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CONCERT REPORT: Boston, May 29 and 30

Posted: Fri May 29, 2009 9:21 pm
by brightnow
Here we go...

Re: CONCERT REPORT: Boston, May 29

Posted: Sat May 30, 2009 8:06 pm
by sturgess66
Someone posted some pretty nice pictures in their blog - taken from the balcony last night, here - ... ma-5292009

One of the pictures -
Leonard Cohen - kneeling.jpg
Leonard Cohen - kneeling.jpg (135.66 KiB) Viewed 15229 times

Re: CONCERT REPORT: Boston, May 29

Posted: Sat May 30, 2009 8:11 pm
by MaryB
WOW sturgess - that is the one most incredible picture I have seen to date because of the angle from which it was shot!!! Thank you.

Re: CONCERT REPORT: Boston, May 29

Posted: Sat May 30, 2009 8:14 pm
by sturgess66
MaryB wrote:WOW sturgess - that is the one most incredible picture I have seen to date because of the angle from which it was shot!!! Thank you.
And the other ones at that link are very nice as well! Thanks to the blogger who posted them! :D

Re: CONCERT REPORT: Boston, May 29

Posted: Sat May 30, 2009 9:24 pm
by sturgess66 ... to-boston/

May 30th, 2009
Leonard Cohen Comes To Boston

Okay, quick: how many 74-year olds could give a three-plus-hour concert night after night and leave the audience hungry for more? Leonard Cohen, that’s who, and last night it was Boston’s turn to savor the pleasure, and my turn to sit in the audience with over 3500 other lucky Cohen aficionados.

He didn’t disappoint, not for a minute. There were no obscurities from the Cohen oeuvre last night, either—it was Greatest Hits all the way, and in this case “great” is not hyperbole, it’s understatement.

Since I knew nearly every word of every song, I was tempted to sing along as I do at home. But everyone in my proximity was spared that experience by dint of my great forbearance; I limited myself to a lot of swaying and a few happy yelps when I’d hear the opening notes of a particular favorite.

As I’ve written before, Leonard Cohen is not for everyone (although he’s certainly for me). Some find him boring, some find him droning, some find him hard to tell apart from Dustin Hoffman until he opens his mouth (although as they’ve both aged, they look a lot less alike than they used to). But I find him to be one of the most compelling and hypnotic singer-songwriters, poet-musicians—whatever sort of hyphenated descriptive term you prefer—in the world.

Cohen spent a lot of time last night with his hat on and his eyes closed and his legs bent or even in a full kneel (try doing that when you’re seventy-four), facing his backup singers or his musicians and singing to them. It sounds as though this would distance him from the audience, but it didn’t; it’s his way of reaching deep within himself to give the greatest emotional power to each song. The words are neither more nor less important than the music, and although he’s probably sung each composition hundreds or even thousands of times, he never seems to be just going through the motions.

For example, when Cohen sang “Suzanne,” one of his earliest songs, he brought thick layers of memory to those of us who had first heard it back in high school or college in the 60s, from a Leonard Cohen who seemed mature at the time but was only in his mid-thirties. How did he make it seem so fresh now, singing it as an old man? His voice is far deeper (deeper even than I’d heard it sound recently in You Tube videos from the current tour—how deep can a man’s voice get and still be heard by the human ear?) But that’s not the only thing that’s deeper; you can hear all the ache of the intervening years—the hard-won wisdom and the hard-fought pain—in his phrasing and tone, and as you listen you nod and think of all that you’ve been through in those same passing decades.

Cohen’s musicians and backup singers are all extraordinary artists as well. Each one has more than a moment in the spotlight and each one is fully up to the task. This is no small part of what is so satisfying about a Cohen concert. One is carried along not only by Cohen’s sonorous voice, his powerful presence despite his diminutive size, and the force of the songs themselves, but also by the wall of sound that accompanies them. No song ever sounds exactly the way it did on the record, nor does it sound exactly the way it did on the You Tube video of some other concert, but it is a tribute to the extraordinary musicality of Cohen and everyone else on the stage that none of the new variations is ever a disappointment no matter how deeply entrenched in one’s head a beloved original might be. Each new phrasing, each new riff, is a revelation.

I have just used the word “revelation,” and it points to another characteristic of Cohen’s work: there is a religious undercurrent to it, even when he’s singing about sex (or maybe especially when he’s singing about sex). How he manages to combine the worldly and even the world-weary with the ecstatic and the numinous is a mystery, but his music is permeated with this sense.

Towards the end of the evening it became even more apparent, as he closed the night with encore after encore for the ecstatic crowd that didn’t want to let him go, and then gave them a benediction in farewell. One wonders if there will ever be another Leonard Cohen tour. But one can hope. Meanwhile, the cries of “we love you, Leonard!” rang out from the audience as it said its goodbyes.

