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Posted: Mon Apr 02, 2007 11:57 am
by Mirek
"I came so far for beauty" - Warsaw Concert - my unofficial report

Saturday, March, 31st 3 pm

OK, we have arrived! Hooray, we can park our car just in front of the radio station
Trojka - that was unexpected. Still one hour before we were supposed to meet the rest
of lucky people.
At about 4 pm we have almost a dozen of fellow Cohenites gathered. We have decided
to take a short walk to a nearby park, waiting for the rest of the group to join us.
The concert was scheduled for 8 pm, so by 7 pm we were at the entrance.

"Expect the unexpected"

- May I have your names, please? - asked the woman at the door.
We smiled and told her our names... and... yes, right, we've heard:
- Sorry, your names are NOT on the list.
Wonderful, don't you think? So many days of anticipation, planning, dreaming
and - "you're not on the list".
In the meantime a couple of people holding their invitations were allowed
to enter. The clock was ticking... and we were stil standing there...

"Waiting for the miracle to come"

And - it did happen. Our guardian angel (official Earth name: Jarkko)
appeared from the other side of this tight border. After a brief discussion with
the woman at the door someone has brought another list of musicians, technical staff etc.
Of course - we weren't on that list, too. That was a bit fortunate, I cannot imagine
anyone listening to me playing the bass. The situation was getting worse, but...
as I mentioned earlier - we had our guardian angel. In a blink of an eye he reappeared
holding invitations for us... Probably even Andrew (Darby) could've heard our sigh
of relief, as We were allowed to enter the studio.

"All at once the torches flare
The inner door flies open
One by one they enter there
In every style of passion"

The Agnieszka Osiecka Concert Studio is not a big place - there are around 150 seats
there only. First 4 rows was reserved for the radio guys and other Sony VIPs.
We were so lucky to have quite nice seats in 6th row.

The concert starts exactly at 8.05 pm - just after the news - it is a live broadcast
hosted by Marek "The Bear" Niedzwiecki. In a few words he introduces both Leonard
and Anjani and then invites The Man on the stage. It is such a pleasure to see
Leonard live after 22 years (LC has given a series of concerts in Poland during his 1985
tour). At first, he tells us some remarks about his first visit in Poland, and then we
are quite surprised by him reading a part of a poem by Polish Nobel Prize winner,
Czeslaw Milosz, ending with:

"There is so much death, and that is why affection
for pigtails, bright-colored skirts in the wind,
for paper boats no more durable than we are..."

Really cohenesque verses, don't you think?

Then Leonard introduces the musicians - Lou Pomanti (keyboard), Rob Piltch (guitar),
Scott Alexander "The Great" and, our lovely, incomparable Anjani!
And there she comes... beautiful and charming as usual - in fact she has not changed
much over those 22 years. The band starts to play and we're immediatelly immersed in music.
Her voice sounds fresh, although (as we know from Jarkko) she suffers from cold.
The response of the audience is vivid, ovation after every song. And then comes
magical song #6 - Anjani invites Leonard back on the stage to perform "Never Got
to Love You".

"I never got to love you
like I heard it can be done
when the differences are many
but the heart is always one"

Their voices are in tune, I'd even say - in perfect tune. The deep voice
of Leonard responsing to clear, delicate timbre of Anjani. I wish they were singing
The applause reached its peak after this song - it was worth waiting for such
a pleasure. Encore... Will they sing another song for us? We hope they will...

YES! Oh, yes - I knew they would! "Whither Thou Goest"... another duet.
When you look at them singing - face to face - you immediately notice that
this pair is in love. You also notice that this love is fresh as a morning breeze.
They say that using their voices, but also with every gesture on the stage.
This is a very intense feeling, and so intimate that everyone can almost
sense this in a physical way. Marvellous...

Time goes fast... it's already 9 pm, so the concert comes to an end. Applause
of the crowd results in a nice surprise - Anjani appears on the stage, this time
all by herself - performing a very delicate version of "Nightingale". Perfect,
absolutely perfect. But... that's it... she's leaving. Now the stage seems to be
so empty.
The organizers invite us downstairs for some drinks and buffet. Now we can share
our first opinions and views. We are really overwhelmed by the evening.

