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CONCERT REPORT: Wellington, January 20

Posted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 8:54 pm
by MasterThief
Best concert I have ever been to. Off to Auckland for more on Thursday.

Wellington, New Zealand
Tuesday 20 January 2009

Set 1
1. Dance Me to the End of Love
2. The Future
3. Ain't No Cure for Love
4. Bird on the Wire
5. Everybody Knows
6. In My Secret Life
7. Who By Fire
8. Chelsea Hotel #2
9. Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye
10. Anthem

Set 2
11. Tower of Song
12. Suzanne
13. The Gypsy Wife
14. The Partisan
15. Boogie Street
16. Hallelujah
17. I'm Your Man
18. A Thousand Kisses Deep [recitation]
19. Take This Waltz

Encore 1
20. So Long Marianne
21. First We Take Manhattan

Encore 2
22. Famous Blue Raincoat
23. If It Be Your Will
24. Democracy

Encore 3
25. I Tried to Leave You
26. Wither Thou Goest

Re: Wellington, January 20

Posted: Wed Jan 21, 2009 12:03 am
by jarkko
Thanks to Marie for this link:
Cohen's concert the best gig ever
The Dominion Post - January 21, 2009 by Simon Sweetman
Canadian poet and singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen takes the stage with his nine-piece band. There is a huge ovation; many people get up out of their seats (for the first of several times).

The opening song is Dance Me To The End Of Love. From there it is to The Future, Ain't No Cure For Love and Bird On A Wire. A living legend places his lyrical legacy at the feet of an adoring audience and the songs - poems, mantras, scriptures even - continue to fall in to place: Everybody Knows with its wry, subversive humour, In My Secret Life (acknowledging the 2001 "comeback" album Ten New Songs).

Cohen takes up an acoustic guitar for some delicate plucking (Who By Fire and Chelsea Hotel # 2). The audience sits hushed as immortal paeans, prayers and odes float from the stage - Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye - and Cohen's band provides the musical colour with a brushed drum kit, saxophones, flutes, mandolin, guitars and three perfectly pitched backing vocalists to assist his below sea-level growl. The sound is stunning in a venue that is so often awful for concerts; this time the right band is playing correctly and the audience is no longer suffering for the location of the musician's art.

A short interval, after Ring The Bells - with its line "there is a crack in everything/that's how the light gets in" - and Cohen returns with Tower Of Song, telling people they are too kind for applauding his one-finger keyboard solo. From there it is to Suzanne from the debut album, the start of the reverence and reverie, then to The Gypsy Wife, The Partisan and Hallelujah.

A Thousand Kisses Deep is stunning as poetic recital; the bard still possesses beguiling grace. And then it is to Take This Waltz, band introductions and a series of encores including So Long Marianne, First We Take Manhattan, If It Be Your Will (Cohen recites the first verse and then his version of Kate and Anna McGarrigle, the Webb sisters, deliver the body of the tune) Famous Blue Raincoat and Democracy. If you were at the concert and didn't like it then you had your information wrong.

It is hard work having to put this concert in to words so I'll just say something I have never said in a review before and will never say again: this was the best show I have ever seen

Re: Wellington, January 20

Posted: Wed Jan 21, 2009 12:29 am
by Actually
Obviously there's no Avalanche anymore and I want to hear it so badly...
After attending the concert in Lörrach I said "I would easily pay twice as much just to hear Avalanche", because the ticket was only 65 € or something. After a while, there were all those clips on youtube showing up and I started thinking that I would even pay more than only twice as much. And now I just invested in a 250 Dollar ticket for New York (plus flights & hotel) and it seems not even that could bring me Avalanche...
Oh well, I guess it's one of those things, which you can't get with money alone. :roll:

Re: Wellington, January 20

Posted: Wed Jan 21, 2009 1:19 am
by ladydi
Hi Actually,

You never know..... It seems that Avalanche appears at some "major" concerts. Not that any are minor concerts, but I noticed it popping up several times during the fall tour. It was included at Berlin which got me excited for Copenhagen, but alas, no Avalanche :( . So, I have a suspicion that we may hear it in New York. Of course if Leonard performed all the favorites of all fans he might have to do a 6 hour set ;-) .