Re: CONCERT REPORT: Boston, May 29

Posted: Sat May 30, 2009 11:54 pm
by Chief Bard
The show brought you to a hip cafe in Montreal and to the side streets of Jerusalem's Wailing Wall. The music and the shared love in the hand painted hall was like a happy daydream in an unexpected traffic jam. He was so enjoying himself. He played and played and gave and gave. Any complaints about the money are understandable. But Cohen gave you double your money's worth. He kept coming out and playing. His poetry caught the morning birds. 1000 kisses deep wow.
Leonard Cohen makes dressing in a suit and tie super hip. Who does that? The women were one mortal drop less then angelic. His delivery were better then ever. In fact the concert was like getting laid on Passover. Great..Great..Great.

Re: CONCERT REPORT: Boston, May 29

Posted: Sun May 31, 2009 12:45 am
by sturgess66
From the Boston Herald ... id=1175787

And check out some wonderful photos at the link in the article - or here: ... d=2645&p=0
Leonard in Boston.jpg
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Leonard Cohen Gives Us Songs of Love, Life

By Daniel Gewertz
Saturday, May 30, 2009

“We are ugly, but we have the music.” So says a character in one of Leonard Cohen’s most precise and pointed songs, “Chelsea Hotel No. 2.”

On Friday night, at a packed and reverent Citi Performing Arts Center, one of the finest songwriters of the 20th century beautifully proved that he still has the music. And though at 74 he is far from movie-star handsome, Cohen possessed a majestic grace that could put mere pop stars to shame.

Just the scope of this monumental show suggests the ways it celebrated a 40-year career: Slightly more than three hours long, there were 28 songs and four encores.

Cohen - who made his mark as a Canadian poet and novelist before writing early songs such as “Suzanne” and “Bird on a Wire” - has long been known for his grave, gravelly voice and somber, erudite manner. Yet in concert he also has a bit of a mischievous sprite in his nature. Every time he left the stage Friday he did it by skipping, and sometimes twirling, too. He often sank to his knees mid-lyric, imploring like a lover. It was a theatrical gesture that perfectly captured his simultaneous grandeur and modesty.

It’s been about 15 years since Cohen last toured, and he’s making up for lost time: He and his nine-member band are already on month 15 of a world tour that has no fixed end.

Though Cohen may not possess the range he had 16 years ago when he played Berklee Performance Center, he gained power and vigor as the long night proceeded. By the time he sang “I’m Your Man,” “Democracy” and “Closing Time,” he was almost rocking.

The band was superb, as were the playful arrangements by Roscoe Beck. But Javier Mas on flamenco guitar and Dino Soldo on saxophone, harmonica and clarinet, were most notable. A klezmer-like merging of tragedy and merriment was often reflected. Longtime Cohen collaborator Sharon Robinson was both earthy and haunting on vocals, and the Webb Sisters wove a spell-like charm on “If It Be Your Will.”

Every spoken word of a Cohen show may be as carefully orchestrated as his elegant, expressive music. But in the end, the largeness and wild possibilities of life are also evoked. Part celestial, part sensual, Leonard Cohen brought a whole life onstage.


At Citi Performing Arts Center, Friday night.

Re: CONCERT REPORT: Boston, May 29

Posted: Sun May 31, 2009 4:05 am
by bridger15
sturgess66 wrote:
MaryB wrote:WOW sturgess - that is the one most incredible picture I have seen to date because of the angle from which it was shot!!! Thank you.
And the other ones at that link are very nice as well! Thanks to the blogger who posted them! :D
sturgess: Those are really fantastic shots. A totally different perspective. Very exciting. Thank you for your posts.

Re: CONCERT REPORT: Boston, May 29

Posted: Sun May 31, 2009 6:01 am
by sturgess66
From the Boston Globe: ... micha.html


Posted by James Reed May 30, 2009 06:17 PM

By Sarah Rodman
Globe Staff

[attachment=0]Lenny 1.jpg[/attachment]

A review of Leonard Cohen in concert could consist of nothing but perfect couplets from his esteemed body of songs, each a world unto itself, and still not get at the depths of what transpired onstage. The quiet power, the original hipster cool, the resonant voice simultaneously evoking angels and demons, the unerringly tasteful nine-piece band attuned to Cohen's every lyrical nuance, the mordant humor, and amazing grace.

Stepping into the Citi Wang Theatre last night (the show repeats tonight) was like crossing the threshold of a grand and elaborately decorated mansion mid-party, where each room housed a guest offering wicked, witty, or wise advice on the ways of the world.

The only piece of advice the impressively lithe 74-year-old, who occasionally skipped about the stage and frequently went down to his knees, imparted during the bountiful three-hour-plus performance was to stay away from those lighted, magnifying hotel mirrors. Good advice.

Otherwise, 15 years after his last visit to Boston, Cohen and his band -- operating in the same lite jazz-rock neighborhood as Steely Dan but with more focus on ambience than groove -- dedicated themselves to the music.

