios foi incendiado um piano. E foi este incidente particular que preocupou Cohen. "O Leonard estava completamente alheado de tudo o que se estava a passar. A única coisa que realmente o incomodou foi o facto de não haver um piano ou um órgão - alguém o tinha incendiado - e por isso eu não podia tocar com ele", conta o músico Bob Johnston. Quando se deparou com um palco sem piano, Leonard Cohen disse: "Vou estar aqui ao pé do fogo a dormir uma sesta, e quando tiverem um piano ou um órgão chamem-me". E às duas da manhã acordaram Cohen para subir ao palco do festival.

Todos temiam o pior. Mas para surpresa geral, a multidão acalmou-se quando o cantor começou a contar uma história dos tempos em que era criança e o seu pai o levava ao circo, e havia sempre um homem que se levantava e pedia que todos acendessem um fósforo para poder ver as pessoas no meio da escuridão. E a propósito, Cohen pediu aos milhares que se encontravam à sua frente para também acenderem um fósforo para que se pudessem ver melhor uns aos outros. Assim começou o concerto com Bird on the Wire. Teve ainda oportunidade para apresentar alguns temas de Songs of Love and Hate, editado no ano seguinte. E a pouco e pouco Leonard Cohen conseguiu "hipnotizar" uma multidão que até então estava em fúria.

Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Posted: Sat Nov 21, 2009 5:55 am
by sirius
Google Portuguese to English translation

The concert that saved the Isle of Wight Festival

by JOHN MOÇO08 November 2009 ... o=M%FAsica


It is already the second live album of Leonard Cohen released this year. But "Live at the Isle of Wight 1970 'is special. It is the portrait of the Canadian concert that gave the two in the morning on the British island before an angry mob that only calmed by his words

"He saved the festival." These are words of director Murray Lerner, recalling the historic concert of Leonard Cohen Festival Isle of Wight, who shot himself and has now been released on CD and DVD. Not at all inappropriate to speak of salvation, in the literal sense of the word, when you think about this concert. The flared tempers that lived in this small island in the south of England where the festival stemmed from the third year running just settled down with the words of Cohen. Many people use that as the Canadian was on stage, was experienced a state of hypnotism.

There are rare times that the Festival Isle of Wight is referred to as the "British Woodstock". And indeed this third edition of the festival was transformed into a real arena for political demonstrations.

Organizers expect up to 200 thousand people. Appeared more than 400 thousand. The majority, led by a revolutionary spirit, refused to pay the ticket. So, the organizers put a fence around the area where it was the event, which only intensified the fury of the crowd. "There was a conflict between idealism and commercialism of the music," said Lerner in the documentary that accompanies this issue.

The conditions were poor logistics to receive more than half a million people, which installed the confusion during the five-day festival.

Before Cohen takes the stage, some of this had been fired during the concert of Jimi Hendrix, who would die within weeks. The same day the country singer Kris Kristofferson was sent off during their performance. A veteran of protest songs Joan Baez has even volunteered to act before Jimi Hendrix and try to calm the anger that arose in the room. But she could not stop the protests spread. In the midst of all these disorders was fired a piano. It was this particular incident that concerned Cohen. "The Leonard was completely oblivious of what was going on. The only thing that really bothered him was the fact that there is a piano or an organ - someone had fired - so I could not play with him," to the musician Bob Johnston. When faced with a scenario of no piano, Leonard Cohen said: "I'll be here by the fire to take a nap, and when they have a piano or an organ call me." And at two o'clock Cohen agreed to come on stage the festival.

Everyone feared the worst. But to everyone's surprise, the crowd calmed down when the singer began to tell a story from the times when I was a child and his father took him to the circus, and there was always a man who stood up and asked everyone to light a match to see people in the dark. And by the way, Cohen asked the thousands who were in front of you to also light up a match that they could see each other better. Thus began the concert with Bird on the Wire. Took the opportunity to present some songs from Songs of Love and Hate, published the following year. And little by little Leonard Cohen was able to "hypnotize" a crowd that until then was in rage.

Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Posted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 4:58 am
by sirius
Live At The Isle Of Wight 1970 Review


While Leonard Cohen’s set at 1970’s Isle of Wight Festival is folk music at its purest, his poetic lyrical construction will keep most listeners mesmerized. ... index.html

Sound: 9
Lyrics: 10
Impression: 9
overall: 9.3

Featured review by: UG Team, on november 23, 2009


Sound: Long before “Hallelujah” became a cult hit thanks to artists like Jeff Buckley and Rufus Wainwright rediscovering it, singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen had already left his legendary mark upon it. And even before he originally wrote and recorded that now-famous tune back in the early 1980’s, Cohen was already a full-fledged icon of the 1960’s. As a troubadour of the hippie era, Leonard connected with audiences thanks to a keen sense of lyrical construction, wit, and pleasing (usually mellow) melodies. Fans can witness a slice from that time with the new release Leonard Cohen: Live at the Isle of Wight 1970, which chronicles the historic concert event that included artists like Jimi Hendrix, The Who, and The Doors. With the new CD/DVD, you’ll hear just what exactly made Cohen stand apart from the contrasting rockers and why his act was the one that soothed the restless crowd of 600,000.

Cohen’s songwriting circa 1970 had a distinct separation from the output of his later years, and in many ways you’ll notice similarities between him and Bob Dylan. Both, while extremely competent at finding the perfect melody, did put a huge emphasis on the themes and the lyrical message. Cohen’s performance at the Isle of Wight does differ greatly with his current concert style (which is a bit more stylized and sleek), and the 1970 show revolves around the folk genre. If you like “Hallelujah,” just be aware that this performance is a far cry from his later years.

Both the CD and DVD take their tracklist from the Isle of Wight performance, with the CD including poetry selections such as “They Locked Up A Man/A Person Who Eats Meat.” “Bird On The Wire,” “Famous Blue Raincoat,” “Tonight Will Be Fine,” “Seems So Long, Nancy,” and “Suzanne” are among the songs featured on both disks, but the CD does include a larger quantity of material. What sets the DVD apart primarily is the fact that you’ll hear anecdotes from singers such as Kris Kristofferson, Joan Baez, and Judy Collins about Cohen’s own demeanor and how the massive audience responded favorably to his set – even after sitting days upon days in the cold mud. It’s true that by today’s standards Cohen’s performance in 1970 was a bit dry, but it’s hard to not connect on some level with his lyrical ideas. // 9

Lyrics and Singing: In terms of lyrical construction, it doesn’t get much better than Cohen. In contrast to his peers Dylan and Baez, there was more of a tendency to deal with emotions and relationships, but Cohen still has an amazing gift at storytelling. A perfect example comes in “One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong” with such lines as, “I lit a thin green candle, to make you jealous of me; But the room just filled up with mosquitoes; They heard that my body was free; Then I took the dust of a long sleepless night and I put it in your little shoe.” It’s always hard to tell which way the songs will turn, and it’s not usually what you might guess. Amazingly enough, the encore song has nowhere near the uplifting message/theme you’d get today’s closing songs, and instead it deals with a woman who committed suicide. In “Seems So Long Ago, Nancy” Cohen sings, “It seems so long ago, Nancy was alone; A forty five beside her head, an open telephone; We told her she was beautiful, we told her she was free.” Throughout the show songs revolving around pain and pleasure do balance out, and the overall content makes for a mesmerizing performance when you take stock of all the poetic qualities. // 10

Impression: After watching Cohen recently for his 2009 concert tour, it’s pretty amazing to see his transformation as a performer. He actually moves around more onstage now than he did in the Isle of Wight show, and anyone who isn’t familiar with Cohen’s music might not be quite sure what to think of the folk-driven content seen in 1970. Even so, the 19 tracks (which include poems, intros, and the like) are a worthwhile addition to your collection. The performances are stripped down to acoustic and vocals for the most part, but there are added harmonies, organ, and electric guitar at times. In the end, Cohen is an oddly intriguing individual who somehow manages to lure you in within the first few minutes with comments like, “I want everyone to light a match so you’ll spark like fireflies.” // 9