We can only hope. er, for Avalanche, not the 6 hour set.

Re: Wellington, January 20

Posted: Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:06 am
by Actually
Good to see that I'm not the only one hoping for Avalanche. Oh and I'm expecting more than 6 hours, because of this nice little sentence that I found on the files site: This will be a memorable, full-scale concert with all the beloved songs! ;-)

Re: Wellington, January 20

Posted: Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:14 am
by BeShakey
I'm pretty certain that he played That Don't Make it Junk, during the first set I think. Does anyone else recall that or is my memory failing me?

Re: Wellington, January 20

Posted: Wed Jan 21, 2009 3:45 am
by ladydi
Actually wrote:Good to see that I'm not the only one hoping for The Avalanche. Oh and I'm expecting more than 6 hours, because of this nice little sentence that I found on the files site: [
i]This will be a memorable, full-scale concert with all the beloved songs![/i] ;-)
Hi Actually,

Perhaps we should go prepared with extra food and water! "Actually" (great name) I'm so excited for the NY concert. I know you are coming from Germany, which is awesome. Somehow I think this is going to be very very special. Looking forward to meeting up with many of Leonard's fans! And Avalanche.

Re: Wellington, January 20

Posted: Wed Jan 21, 2009 4:08 am
by Sasha K
Set 1 ended with Anthem; Set 2 ended with Take This Waltz.

First encore: So Long Marianne, First We Take Manhattan

Second encore: Famous Blue Raincoat, Democracy, If It Be Thy Will

Third encore: I Tried To Leave You, Whither Thou Goest

I completely agree with those who said this was the best concert they had ever been to ! It was well worth the trip from Japan !
Thank you so much, Mr Cohen, for performing all the songs I requested on the Forum !!! They were sublime. This tour has been the first time I have ever been able to see you on stage, so I can honestly say it was one of the great highlights of my life.
What struck me, even before the concert began, was the fact that so many members of the audience were smiling in anticipation as they walked into the auditorium. New Zealanders tend to be reticent, and you don"t often see them smiling. I was glad to see people standing as Leonard took the stage, and he immediately charmed them , commiserating with them regarding the handrail which was blocking the view of many :" I asked the management to take the handrail away, but they said, due to the nature of my performance..." which drew laughter.
The sound was stunning, far better than I had feared, given the fact that arenas in NZ seem to be built for sporting events rather than concerts. I knew no one in the audience, but made two new friends, a man of Hungarian origin and his wife, who had been to Leonard"s concerts in Montreal and said that the sound was better there ( but had a wonderful time at the concert last night ). I myself felt the sound was more technically perfect in Montreux, but technical perfection is not the focus of these shows ( although the musicians are masters ), and the prevailing feeling in Wellington was one of total warmth and love
between and among Leonard , his audience, and his band. This was unbelievably nourishing and healing. I wish I knew how Leonard does it and I can never thank him enough for it.
To be continued - Sasha K.

Re: Wellington, January 20

Posted: Wed Jan 21, 2009 4:53 am
by Sasha K
A reviewer in London said " It was as if Leonard Cohen was playing in my living room", and this intimacy was also palpable in Wellington.
Leonard was relaxed, mischievous (" This thing plays by itself.Don"t be alarmed.You might not have heard of these down here..") , moving with the suppleness of a teenager, standing with the authority of a master. He seemed in perfect health, and his skin looked beautiful.
Wellingtonians would have appreciated his reference to their city, known to NZ"ers as Windy Wellington:" It"s so windy. You people don"t seem to mind but I had to buy a possum scarf" ( a product of which NZ"ers are proud ).This brought applause. Regarding Sam Hunt, Leonard said, "I"m the colossal shrimp, playing next to the colossal squid." More laughter.
Variations I loved included: " Don"t cry no more. It was you that this longing was made for." ( Bird On A Wire ); Chelsea Hotel, sung with reverence and arranged as an anthem; and in Tower Of Song , turning to the three angels, Leonard said," We"re gonna forget our shabby lives and just listen to you. We want the three of you to sing us to sleep - to sing us through the bitter morning - and to fill our heart with Eros. You are so kind. Thank you."
The three angels looked good, standing on a diagonal to the audience and facing Leonard. Some lovely lighting - silhouetted overlapping profiles outlined in golden light.
Highlights, for me, included Who By Fire, sung as a haunting, ethereal anthem, with an Andalusian-Jewish flavor; the total cohesion of the entire band;the subtle intensity of Dino Soldo"s solos, especially in Gypsy Wife; Sharon and Leonard repeating " In love we disappear " (Boogie Street ), and Leonard"s smile as he turned to face the audience, removing his hat and singing,"I"ll wear this mask for you." ( Tower Of Song ). A moment of pure simplicity, humor, and depth. Essence of Cohen.
To be continued - Sasha K.

