CONCERT REPORT: London, RAH, November 17-18

September 21 - November 30, 2008. Concert reports, set lists, photos, media coverage, multimedia links, recollections...
Evie B
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Re: London RAH, 17-18 November 2008

Post by Evie B » Sun Mar 08, 2009 12:38 pm

My daughter took this wonderful picture, which defies the fact that her hands were shaking so much, not just because this was Leonard Cohen, but because she knew the red warning was flashing that the battery was so low the camera was about to shut down. Imagine if that had happened at that moment! Well, fate, that had engineered the amazing moment in time for me was kind, and I think she is still amazed at what a super picture she managed to take in the circumstances. It looks like it has a backdrop but was just where he happened to be standing at that moment.
We had been to the concert the previous evening at the RAH on 18th Nov which was superb, a truly moving experience which I know everyone feels at his concerts: you know he is singing to you alone and not to all those other people in the audience! But for what was still to come, read on.
My daughter had come with me from Cambridge, her main interest being some shopping the next day after spending the night in a small hotel very close by the venue. But I was delighted that she loved the concert – ‘amazing’ she said. Next morning, we breakfasted in a little café in Kensington High Street, then wandered around the shops for a while, buying a few bits and pieces. When we had finished, we were standing in the street talking about which bus to get back to the railway station when she looked over towards a hotel and said ‘a man wearing a hat has just come out of that hotel entrance who looks just like Leonard Cohen, in fact, I’m sure it’s him’. The hotel entrance was elevated and the half-moon shaped drive, our view obscured by shrubs and walling in front, and when I looked I could see nobody - but she was on a mission! She set off up the driveway with me tagging along, unconvinced, but we couldn’t see any sign of who she has seen. We wandered down the other side of the drive and stood on the pavement for a while, wondering. Then we noticed two people had come out of the entrance, a girl with long blonde hair and a hat, and a tall man in a similar-style hat to the one the band wore, and we watched, pondering on how like the people in the band they looked. Then our eyes dropped down to the pavement (sidewalk for the Americans) and, shock of shocks, there stood the great man himself, just enjoying a bit of sunshine before getting on their tour bus! I actually got the impression he had watched us for a few moments, probably wondering what we were staring at up the driveway, but quickly looked away when our eyes dropped to him. My daughter said, “Is that him?” Oh yes, it is, I replied, just stunned. When I was too shy to approach him in case he didn’t want his space intruded upon, she went over and - giving him every chance to refuse if he didn't want his peace disturbed - she asked 'Mr Cohen?' and he said 'yes' then she explained we had been to his concert the night before and that it was amazing. He was really sweet and kind, and said he was very pleased she had enjoyed it. Then she pointed to me saying 'that's my mum, a really big fan of yours, and she is too embarrassed to come over' so he looked at me and laughed and waved so finally I trotted over. He was very charming when she asked if she could take a photograph and as I stood next to him he put his arm round me, and I felt my knees start to buckle, as I am sure others have done when he has made this warm gesture to them also. In a haze of disbelief of what was happening, I vaguely remember chatting about where he was going next (Birmingham) and telling him that I had waited since the 70s to see him, but mostly so dumbstruck I struggled to speak. Not wanting to intrude too long on his kindness we moved away so he could get onto his tour bus. Yes, he certainly was very charming and friendly to us, just as you imagine he would be, so sweet. Then I started to cry, something which continued for many days every time I thought our meeting with him. My reaction surprised my daughter, she has never seen me so moved before, she says I always seem so in control. It still happens now and I am not sure when, if ever, I will be able to think of it without tears starting. Whatever ‘lever’ in the universe brought me to that small window of opportunity to meet him, and then made it come true, I am truly grateful for, how incredibly fortunate I am. We could so easily have passed by never knowing how close he had been. It was something I could never imagine happening, even in my dreams.
Though he is the great Leonard Cohen, I know he is also just a man who is subject to the same feelings and irritations we all are. It is knowing this that makes me respect so much his humility and kindness in dealing with these sort of intrusions thrust upon him. I know one could say he lives well by it, but there are so many others who also do, who treat ordinary people like us abysmally. My daughter (with the disrespect of youth) affectionately calls him ‘Leo’, a name not normally associated with him. But I think he would rather like it, leader of us, his pride, he is certainly a lion among men.
I know this has been long-winded, but always love reading of other peoples’ experiences meeting Leonard, so you who have seen it through to the end, I hope you enjoyed sharing it.
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...he shows you where to look amid the garbage and the flowers
richardLDN
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Fabulous night at the RAH, London

Post by richardLDN » Sun Jan 04, 2009 4:06 pm

The Albert Hall concert (Tues 18/11) was fantastic and the whole band and crew were pitch perfect alongside the man himself. Lovely to be there, so the right venue for LC. And great that the tour management booked in there.

