CONCERT REPORT: Birmingham, November 22

September 21 - November 30, 2008. Concert reports, set lists, photos, media coverage, multimedia links, recollections...
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Re: Birmingham NEC, 22 November 2008

Post by phillip » Mon Nov 24, 2008 9:51 pm

terry shute wrote:Birmingham was unforgettable. a truly life-enhancing experience.
can't believe there are folks 'noticing' that he faltered over one line!
He gave us 25 songs, over more than three hours - the guy was perfection.
You choose to point out one altered line? obviously, you've never been to a Dylan show!
Let's hope LC will be back one day, but I doubt he will. Did anyone make a good mental note of his parting remarks, after the final encore - they sounded to me very much like a farewell.
what was it he said at the end I seem to have forgot???
I have been a Leonard Cohen fan for 28 years feel free to email me if you wish to keep in touch!
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Re: Birmingham NEC, 22 November 2008

Post by Jonnie Falafel » Mon Nov 24, 2008 10:31 pm

There were no farewells! He said something like, "It's getting late & we're union men & this is a union hall" - a reference to musician union rules about late performances & hall curfews... then he said it was getting chilly outside & he wished us a safe journey home. No doubt the exact words will show up on youtube.
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Re: Birmingham NEC, 22 November 2008

Post by Habie » Mon Nov 24, 2008 11:33 pm

The exact words (which I recorded on video and audio) were : "This is a Union Hall and we're Union men. It's getting chilly out there so don't catch a cold. And be well, be lucky, and may the blessings find you in your solitude. And until we meet again, God Bless, and thanks."
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Re: Birmingham NEC, 22 November 2008

Post by Christopher B » Tue Nov 25, 2008 12:43 am

I'll hang onto the words "until we meet again".

As far as the venue is concerned the best approach is to park, snack (although as there was a 80 minute wait for food this proved impractical) and if necessary pee in one of the "local" hotels. Free parking and a few minutes walk to the arena.

On the off chance that you are or know the very attractive woman with shoulder length luxuriously thick dark hair, wearing jeans, suede boots and a bright red fitted jacket who exited the arena from around block C, apparently on her own and who is still on her own but would like to reminisce and relive those magical three hours, get in touch. No impostors please. (It's worth a try and I'm sure Leonard wouldn't mind this abuse of the forum as, after all, there ain't no cure for love.)
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Re: Birmingham NEC, 22 November 2008

Post by woolton » Tue Nov 25, 2008 1:03 am

Hi Phil
I agree with you, what a night. Leonard is a one-off: there will never be another like him. He just makes you feel good :D about life and he has such a way with words......
Hope we can see him again.
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Re: Birmingham NEC, 22 November 2008

Post by LboroSteve » Tue Nov 25, 2008 2:03 am

As a recent convert to Leonard Cohen ,I attended the concert at Birmingham with my wife who first saw the great man in Manchester in the 70's. An excellent performance not just from Leonard Cohen, but also from the rest of the musicians and singers. I came away thinking that why did it it take me to the age of 53 before I actually listened to a full Leonard Cohen album courtesey of my wife's good music choice on holiday in Italy two years ago. Truelly remarkable and also sad as I got the impression that the performance maybe his last in this Country.(hopefully I am wrong).

Fair play to the audience who allowed the music and the singing to proceed without the need to join in. Must have been difficult for the hard core amongst you but you are also a truelly knowledgable audience anyway ! Great experience , thanks!
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Re: Birmingham NEC, 22 November 2008

Post by lizzytysh » Tue Nov 25, 2008 5:11 am

Dear Habie ~

Thank you for your comments. I cried reading them, as they brought back so much of what I felt seeing Leonard in Montreal. Such an overwhelming feeling of melancholy with reading what everyone's written here.