Re: Wellington, January 20

Posted: Wed Jan 21, 2009 5:08 am
by Sasha K
As I have said, I so appreciated hearing in NZ songs I had requested on this Forum. Can"t wait for the CD and DVD in March, and the new CD. I truly hope there will also be a book of photographs from this tour - if I could contribute to this, it would be the high point of my life!

Leonard, you are Heaven-sent ( in all your humanity ) and your work is divinely inspired. Huge thanks to you, Jarkko, Marie, and all involved in this tour.

May your lives be blessed.

Sasha K.

"Though I take my song from a withered limb
Both song and tree, they sing for him."

Re: Wellington, January 20

Posted: Wed Jan 21, 2009 5:18 am
by Sasha K
Forgot to say : The arrangement for Famous Blue Raincoat was spectacular...hope this will be on the CD...But actually, it was all spectacular !!!

Montreux was awe-inspiring, Wellington was warm and loving...I wonder what Auckland will be like...

Suggestion for the next tour : Perhaps Leonard could indeed sing his entire repertoire...over a few nights...and we could get a "season ticket"......

Sasha K.

Re: Wellington, January 20

Posted: Wed Jan 21, 2009 7:51 am
by canuck
I'm trying to do a little forward planning - what time did Leonard take the stage? What time did his opening act start? Did the venue have an 11pm curfew?

Re: Wellington, January 20

Posted: Wed Jan 21, 2009 8:39 am
by kaczor47
[fellow] canuck:
Sam Hunt's opening act ended at 8pm, Leonard run (literally!) onto the stage at about 8:15. The show ended around 11:20pm, so I suspect there is no curfew.

It was a fantastic show! After attending 2 of the Halifax shows at the very start of the tour, I was curious how the band will sound after touring for 6+ months. They were indeed in top form.

More importantly, Leonard performed all the songs which I did not get to hear in Halifax: Partisan, Famous Blue Raincoat, Chelsea Hotel#2, Hey That's No Way, Thousand Kisses recitation. Fantastic!

Btw, Boogie Street was sung in its entirety by Sharon. Has this been the case previously?

Re: Wellington, January 20

Posted: Wed Jan 21, 2009 9:35 am
by canuck
Thanks kaczor47

I noticed they had a 7:15pm start on my Sydney tickets, which is usually extremely early for a concert (opening acts often come on at 8:00). But knowing that Leonard did a long show I wanted to make sure the 7:15 was a real start and not just the opening of the venue doors. It looks like it is.

Which is great...

BTW - a friend of mine who used to be in the Australian music business shared some interesting facts with me. He told me it was Australian law that international acts must be accompanied by a local opening act (in the name of giving exposure to domestic artists).

Also, that if you have the choice then always see a winery show. Apparently artists are paid a premium to perform "the hits" at these shows, whereas some artists only perform their current material at a regular concert. (He cited an example of Elvis Costello who only played the new album at a normal show but then cranked out the greatest hits for the winery crowd). I jokingly said "What about Leonard Cohen who has no "hits"? and he just shrugged. Don't all beat me up - I said I was joking.

Re: Wellington, January 20

Posted: Wed Jan 21, 2009 11:15 am
by BeShakey
Re: on stage time - it's worth checking the website of the ticketing agent. For the Wellington show the ticket said the time doors open and an 'on stage' time. The website had the time for the opening act and the time for Leonard. My experience of concerts in NZ is that if there is a curfew it'll be midnight.