Halibutt, I understand your being speechless, I felt speechless after Canada concerts.
Now I understand also people urging me at that time to write something, anything about the concert
In short - it was my first LC concert. The last time he was in Warsaw I was four and the ticket price was more or less my dad's monthly salary. Anyway, at that time I was already listening to Cohen (thanks to my parents) and I knew his songs perfectly well even in the times when the only English words I understood were "dog" and "wardrobe" (don't ask).
So, the concert was completely different from the ones I heard on bootleg tapes: absolutely no new songs, only his good-olds, from the very first song on his very first album to "In my secret life" from Dear Heather. In contrast with his previous concert in Warsaw back in 1985
, this time Cohen did not tell many stories. Most of the time he was simply thanking the audience or presenting the musicians - several times. BTW, he recalled the previous concert in Warsaw saying that he was 60 years old back then, which means he was but a kid
As to the songs... the concert lasted almost 3 hours. I got an impression that the encores were actually longer than the second part, but I couldn't confirm that (I had better things to do than care for my watch). I don't remember the first part at all, I was too astonished. Really, I mean it (anyone got a song list to refresh my memory?). Then I started taking notes of the song list on my palm. The list might come in... err.. handy.
The second part started with the Tower of Song (great work done by the girls). Next was Suzanne (looong version, with a great solo on... what was the name of that string instrument?), followed by Gypsy Wife (lyrics slightly different than the recorded version), then the Partisan (again, with slightly modified lyrics).
Next was "In my secret life", with lots of solos. I didn't particularly like that one, as it's basically a show of the band, and not LC himself (most of it sung by Sharon Robinson, with Leonard Cohen merely providing backing vocals), but what the heck. Next came Hallelujah, pretty much the same version we all know from the recording (though Hammond organ made the song.. err.. church-like?). After a long ovation (minute or so) came Democracy (great harmonica), followed by "I'm your man" (he sung the better part of it on his knees). Again, it was pretty much the version we know from the LPs and CDs.
After that came the amazing "Take this waltz". The performance was so great the girl sitting in the next row started crying. She didn't stop 'til the end of the concert. Anyway, after that Cohen sung "Marianne", with slightly modified melody (and perhaps the words as well, can't remember; anyone?). If I recall correctly after that he got the first standing ovation this evening. Next came "First We Take Manhattan" (again, not that different from the recorded version; another standing ovation). After that he sung "Famous blue raincoat". The performance was so good I didn't blink once. I guess it's too personal a story to tell (there's always some personal story, right?).
After another standing ovation started "If it be your will". It was a spoken poem, followed by the actual song sung by the Webb Sisters. Boy, they are great. I didn't come to see them, but after the concert I started wondering if there's any record of them available in Poland. Anyway, it was already the encore time and after each and every song Cohen was leaving the stage, but the audience brought him back in. He tried to fend us off with singing the "Closing time" and looking at us meaningly from below his hat (or was it only my impression?), but it didn't work
. When we brought him back on stage, he took his guitar and started a calm, "cameral" version of "I tried to leave you"
We were laughing our heads off, really, it felt like a conversation with LC. When he returned back to stage for the final time, the band remained silent and they performed "Whither thou goest", almost a capella... It felt much more sad than the version with Anjani
from the previous concert in Warsaw. Another almost metaphysical experience, I tell you. The concert ended late (roughly 11 pm), and LC told us to "drive carefully home and don't catch a cold"
And that was it. A concert I waited for half of my life was complete.