Dylan plays the sheds of London every year - Wembley and Earls Court. Only now turning to the O2 - which is a slight improvement. But LC came and played at the right places and gave us enough London concerts for everyone who wanted to, to see and hear him.

Thank you all. And I hope London was receptive enough to entice you back sometime soon.

A happy and healthy 2009 to all who manage or visit this site.

Richard Clifford
London
John Etherington
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Re: London RAH, 17-18 November 2008

Post by John Etherington » Wed Dec 10, 2008 2:14 pm

Good one, sirp! I didn't intend a pun there, but you sum things up perfectly.

Cheers, John E
sirp2000
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Re: London RAH, 17-18 November 2008

Post by sirp2000 » Wed Dec 10, 2008 12:32 pm

Yes, I was pleased not to get "lost in that hopeless little screen"!
John Etherington wrote: sirp 2000 - Congratulations on not bringing a camera to Brighton. The absence of the detestable little glaring screens was was one of the great bonuses of that particular show. I heard they helped to spoil the Albert Hall experience for other people I know.

Cheers, John E
John Etherington
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Re: London RAH, 17-18 November 2008

Post by John Etherington » Wed Dec 10, 2008 2:42 am

efc - Complain ye not! ...the thread has been moved to the Everything Else section.

sirp 2000 - Congratulations on not bringing a camera to Brighton. The absence of the detestable little glaring screens was was one of the great bonuses of that particular show. I heard they helped to spoil the Albert Hall experience for other people I know.

Cheers, John E
efc

Re: London RAH, 17-18 November 2008

Post by efc » Tue Dec 09, 2008 11:34 pm

Jarkko, have you been on a course on how to delete posts indiscriminately.

A political issue arising from a concert is part of that concert.
sirp2000
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Re: London RAH, 17-18 November 2008

Post by sirp2000 » Tue Dec 02, 2008 1:29 pm

scorp wrote:
if you filmed any of the brighton gig, can you pleeeeeease post it on youtube? :-)
Sorry, scorp, but for Brighton, my last concert, I decided to attend without the camera as I wanted to absorb the whole experience in my heart and soul without the distraction of pushing buttons. It was wonderful, but apologies for not sharing it this time.
Christopher B
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Re: London RAH, 17-18 November 2008

Post by Christopher B » Tue Dec 02, 2008 12:35 am

Habie,

Thanks for the survival list. I'll work my way through it but how many does your bath hold as I suspect the need for support grows by the minute.
Little to add except the possibility that that having enjoyed himself so much Leonard may want to do it, or at least some of it, again. I don't know if the affection, respect and devotion that so many people clearly hold for him, both as a performer and person, took him by surprise but there can be no doubt that he has and continues to touch so many lives and that, if anything, the feeling gets stronger, certainly as far as I am concerned, some 40 years after first hearing what was, at the time, a very different voice regaling me of the virtues of the Sisters of Mercy. As Jennifer Warnes, who I guess is a pretty good judge, says, far more eloquently than I could ever hope to, he can "pry open your heart with a crowbar"and that she had never know anyone "with more courage to go where all of us are afraid to go". This has been the most amazing year which we will all treasure and we should be grateful that we were able to share it with Leonard. Thank you Leonard and your incredible band and thanks Jarkko, we'll need you to keep up the marvellous work.
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A.Sukitu
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Re: London RAH, 17-18 November 2008

Post by A.Sukitu » Mon Dec 01, 2008 6:58 pm

ps to how I remember being there:

Habie - another thing to add: have you read Troubadour's beautiful rememberances on pg 5 of this thread? I read it and feel that I have been with the glory and the grace; my greed is abated (yet my ambivalence rises - I still hope that the bunch of heroes will return in the future to promote new material, or only to enjoy the experience of performing the songs).
So now I await the cd/dvd of the live shows - plus news of the Pacific Tour. (may it make progress).
"You let me sing, you lifted me up, you gave my soul a beam to travel on. ... You gave the injury a tongue to heal itself."
Leonard Cohen in Book of Mercy (1984) Ch. 19.
scorp
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Re: London RAH, 17-18 November 2008

Post by scorp » Sun Nov 30, 2008 12:56 am

sirp2000 wrote:What a wonderful evening last night (the 18th) was. Leonard and the band were magnificent and audience quiet but adoring. It was as if everyone was sitting there in awe, struck dumb by "the beauty of the word".

Thanks, Andy, for letting me have such a wonderful seat, front row of the stalls block H. It was great to meet and sit next to you. Here's my film of Marianne, including Leonard skipping onto the stage at the start.

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=LkGSFYogaMY

I also filmed the Partisan and most of Democracy which I could post on youtube if anyone requests it.