Released: Oct 19, 2009
Genre: Folk
Label: Columbia
Number Of Tracks: 19

Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Posted: Sat Nov 28, 2009 1:29 am
by sturgess66
Review from ... he-isle-of
LC-IsleOfWight.jpg (16.14 KiB) Viewed 3509 times
By Leonard Cohen

DVD directed by Murray Lerner

Review by Douglas Heselgrave

After five days of sleeping outdoors in the wind, cold and rain with little to eat, the crowd of 600,000 people who gathered at the 1970 Isle of Wight festival were more than a little shifty and cantankerous. The organizers had optimistically expected a crowd of 150,000 and prepared for that number of visitors. By the second day of the festival, numbers had swelled to over half a million people, and there was nowhere near enough room inside the concert area to fit everyone, so the more aggressive members of the crowd started to rip down the walls and fences that separated them from their favourite artists.

For many of the performers, The Isle of Wight festival was an unmitigated disaster. Joni Mitchell cried in the middle of her set, Kris Kristofferson was booed off the same stage that was then set alight during Jimi Hendrix’s performance. People were losing perspective, and musicians were understandably terrified. Joan Baez bravely turned in a passionate set that calmed people down somewhat, but there was still an edge of danger and unrest in the air.

By two in the morning of the last day of the show, many of the audience members who hadn’t slept since arriving on the Isle of Wight were edgy and out of control. It looked like the festival would end in disaster.

Enter Leonard Cohen.

Bedraggled and wandering around backstage in his pyjamas, Cohen had been wrangled out of bed at the behest of the stage manager, to look for the members of his band and begin his set. When he shuffled on stage accompanied by a rumpled coterie of musicians, it seemed like everything would fall apart completely. Glassy eyed, unshaven and looking like Rasputin at the end of a Dexedrine jag, Cohen surveyed the audience for a few moments before telling them a story about going to the circus with his father. It seemed like a desperate gamble, but a change could be felt almost immediately as a palpable ripple of calm spread through the audience. Cohen went on to ask the audience members to each light a match to bring the community of 600,000 together. Feeble lights began to appear throughout the crowd as Cohen strapped on a classical guitar and began to intone slowly ‘Like…..a……bird…..on…..a……wire.” The effect was immediately mesmerising, and where every other musician had failed, Cohen had the crowd eating out of his hand from the first note he sang.

For the next hour and a half, Cohen worked his magic on the audience at the Isle of Wight by playing rough and ready versions of songs from his first two albums as well as a few selections from his upcoming ‘Songs of Love and Hate.’ By today’s standards, Cohen’s performance was unpolished. None of the gypsy strings and apocalyptic cabaret stylings that have characterized his work since the late seventies is in evidence anywhere. The playing at times sounds almost amateurish – even though his producer and manager, Bob Johnson had assembled a group of top Nashville session musicians – including Charlie Daniels on fiddle – for the gig. And, one feels that Cohen wouldn’t have had it any other way.

The Leonard Cohen who took the stage at the Isle of Wight knew that the way to win over the audience was to identify with them. He didn’t come on as a rock star. Like the audience, he looked rumpled and in bad need of a good night’s sleep. He was a fellow traveller, an experimenter who talked fearlessly of despair, suicide and how he’d written songs while coming off of amphetamines. Like an older brother arriving in the nick of time, he’d come to take the crowd safely home when the party got out of hand.

By four in the morning, the crowd had transformed from an anarchic mob into a sprawling - but unified - family singing around a huge campfire. Sensing it was time to leave, Cohen said ‘it’s late, and perhaps this is good music to make love to’ as he began an especially passionate version of ‘Suzanne.’ He offered a few more songs to further lull the crowd before leaving the stage after saving the festival from disaster.

Leonard Cohen is an anomaly in popular music. Part old world mystic, part disgruntled alter boy dreaming of getting laid, there really is no one else like him. On paper, his performance at Isle of Wight should have bombed. But, Cohen has made a career out of confounding expectations. His output over the years has not been especially prolific, yet he has produced a body of work that equals that of any other living artist. Many have passed his songs by, and dismissed them as the four in the morning despair of a person fixated in perpetual adolescent angst. But, that’s an easy way out that fails to appreciate the breadth of Cohen’s concerns.