Although he's generally not lauded as a vocalist but rather for his songwriting skills, Cohen's deep, chalky voice was a glorious thing. Whether he was pushing it to its limits on his most famous song, the majestic and oft-covered "Hallelujah"; applying sinister edges for the cynic's anthem "Everybody Knows"; or simply reciting the dark poetics of "A Thousand Kisses Deep," it was the perfect instrument for the job.

The attentive crowd bathed him in ovations and cheers at the ends of classic lines in famous songs including the vivid and devastating epistolary "Famous Blue Raincoat," the suddenly hopeful sounding "Democracy," and the dark sweep of "First We Take Manhattan." Cohen reciprocated with hat-on-his-heart gratitude.

If there's a quibble to be made, it's that, as tastefully as it was played, the music sometimes felt edgeless and occasionally alarmingly close to smooth jazz. But given the sharp lyrical shards roiling beneath the placid surface, maybe that was a necessity. There was no quibbling, however, with the band, which played with suppleness and telepathy, especially the chameleon-voiced trio of backing vocalists.

Part of the impetus for this tour stemmed from Cohen's recent financial problems, yet never has a performer seemed less like he was doing it for the money. As he told the crowd, "With so much of the world plunged into suffering and chaos, it is a real privilege to gather with you and the music." The feeling was mutual.

Sarah Rodman can be reached at

Boston May 30

Posted: Sun May 31, 2009 7:44 am
by Eskimo
Some pics (edited to smaller size):
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Boston, May 29

Posted: Sun May 31, 2009 7:56 am
by MaryB

Thank you so much for posting all the press reviews! As much as they are appreciated, where are all the reviews by forum members? Sooooooo.......

Chief Bard,

Your review of the concert was extra special to read. Thank you and welcome to the forum. Hope we will hear more from you in the future.

Best regards,

Re: Boston May 30

Posted: Sun May 31, 2009 7:57 am
by Eskimo
A few more (edited again to smaller):
Sn4530.jpg (118.96 KiB) Viewed 13688 times
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Re: Boston May 30

Posted: Sun May 31, 2009 8:17 am
by MaryB

Thank you for the photos. Hmmm, there seem to be quite a few of Sharon ;-) :razz: .

Best regards,

Re: Boston May 30

Posted: Sun May 31, 2009 8:47 am
by Eskimo
MaryB wrote:Thank you for the photos. Hmmm, there seem to be quite a few of Sharon ;-) :razz: .
....must have been my line of sight.... ;-)

Re: CONCERT REPORT: Boston, May 29 and 30

Posted: Sun May 31, 2009 10:17 pm
by Eskimo
More pics from this nonphotographer are found here

In the interview with Jian Ghomeshi, Leonard says "there’s a component you really don’t command in these affairs (concerts).....some sort of grace….some sort of luck some…..sort of spirit that informs the enterprise. It’s hard to put your finger on it and you don’t really want to put your finger on it but there is that mysterious component that makes for a memorable evening"....the "spirit" was there both nights but must have been on steroids for May 30th....and continuing with the baseball analogy ;-) ....from this Bostonian's (and lifelong Red Sox fan's) perspective, the shows this weekend rank up there with the Sox ending an 86 year championship drought in 2004....

I don't seem to be alone in the opinion - a couple of reviews that appear in another thread discussing Boston:
gussiecat wrote:it really WAS awesome....i've seen Leonard before, so i was dubious about whether to splurge for these seats but oh i am SO glad i did!....i must say that while the Beacon NYC show was a once-in-a-lifetime thrill, i actually thought the band and Leonard were better last night. he was really ON, really into the songs, very emotional -- or maybe it was that i could see so much better! anyway, i am feeling very very lucky and grateful this morning.

and i must go get some sharon robinson music -- she is sooooooooo wonderful.
redstudio wrote: I was at the Beacon show and a Boston show. It wasn't that you were sitting close-he really was ON and the whole band was amazingly improvisational. Leonard seemed to be more expressive. I was sitting way back and was totally overwhelmed and uplifted by the passion. I don't know how this series of concerts continues to get better but it does.
Marcus4LC wrote: As for the show, I was just telling someone that I thought Leonard's voice was amazingly full and well tuned. Didn't sound like his original, early recordings, but why should it? And Javier Mas was sitting directly in front of us, and he was fantastic on his 12 stringed instruments. Truly a pleasure...My girlfriend was so happy to hear "Famous Blue Raincoat" towards the end of the show. That is one of her all time favorites. She was a long time fan, before she ever knew me many years ago, and had seen him at several venues in the past. She really felt, and again it could be the proximity, that he was really "there" and in the moment. Obviously, the show has a setlist and many things are planned and rehearsed in advance, but it did not feel canned or forced in any way. It felt genuine and his admiration for the other musicians seemed heartfelt and warm. A very special evening...IMHO