Roll on Brighton!
if you filmed any of the brighton gig, can you pleeeeeease post it on youtube? :-)
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jarkko
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Re: London RAH, 17-18 November 2008

Post by jarkko » Fri Nov 28, 2008 8:54 am

Some messages about Obama/US politics have been removed from this thread. This is supposed to deal with Leonard Cohen's concert at Royal Albert Hall. If you want to discuss Obama, there are plenty of threads available in the "Everything else" section.
1988, 1993: Helsinki||2008: Manchester|Oslo|London O2|Berlin|Helsinki|London RAH|| 2009: New York Beacon|Berlin|Venice|Barcelona|Las Vegas|San José||2010: Salzburg|Helsinki|Gent|Bratislava|Las Vegas|| 2012: Gent|Helsinki|Verona|| 2013: New York|Pula|Oslo|||
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A.Sukitu
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Re: London RAH, 17-18 November 2008

Post by A.Sukitu » Thu Nov 27, 2008 5:54 pm

Habie -
I so agree with your list! (tho' for me, #3 is "a shake-down in the shower").
#4 stays with me: the glory and the grace ...
Maybe it is my age-thing, maybe it is my thing, maybe it is the thing - to appreciate witnessing such glory and grace.
and
Mostly I am avoiding withdrawals with denying that this is the "last" tour. Surely the troubadours will return to promote new material. I'm waiting and believing.

Love to all too! xx
"You let me sing, you lifted me up, you gave my soul a beam to travel on. ... You gave the injury a tongue to heal itself."
Leonard Cohen in Book of Mercy (1984) Ch. 19.
Habie
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Re: London RAH, 17-18 November 2008

Post by Habie » Tue Nov 25, 2008 7:56 pm

Paula : Sorry I was so deep in conversation the other day - I was a bit overexcited when talking to Jarkko and afterwards felt bad for incessantly babbling ... I later apologised, but only to Henning, as Jarkko was no longer around. Next time, I hope to meet you properly. I remember seeing you with your son - did he enjoy the concert??

Paula and A.Sukitu : re withdrawal symptoms, for what it's worth, here are my personal techniques so far :

1. Spending a lot of time on this website!
(however personal one's experience of Leonard's music, it helps to be among like-minded people whose ideas of poetry and attitude to life have been touched by Leonard's...) - Also, there are so many other treasures on this website to explore beyond the Forum... it's very rich, from lyrics-analysis to summaries of meetings with LC, to worldwide press coverage and links to all sorts of videos of Leonard (including that lovely one of him on a bench with a passing writer-hobo, chatting... I forget which thread, but it's enchanting).

2. Reading LC's poetry books (which I bought as a young woman and carried with me from home to home, but never read fully) to immerse myself in the poetry

3. Having a long bath, with candles burning and Juniper-scented water, and listening to the whole of I'm Your Man or New Skin (or if I'm really suffering Tour Withdrawal, I listen to MP3 recordings of some of the concerts - cavernous sound, but includes all the banter, so hugely enjoyable for instant nostalgics)

4. (Hardest one of all) ; trying to feel I've learned something tangible from Leonard's presence this year, in terms of courtesy, dignity, gentleness, wit and wisdom, sensuality, and most of all humility... like I said, the hard part!

You're right though, maybe this should be another thread : "SURVIVING WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS" or something"... I'll leave that decision to the moderators.

Love to all x
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A.Sukitu
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Re: London RAH, 17-18 November 2008

Post by A.Sukitu » Tue Nov 25, 2008 4:34 pm

Can I come in late on this discussion, to follow Paula and say that I am trying to avoid withdrawls ...

...I wonder if this should this should be another thread- ? -

but I am thinking that it would be good to express hope and desire for Leonard to return - in due time - to promote the new cd (... once recorded). Of course I'd wish Leonard good resting times - it has (more than) been worth the wait since the last tour; please don't leave it so long till the next ... Our arms are open wide at the RAH ...
"You let me sing, you lifted me up, you gave my soul a beam to travel on. ... You gave the injury a tongue to heal itself."
Leonard Cohen in Book of Mercy (1984) Ch. 19.
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Paula
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Re: London RAH, 17-18 November 2008

Post by Paula » Tue Nov 25, 2008 1:37 pm

Habie - I nearly met you on Tuesday but you were deep in conversation with Jarkko and Eija and I just popped over to say hello to them.

Miia are you the lady who came to Brick Lane? Was that flower from the Troubadour I was too far away to fling the flower to him and when I got home the dog ate it.

Hydriot you are not a 'rigid pompous wallflower'.

I am getting withdrawal symptoms and really can't understand why recordings and you tube just do not do justice to the concerts.
Dublin 14th June, Manchester 20th June, O2 17th July, Matlock Bandstand Aug 28, O2 14th November, Royal Albert Hall 17th and 18th November 2008, MBW 11th July 2009, Liverpool Echo 14th July 2009
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