~ Lizzy
"Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken."
~ Oscar Wilde
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Re: Birmingham NEC, 22 November 2008

Post by julro » Wed Nov 26, 2008 1:29 am

One of the best concerts I have been to,only slightly marred by a very loud woman whoop whooping behind me at every opportunity!
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Re: Birmingham NEC, 22 November 2008

Post by anapple » Wed Nov 26, 2008 5:00 pm

I went to see Leonard with my sister who's a big fan, but I went along not really knowing what to expect ... and WOW what a night. I was completely blown away by the whole experience. :D

It turns out I was actually familiar with more songs than I thought I knew before I went and it's left me wanting more!

It's good to hear of people going to numerous gigs, I've left it a bit late ... but hey I've got the thought of the DVD coming out in March to keep me going.

I can still picture him on stage singing and it gives me goosebumps, I don't know whether Chris Martin will have the same effect on Monday when I go and see Coldplay!
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Re: Birmingham NEC, 22 November 2008

Post by jarkko » Thu Nov 27, 2008 8:56 am ... ngham_NEC/
Leonard Cohen: Birmingham NEC
2:46pm Wednesday 26th November 2008

By Reg Little »

FIRST he took Glastonbury, then he took Birmingham. But if Leonard Cohen’s ability to blow away the giant crowd at the summer’s biggest open air festival at the age of 73 came as a slight surprise, his string of arena concerts this winter before true believers were always going to be emotional celebrations of a remarkable career.

Few artists at Birmingham NEC can ever have been as warmly welcomed to the stage as the great Canadian song writer, as he jauntily danced on to the stage to open with Dance Me to the End of Love. And for more than two-and-a half hours the dignified figure in the double-breasted suit, resembling a 1930s gangster, merely had to gesture with his fedora to generate thunderous applause.

After 14 years, his fans did not expect to see Cohen on stage again. After all, the last time he played, as he said, he was just “a 60-year-old kid with a crazy dream”. He jests that it was only the intrusion of “cheerfulness” that led him to suspend his philosophical and religious pursuits. And even if we all know that financial misfortune has forced the poet to peddle his trade on this long European tour, for his devotees it has been a chance to acknowledge his unique place in contemporary music.

In return, Cohen is repaying that faith with a series of concerts that will enter the ‘best gigs of all time’ shortlist for many. Gripping the microphone with white clenched fists, his great songs are delivered in his inimitable baritone, perfectly complemented by the two Webb sisters, and his long-time collaborator Sharon Robinson. Cohen has always liked to surround himself by beautiful talented women and he clearly sees no reason to stop now.

A superb six-piece band, led by the guitarist Bob Metzger, offered polished and varied reworkings of Bird on a Wire, Chelsea Hotel and Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye, some with delicious jazz arrangements, others introduced by gorgeous flamenco guitar work.

The only depressing thing about this Cohen concert were the chaotic scenes preceding the performance which saw hundreds crammed into narrow passageways in scenes reminiscent of 1970s football grounds, resulting in many missing the opening number. This most good- humoured of crowds deserved better.
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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Re: Birmingham NEC, 22 November 2008

Post by liverpoolken » Thu Nov 27, 2008 2:13 pm

When I first spotted this article I thought perhaps the writer had seen me in London with my homemade t-shirt, but thankfully the article is from the Birmingham Post...........

What not to wear to a Leonard Cohen concert
Nov 26 2008 By Chris Upton

How does one dress for a concert? For a classical performance the choice is relatively straight-forward. One dresses exactly like the conductor - black for the man and even more black for the woman.

For a pop concert, however, etiquette demands that you wear the same things as the band or the singer.

This general rule, however, can be fraught with difficulty. I remember attending a Roxy Music gig at the Odeon back in the mid-70s. Practically everyone in the hall was dolled up - boys and girls, difficult to tell which was which - in feathers, leopardskin and huge spangley collars. That, by general agreement, was the Roxy “look”.

When Bryan Ferry stepped on stage he revealed a major career shift towards pressed trousers and khaki shirt. The latest album cover gave no hint of this. Tinsel and glitter were jettisoned in vast quantities by the interval, and lads piled into the Gents to remove eye-liner.

