I've been to three Gent concerts on this tour. They were great, even fantastic, but they were open air and it did not fit the mood of the songs, especially during the first half. Also, there were people constantely moving around, chatting and drinking during the whole show. What a contrast Saturday's Olympia show has been! The music hall was absolutely amazing, I had seats on the mezzanine, which were great. I was very close to the stage and I could observe the crowd on the sides and on the ground floor enjoying the show. The mood was so different, the people so respectful. It was a great pleasure, and definitely worth the higher price.
The show itself was fantastic. There were so many highlights for me. The beginning was amazing with a very powerful Dance me to the end of Love. When Leonard touched his heart and sang "Take a last look at this sacred heart, before it blows" during Everybody Knows I had goosebumps all over me. I know that he does this everytime but this time it really got me. In My Secret Life has become one of my favourite songs during the last months, so I was especially happy to hear it live. The way Leonard and Sharon sang it together was beautiful.
The Old Ideas songs were great as always, especially Come Healing which is so touching. I was surprised to hear Different Sides in the encore, it was perfectly placed at the end of the set. One of the best songs on Old Ideas and hearing it between Famous Blue Raincoat (I totally forgot that this song was in the setlist and was SO happy when he played it) and Closing Time made it sound like an old classic, a status the song really deserves.
It also was the first time, that I could appreciate the new live arrangement for Democrarcy. I still think that the version from the last tour (as it can be heard on Live in London) is better, but I was satisfied. I loved how Sharon and the Webb Sisters were stamping with their foots. For me this gesture symbolised the Ship of State sailing to the shores of need, past the reefs of greed, through the squalls of hate...
Night comes on... what a stunningly beautiful performance. It is my favourite song by Leonard and I was a bit disappointed when I heard it in Gent. But yesterday, it profoundly touched me and again I had goosebumps all over me.
The whole encore (starting with Take This Waltz) was unbelievabely good and for me the best performance of the encore segment I ever saw in a Leonard Cohen show. (Paris was my fifth). First We Take Manhattan was so much fun (with that flashing light rushing by in the background). And finally Closing Time, also one of my favourites (well actually, I have many favourites as you may notice
). I knew that is wasn't played on friday so I nearly passed out of joy when he said "I think it's Closing time".
And then he said his blessings, thanked us all and put down the microphone. I knew that the concert was over, we were already over curfew and putting the microphone down was a clear sign for me that the show is over. But no, Leonard comes back and plays I tried to leave you. He truly is a man still working for our smile. And I certainly was satisfied with that performance. Thank you Leonard!
Oh I just forgot to say that the audience's reaction to "j'ai la France entière" and the standing ovation after the Partisan were one of my greatest live experiences. (Although the song sounded a little bit better on the second night in Gent.). And another thing I forgot to tell you: Yesterday's Bird on a Wire was the best version I ever heard of that song.
It was my last concert on this tour and a beautiful conclusion to two months filled with Leonard and his music. Now let's hope, that we can experience this again next year but even if that will not be the case, I can live with it, knowing that I've been to such great shows.