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CONCERT REPORT: Adelaide, January 26

Posted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 5:30 pm
by dce
Wow ... what can I say. I have heard a lot of recordings of Leonard's current live tour and read many accounts on this forum, so I had a fairly good idea of what to expect from today's winery show. But even with all that preparation, I was absolutely blown away by this performance.

The main thing that impressed me was how much the audience (at least down the front where I was) were absolutely enraptured and very energetic at expressing their enjoyment. There was literally a standing ovation on almost every song, and a huge one before Leonard had sung a note. Leonard didn't talk too much to the crowd ... but one of the main reasons was that he literally couldn't: every silence got filled with rapturous applause. At the end of the 3 hour show, the feeling was very much that everyone wanted ANOTHER 3 hours. I know I did :-)

I'm not going to try to articulate the intense personal and emotional experience that this show brought -- others have said it all before, and better than I would be able. But I thought I'd mention some of the moments that made this show unique (at least compared to others that I've heard recordings from):

1. It was a very hot day in Adelaide -- temperatures were around 35C when the support acts were on, probably a little cooler when Leonard took to the stage. But the band steamed on, seemingly unaffected. Roscoe Beck started the performance with a jacket, which he abandoned 3 or 4 songs in ... but even by that point, the white shirt he was wearing underneath was literally transparent with perspiration.

2. At the beginning of Bird on the Wire, the Webb sisters and Sharon linked arms and did a little swaying thing, to separate just before they started singing to walk slowly to their mikes.

3. Leonard made a small lyrical change in Anthem: instead of "the birth betrayed" he sang "the birth delayed" ... or that's how it sounded to me.

4. Two small changes in Hallelujah: instead of "Baby, I've been here before" we got "People, I've been here before". Also he later personalized a line (as he often does) by singing "I didn't come all this way to this vineyard to fool you".

5. Leonard mentioned how much it meant to him to be playing on Australia Day (with a couple of Australian support acts). I thought that was a nice touch.

6. The Webb Sisters solo in I Tried To Leave You has morphed again -- by my count this is at least the 3rd version. This one was much more of a delicate harmonizing.

7. I hadn't heard mention that the show included a smoke machine in the second set (after the sun had mostly gone down) ... so when I saw smoke emerging from behind Neil's Hammond B3, I was initially worried (particularly given how hot it was earlier :-)

8. The Australian audience reaction was a bit different in a few places to recordings I've heard from Canada and Europe. Overall the crowd were very vocal throughout. I'm Your Man had quite a few moments where the audience would shout out their willingness. The recitation of A Thousand Kisses Deep seemed a little less the 'you-can-hear-a-pin-drop' phenomenon that other's have reported -- in a few places it was like that, but in others the crowd laughed at and cheered some of the wry lines. Also in I Tried To Leave You, several of the traditional places where other audiences have given big cheers ("Here's a Man, Still Working ...") didn't get as much response .. but earlier when he sang "Goodnight my darlings" there was a big shout of "Nooooo!"

There are probably more, but it's late and this is all that comes to mind ...

Overall it was an awesome performance from LC and the band ... and I can only hope that the rest of the Australian shows are as fine as this one.


Dean Engelhardt

Re: Adelaide (Leconfield Winery), Jan 26

Posted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 6:09 pm
by dce
One thing I did forget ...

9. The talk at the end of Tower of Song has changed a fair bit since the last recording I've heard ... LC didn't do the "joke" about having just discovered the mystery behind existence ... instead he treats the whole "de do dum dum dum" thing as a kind of meditation. His words in Adelaide were: "Don't ever stop ... let us gather our thoughts now ... there's no place to go ... there's no reason to be here ... ah sing me down to sleep ... sing me through the bitter morning ... be the soundtrack -- the cheerful soundtrack -- to my shabby life .. ah yes ... we are now brave enough ... to continue. Thank you."


Dean Engelhardt

Re: Adelaide (Leconfield Winery), Jan 26

Posted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 6:26 pm
by Otouto
Let me say a great summary of the concert Dean. I have just walked in the door and the clock reads 2am. I spent a good few hours after the concert at a good friends just reliving the surreal moments of the concert....

I will post my overall thoughts of the performance when I have caught up on some sleep, but all I can say at this present moment is I feel like I have been born again. No matter how much people can warn you ahead of time how amazing a concert of Leonard's will be, it seems to surpass that by a long way.

I am ever so grateful to have found Leonard at this time in my life :).

More to come soon...


Re: Adelaide (Leconfield Winery), Jan 26

Posted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:37 am
by dce
Two more things I forgot to mention before:

10. Leonard's ritual of introducing the band members at the end of each set, giving them their epithets, seems to have become even more elaborate. Pretty much everyone got not one, but two little nicknames. He took particular pains to shower praise on Sharon, not only calling her his 'collaborator' but going on to list three or four songs that she had co-written. Interestingly, during one of these band introductions, LC called Roscoe the "conscience" of the band ... which seemed to surprise Roscoe (judging from the look on his face).

11. There was a lovely lady in the audience that had brought a little placard -- just a plain white piece of cardboard with a big red love-heart. She was waving it throughout much of the show, and the cameras seemed to pick her out in crowd shots. At the end of the first set, she went up to the security guys at the front of the stage ... words were exchanged, and she handed over her placard and some other stuff ... only to have it returned by one of LC's crew a few minutes later -- apparently signed! Or at least that's how it looked. I didn't think they were doing this sort of thing ...

Also: it was great to catch up with Otouto at the show ...


Dean Engelhardt

Re: Adelaide (Leconfield Winery), Jan 26

Posted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 1:27 pm
by faz
My first post!

