Leonard Cohen Odysseys

New Zealand and Australia (January 20 - February 10, 2009). Concert reports, set lists, photos, media coverage, multimedia links, recollections...
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Joined: Thu Jul 10, 2008 3:05 am
Location: Adelaide, South Australia

Leonard Cohen Odysseys

Post by dce » Mon Feb 02, 2009 6:42 pm

As readers of this forum would already know, I have been very fortunate enough to be in a position where I can follow LC and band for much of their tour of Australia. Sure it's an expensive holiday ... but what a holiday! Leonard's schedule for the past week or so has been really quite hectic, so in that time I have already seen performances at:

26 Jan -- Leconfield Winery, Adelaide
28 Jan -- Sydney Entertainment Centre
29 Jan -- Sydney Entertainment Centre
31 Jan -- Bimbadgen Vineyard, Hunter Valley
01 Feb -- Centennial Winery, Bowral

I still have a couple more to go

03 Feb -- Brisbane Entertainment Centre (tonight!)
10 Feb -- Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne (tour close)

I've been trying to post impressions of individual shows in the threads dedicated to each (where Internet connectivity permits), but thought I would start this thread to write some overall impressions of the tour. I would urge anyone else who is also following the tour on the road, post here with your stories!


When planning travel to the various places that LC has performed, I figured that the schedule was fairly tight but not too bad. Now that I'm actually travelling all those kilometers, I have a new found respect for what life must be like for LC and his crew (or any band really) on the road. Just the sheer logistics of moving from hotel to hotel is time consuming and a little tedious -- especially when you're staying nowhere for more than 2 nights.


I've spoken to a number of other LC fans as I've been travelling around, and after explaining the idea of seeing multiple shows, their first question is "aren't all the shows alike". Well, that's what they say *before* they've seen the show ... afterwards, many are up for seeing as many repeat performances as possible :-)

One of the main things that I have noticed from watching LC's show several times in short succession is that, despite the set list not varying very much, each performance is quite unique. I know this is a bit of a cliche of live performances, but it's also very true. All 5 shows that I have seen to date have been memorable in their own, very different ways. I've tried to capture those unique elements in the postings I've made to the various threads.

Why the difference? A small part of it is down to the performers -- generally LC and the band are a very well-oiled and professional machine, as you'd expect from a troupe that has given this performance almost a hundred times. Not much goes wrong with their perfromances, although there are the occasional slight moments when things don't go to plan (maybe these are the cracks through which the light gets in). But these are really very minor variations.

What really makes the difference is the way that the crowd reacts to the performance. And I don't mean the points at which they laugh or cheer -- often these are similar from night to night ... but the way they express their appreciation and love back to Leonard and the band. It's hard to put into words .. and it's kind of a cumulative effect throughout a performance, rather than a single isolated moment of 'connection' between audience and performer. But somewhere in there lies the magic that makes the difference between a technically-brilliant performance and a stunning experience.


It really has been an amazing experience following Leonard and the band through the last 5 shows ... and I really hope that the remainder of the tour continues to be as awe-inspiring as the 5 shows I have seen so far (if only because I'll be at 2 of them :-).

I just wanted to wrap up with a few random well-wishes:

1. I really hope that the extraordinary way that Australian audiences have received LC will make him realize that, when we raise him up in grace, we put him in a place where he need have no fear of falling ... except perhaps on the side of luck :-)

2. I have noticed that about the only person on stage that does NOT have a snappy epithet assigned to them is the master himself ... perhaps if he were introducing himself he'd be "From Montreal, by way of Greece and Los Angeles, The of Hymn-master of the Heart-felt Humility, Mr Leonard Cohen" :-)

dce (on the road ... going to bed)

Dean Engelhardt
(For most of November 2010, I followed Leonard and the band as they toured around Australia and New Zealand. You can read about my wanderings on the blog I created to collect them all in one place: http://lcdownunder2010.wordpress.com/)
Posts: 67
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2008 6:18 am
Location: Brisbane, Australia

Re: Leonard Cohen Odysseys

Post by NickShears » Tue Feb 03, 2009 6:11 am

You really put that well Dean. Thanks. I hope you enjoy your sixth show in Brisbane tonight, it'll be my first of the tour but I know it's going to be amazing.

London 1979, London 1983, London 1988, Brisbane 2009
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