These memories came flooding back last Saturday night as we mingled with the hordes outside the NEC Arena for the Leonard Cohen Concert. How exactly should one dress for a Leonard Cohen concert?

The merchandise stalls suggested tee-shirts, of course (at a frightening £20 a throw and £24.50 if you tried to pay by card). There were even Leonard Cohen tee-shirts for toddlers, an opportunity to circumvent the difficult junior and adolescent years by turning one’s son or daughter overnight into a 50-year-old.

Indeed, the grateful toddler may well be able to sing along to one of Leonard’s more famous songs, having heard Halleluljah in Shrek II. I still find this the most extraordinary choice for a musical number in any film. Not surprisingly they left out a few of the more explicit verses.

So, what to wear? Mr Cohen himself, I imagine, would have suggested rags and feathers from Salvation Army counters, or a blue raincoat, perhaps, torn at the shoulder. The merchandise stall missed a trick there.

The answer, as the faces in the crowd revealed, was to wear one’s hair a little balding, ones glasses at a jaunty angle, and not to bother with eye-liner, there would be lines under the eyes anyway.

Pushing through the throng, I heard one woman telling her friend: “Everyone at a Bob Dylan show is aged between 40 and 70.” True enough, I suppose, just as everybody at a Johann Sebastian Bach concert is aged between 250 and 300 years. And isn’t it embarrassing when they come in, wearing gaiters and powdered wigs?

Leonard Cohen and his band, by the way, were dressed like Vienna between the wars. He doffed his fedora politely to acknowledge every rapturous round of applause, and turned himself, in that very act, from timeless to a man in his 70s.

As we rushed from the Arena to Birmingham International I hoped against hope we would not be singing “It’s four in the morning, the end of December”, still waiting for a train back to New Street.
Solitudine non é essere soli, é amare gli altri inutilmente - Mario Stefani
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Re: Birmingham NEC, 22 November 2008

Post by maggien » Sat Nov 29, 2008 7:42 pm

A few months ago I hadn't heard any of Leonard Cohen's poetry or music. Where had I been for the last 40 years? Who knows - but I have made-up for my astonishing neglect of him since hearing 'First we take Manhattan', played as someone's choice of music on Radio 4, of all unlikely places. I then listened to
'Hallelujah' on Youtube. That was it - completely overwhelmed by him. I got a CD of his 'Essential Songs' which has been played practically daily ever since. I never dreamed that I would actually see him live on stage. My husband got tickets for the Birmingham Concert last Saturday which we both thoroughly enjoyed. It didn't matter a bit to me whether the words were in the right order or that people whistled - I only had eyes for the Man himself!, so charming and relaxed and gracious throughout the entire show. The musicians were amazing and the Webb Sisters and Sharon Robinson were the perfect backing. What really thrilled me was the fact that, in spite of being very hard of hearing, I got every word he sang (sometimes, when listening to the CD, I'd thought I'd heard some peculiar words - now I know what he was really singing). I do hope he will tour Britain again, if he is able to, but I'm really looking forward to the forthcoming recording of this Tour. I am very grateful to you , Jaarkko, for enabling me to read these reviews and add my on two pennyworth. Thank you for all you do. By the way, my husband is now another 'convert to Cohen' - he has been seen putting Leonard on the CD player. It's so nice to be able to share the emotion with someone close.

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Re: Birmingham NEC, 22 November 2008

Post by phillip » Sat Nov 29, 2008 8:26 pm

I agree Maggie Leonard is the best I have been a fan for 20 years and got all his books of poetry and albums etc... my aunt has been a fan for 40 years we were there at Birmingham last Saturday and also Manchester in June loved both concerts they were great, I also saw him in London in 1993 and shhok hands with him after the concert, he certainly is the best and keep playing those Cd's as I am sure you will :D
I have been a Leonard Cohen fan for 28 years feel free to email me if you wish to keep in touch!
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