Been a fan since I first heard him in the early 70s (I think I first heard him when I saw 'McCabe and Mrs Miller' ( but this is the first time I've seen him live. Took a group of friends along and although I would have been satisfied at almost anything, I was concerned about the group because (much to my continued astonishment) people actually take a dislike to LC!

No need to fear though, they had a great time. You really didn't have to be an LC fan to enjoy such a professional performance and LC himself was in fine voice and just oozed warmth and appreciation.

I had heard before the gig that LC was inclined to 'talk too much', but there was none of that in Adelaide. He was superb.

I've enjoyed the responses read so far about the Adelaide gig and those that came before.

I was particularly looking forward to 'Bird on a Wire' (probably my favourite if pushed to choose) and would have been happy not to hear Hallelujah. Hallelujah is what my companions were looking forward to most and, I have to admit, even I totally enjoyed it in the end.

I saw a beggar leaning on his wooden crutch,
He said to me, you must not ask for so much.
And a pretty woman leaning in her darkened door,
She cried to me, hey, why not ask for more?

Re: Adelaide (Leconfield Winery), Jan 26

Posted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 6:54 pm
by Lindaj
Isn't it just wonderful that this Leonard Cohen ripple of love and appreciation just keeps continuing across all the continents.

Re: Adelaide (Leconfield Winery), Jan 26

Posted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 7:03 pm
by jarkko
TONY PRYTZ: Hallelujah, Cohen's a marvel

January 27th, 2009

IT seems funny to say that the best concert you have seen was by a 73-year-old man wearing a suit and hat in a paddock 50km north of Melbourne.

But that is what Leonard Cohen does to you.

While not the most assiduous concert-goer in Australia, in my younger day I did see The Stones in 1973 and Led Zeppelin in 1972 at Kooyong, and Frank Zappa and the Mothers at Festival Hall, also in 1973.

(That also being my VCE year could explain why my results were not as great as some of us might have hoped at the time.)

But it does mean that when I make the above statement I do have something to compare with.

While it was good to see Mick and Keef do Jumpin' Jack Flash and Robert and Jimmy do Stairway those performances pale in comparison to what about 7000 people saw at the Rochford Winery at Coldstream on Saturday.

The crowd was mesmerised from the moment he bounced on stage with the verve of a 17-year-old and started into his first song.

Like me, I think, most of the people there could not believe they were seeing in the flesh the man they had listened to for almost 40 years.

It was hard to believe that the man who wrote Suzanne, Bird on the Wire, Tower of Song, Hallelujah and Famous Blue Raincoat was just over there singing those songs for us ... and sounding so good.

A friend had come down from Darwin for the concert and when we met up at half time we both said the same thing _ that you got your money's worth as soon as he sang the first words of the first song.

The great thing was Cohen seemed to be really enjoying it also. He had a smile of delight on his face the whole night. He just seemed like a really nice man.

He said he was privileged to be playing in a peaceful setting in a peaceful country in a world where much was in chaos.

I never understood the people who said they found his music depressing. To me his words have always been inspiring and uplifting.

He also is an artist and he was performing his works and was happy to do so.

He did not do the modern thing of "No, I am not going to play any of that old stuff. Here is something I wrote on the bus on the way out here''.

He sang classic after classic for three hours and his voice and his superb supporting musicians were faultless all night.

He thanked us for coming out to hear a "few shabby songs'' he had written and he thanked us for keeping his music alive.

No worries, Leonard, it's been a pleasure.

Re: Adelaide (Leconfield Winery), Jan 26

Posted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 7:31 am
by Otouto
Now that I have had a chance to float back to earth from cloud nine :) , I thought I would write a longer reflection on the spectacle of an event I attended earlier in the week.

The venue was Leconfield Winery in Mclaren Vale, Adelaide. Gorgeous vineyards and pastures set against warm temperatures and a slowly setting sun. The support acts were the perfect warm-up for the day with the acoustic sounds of Augie March and Paul Kelly creating the mood.

Being that I am a recent convert to all things Leonard Cohen, I was grateful to be part of a crowd which had old and new fans alike. I managed to share in a great conversation with Dean from the forum (he ended up being seated one row in front of me :lol: ), and hear about what it meant to be a fan for over 20 years.

When Leonard finally took the stage everyone welcomed him with a standing ovation. This was a trend which was to continue after almost every song he performed. For 3 hours Leonard effortlessly made us dance, laugh, and cry. I somehow felt a similar sense of thanks for a man whose music has made such a profound effect on my life.

The most moving moment of the night for me came with his recitation of A Thousand Kisses Deep. It was something which seemed to make time slow.

I have tried to attach some pictures I took of the night. If you would like to take them away for your own collections, please feel free :).

I am still lost for words as to how to mark my experience. A simple thank you to Leonard would suffice I believe.


Re: Adelaide (Leconfield Winery), Jan 26

Posted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 7:33 am
by Otouto
More pics...

Re: Adelaide (Leconfield Winery), Jan 26

Posted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 7:37 am
by Otouto
More pics...

Re: Adelaide (Leconfield Winery), Jan 26

Posted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 7:39 am
by Otouto
Last ones...

Re: Adelaide (Leconfield Winery), Jan 26

Posted: Fri Jan 30, 2009 1:35 am
by dce
thanks for the photos: my partner also took some (which maybe I'll upload later) ... but yours look great!


Re: Adelaide (Leconfield Winery), Jan 26

Posted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 2:30 am
by caitsith01
Hi all - first post, just thought I'd share some pictures I took at the show. It was fantastic, more than I could ever have reasonably expected. I have been lucky enough to see Neil Young on Friday, so that's two absolute musical legends in the space of five days!

LC's voice was absolutely stunning live, I was totally unprepared for it. Some of his recordings don't do its full range justice.

Anyway, you can see a few more pictures here, but here's a couple (hope this works):