There has been a huge resurgence of interest in Leonard Cohen in the last few years. His personal and financial problems have recently thrown him into the limelight long after he’d pursued attention and notoriety. Rendered almost penniless at an age when most performers of his generation had retired, he has spent the last year and a half on a gruelling tour that would send other road-hardened seniors like Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan running for the golf course.

Cohen’s long career has made it easy for record companies hoping to cash in on his recent popularity to find old material to release. It’s tempting to be cynical about the ‘Leonard Cohen at the Isle of Wight’ DVD/CD set appearing at this juncture in time, but that feeling is quickly dispelled – like the anger of the crowd was – after experiencing only a few minutes of his performance. Like Jimi Hendrix at Monterey Pop, Sly and the Family Stone at Woodstock or Bob Marley at the London Lyceum, Leonard Cohen at the Isle of Wight captures one of recent history’s great musical performances. It is essential and shouldn’t be missed.

Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Posted: Sat Nov 28, 2009 4:25 am
by sirius
Hallelujah for Cohen

the Isle of Wight Festival 1970 ... 12272.html

Ah, the good old days. What was happening before Ozzfest, Lollapalooza, Burning Man, and Lilith Fair? There were rock fests like the Isle of Wight Festival in England, that ran for three years before being shut down (for a few decades anyway) due to certain “hassles” mostly with “The Man”, or sundry equivalents.

By the time Canadian singer/songwriter, poet, and author Leonard Cohen appeared at the nearly-last festival-to-end-all-festivals at I.O.W. 1970, there had been riots at the gates (which were ultimately torn down), arson (stage set on fire), militant freeloading hippies, angry heckling stoners, outraged broke promoters and terrorized performers, several of which were booed of the stage. Hmm… not exactly peace and love, despite a bill that included The Who, Miles Davis, Ten Years After, Free, Joni Mitchell, Sly and the Family Stone, Jethro Tull, The Doors (one of their last), Jimi Hendrix (VERY close to his last), and way too many to name here. And then Cohen, coming on at 2 a.m. on a Sunday night on the fifth and last day of the ongoing festival, by that time termed a “psychedelic concentration camp.” Ah, the good ol’ days. Have our attention spans been narrowed in the decades since? A big resounding YES to that!

One listen to Cohen’s richly recorded set of 19 songs recorded in the wee hours before a bellicose crowd would seem to suggest this.

Part of Cohen’s gift is his casual and offhand dialogue (the intro to Seems So Long Ago Nancy), part poetry, part intimate conversation with 600,000 music “fans.” Cohen, backed by an acoustic/electric group of musicians and backup singers dubbed The Army, with his easy words and gentle songs, lulled a massive crowd into a swoon after five days of war-zone rock – post-‘60s style.

There’s footage of this entire show, but that’s not really needed –– the words and music paint the pictures. Cohen becomes a plaintive voice in the dark. There are some slips, but it’s easy to look beyond. There’s many classics revealed in their early stages here: Suzanne, Bird On The Wire, You Know Who I Am, Famous Blue Raincoat etc. –– all very stark and warm in the midnight hour; fractious elements be damned.

The use of biblical imagery runs through the lyrics (The Stranger Song, Suzanne), tempered with European parlour-folk sounds, Nazi visuals and ever-present bohemian spirit.

Cohen acknowledges the unrest around him with the chilly rendering of The Partisan; sure to sooth the militant spirit that prevailed in the air.

This album has the air of a performance piece with Cohen playing the preacher, from somewhere in the Canadian hinterland between Simon and Garfunkel and Nashville Skyline-era Dylan, shouting out a resigned-hopeful So Long Marianne into the crowded void. It’s so strange a situation that it works. The lateness of hour and unpredictability rub against Cohen’s warmth and indifference to make a performance that can be revisited indefinitely.

Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Posted: Sat Nov 28, 2009 4:39 am
by ladydi
Thanks sirius for these reviews! I, for one, still love the dvd. The cd is perfect! However, the dvd, even with its imperfections captures a moment in time that is forever gone.

Appreciate your posts SO much!