When Leonard Cohen toured Australia last year my wife informed me we couldn't afford a ticket for me to go. This kind of hurt at first, but there've been plenty of concerts over the years that I've never gotten to, so I accepted it as one of those again. It was only after hearing from others I knew who did
go that the pain grew to more enormous proportions. When the Live in London DVD/CD was released, which became a favourite rather quickly, I had grave fears that the pain and remorse I felt at missing something so magical might be terminal.
My wife asked me to leave earlier this year, and not long after that was the announcement that Leonard would tour again. No F------ Way would I miss it this time! I bought a ticket to the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, and made arrangements with work commitments to allow me to go.
On a cold and rainy night in beautiful Melbourne, I was glad that it was at a roofed venue, and I had a magical and marvellous night, just like I thought I would. I actually recorded the show digitally on my digital audio recorder, and only missed the first segment of the show, as I was operating on batteries and they ran out before I could change them, thus not saving the file on completion. I don't mean to tease, but they haven't been split and divided yet, but I promise to put links up when I get around to it.
Rewinding a bit now, it was some weeks earlier than the Rod Laver Arena show that the announcement of Hanging Rock was made. I ummed and ahhed about buying another ticket for all of about...ummm...2 seconds, and made sure the day the tickets were released I got one. I decided to treat myself and bought a B-Reserve ticket, which on the day I found meant that I was about 60 metres from the stage, and in a great position.
2 days before the concert, variety store Target started a sale leading up to Christmas, and I bought a new digital camera for a great price, and the deal included a 4GB SD card as well! 15x optical zoom got me excited, and I knew it would be a big day coming up at "The Rock".
The day itself was beautiful weather, and I was feeling the heat both outside the gates and once I got inside. I listened intently to the first two supports, but was more seriously awaiting Paul Kelly, one of my favourite artists. When Paul Kelly came on stage many people flocked down to the front of the stage in the centre aisle and created a crowd scene there, all taking photos. I also went down there, got a couple of nice shots, then returned to my seat. While sitting back in my B-Reserve seat I saw the security people moving everyone away from there, probably mainly because of safety concerns, but I thought it was also fair for the A-Reserve seat-holders so they had nobody blocking the view they paid dearly for.
Then it occurred to me: Not all the A-Reserve ticket-holders were there yet!
I could walk back down there, find an empty seat, and click away to my heart's content until the seat-holder arrived, and then just come back to my seat.
The end seat on the centre aisle of row E (that's FIVE rows from the stage!) was empty, so I sat down. Within about 3 or 4 minutes a young fella walked up, looked down at me, and stepped in front of me and sat on the second seat next to me, which was also empty. I asked him was the seat I was sitting in his. He smiled, and said (drumroll for effect), "IT'S OKAY, BECAUSE MY FRIEND IS ILL AND COULDN'T COME.
" After I picked my jaw off the ground I asked him if he minded if I stayed there and he said it was a free seat, so sure.
I started to float with my good fortune. I felt like one of those people who gets upgraded from economy to first class on a plane simply because there has been a free seat! I collected my esky and my bag from my B seat, and joined him back in row E of A-Reserve!
It occurred to me that my new camera took video, and so I took a couple of Paul's songs on video and they seemed to turn out okay, and excitedly looked forward to Leonard coming on.
With all of the other descriptive reports of the concert, I won't go into it, needless to say I seriously felt like I was in heaven. As the sun went down and it got rather freezing, taking photos or filming was not easy, but by the end of the show I'd taken a stack of photos and 7 videos, including one where I kept it going for two songs, much to the consternation and agony of my arms as I held the camera aloft and as still as possible for many more minutes than my arms wanted to.
I promised Caesar (the guy who let me sit there) that I'd send him photos and video from the show in thanks for his generosity. I took his details down in my phone (he's an IT intern working at a hospital in Melbourne) and looked forward to further contact, as he was truly a genuinely excellent bloke. When I got home his details were nowhere to be found in my phone! I'm writing this now because I'm hoping somehow Caesar will read this and get in touch with me, or if anybody knows him, please let him know so that I can fulfill my promise.
My end note is that I didn't know about this community until I got an email from someone who saw the first couple of videos I posted, and messaged me. I had a look at the post sturgess66 put up, and realised that maybe I should upload all of them. I also wanted to join this community, so I thought it best I use my youtube name so there is no confusion. The videos are high-definition, so most are taking between two and three hours to convert and upload to Youtube, so I'll get them done when I have the time. But for now I've just added a third to this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2PdgHTAIbfw
It's Suzanne. I hope you enjoy it.
And please let Caesar know if anybody out there knows him.