We were so lucky having the opportunity to see Anjani and Leonard
on the stage. What's more, we were able to see them performing
two wonderful duets. Although the tables were full of some sort
of food, I wasn't hungry. I was full of emotions... no need to
fill the stomach.
Still I had at least one more thing to do. Knowing about the concert
we have prepared a small gift for our wonderful couple. This was in fact
my daughter's idea - and her own design, too. Anyway, we have ordered
two coffee mugs decorated with pictures - one for Anjani and the other
one for Leonard, each of them with personal dedication:
"For Anjani from Polish Beautiful Losers", and "For Leonard from Polish
Beautiful Losers".
Now we're in the middle of the crowd - myself with those mugs in boxes,
waiting again for the miracle to come. And of course again our guardian
angel Jarkko appears.
- Jarkko, do you think we'll be able to meet them tonight?
- Well, I don't know, but I'll see what can be done - was the reply.
The angel disappears, but only for a short time. When I saw him coming
back I immediately noticed Anjani following him.
At that very moment I shivered, and the level of 4-(1-hydroxy-
2-(methylamino)ethyl)benzene-1,2-diol, commonly known as adrenaline
has risen in my bloodstream in microseconds.
Jarkko approaches me with quite a wicked smile on his face and I
hear just a brief remark: Mirek, now it's your turn.

To my surprise almost nobody notices her entering the hall.
Now I am here, standing just in front of that wonderful woman,
OK, I admit, my legs are shaking a bit. Although I have seen some
women before, I've even talked to some (really!!), this time I was
feeling just like a teenager before his very first date.

I must tell you that I don't remember exactly our whole conversation.
At first I had introduced myself and then told her that we have had
prepared just a small gift for two wonderful persons.
She smiled and I could see that it was a real surprise for her.
I handed her two white boxes.
- May I see what's inside? - she asked me.
- That will be a pleasure for me, Madam - I answered.
She opened Leonard's box first and smiled again.
- That's really lovely. How nice of you. Leonard would love this.
Then she opened her box and thanked me again.
I was really overwhelmed by her charm and attitude towards me.
I then mentioned that my daughter was the designer of those mugs, and
Anjani complimented her. I kindly asked her to sign our invitations,
which she did. Then I had the last question:
- Do you think it's possible that Leonard could join us here, too?
- Don't know - was her reply. - I'll go and see how he feels.
- Thank you, thanks very much. It was so nice to meet you in person. - I said.

I didn't even notice the photographers taking pictures of us. Thank G-d
my daughter was near me and took two pictures, too.
At that time more people gathered around us. I thought it would be a good
idea to let others meet Anjani, too. I already was a bit too greedy.
A few minutes later she left the hall (well, that was after some gentle
suggestions from her staff).
But we were still waiting. You know.. just in case... :)

Just some minutes later Jarkko appears again, asking our Polish
Webmasters' Group to follow him upstairs! Oh, yes... we know where he leads us.
Upstairs there is a small room and a queue. We stood in line, as directed
by some woman from the crew. My daughter says quietly to me:
hey, Dad, please... tell them to let us in together.
One by one people are entering the room and leaving after a minute or two.
Now it's our turn. We have asked for permission to enter together.
Permission granted. We enter the room.
Small square table, a few chairs, doesn't matter. THEY are there.
Leonard sitting at the table, Anjani to the left. She smiles to us
and tells Leonard that we are those people that brought the mugs for
Leonard stands up and shakes hand with me, then with my daughter.
Now comes something absolutely unexpected - he thanks us for coming,
for listening, for being there...

For years I was wondering what would I tell him, provided I'd be able
to meet him in person. "You're great"? "Your poetry is fantastic"? Nah...
The only thing I could tell him at that moment was something like this:
- Thank you for your words, your music. Thank you for being a part of
my life for over 30. years now. Thank you for everything.
- Over 30. years? - He looks deeply in my eyes. - Impressive. - His smile is so gentle and delicate.
We sit for a while, he signs books we have brought.

"Mirek, warm regards, Leonard Cohen, Warsaw 2007"
"Anna, with love, Leonard Cohen, Warsaw 2007".

We ask whether they let us have a photo taken with both of them. They
agree. Someone from the staff takes our camera and takes the picture.
Once again we thank them for their kindness. Leonard bows in our direction
and this is another unexpected gesture of this kind man.
Smiling, we leave the room, making place for next fans.
We go downstairs to share our emotions with the rest of our group.

And like a blessing come from heaven
for something like a second
I was healed and my heart
was at ease.

Just to sum up my emotions after that extraordinary meeting.
Now I know why Leonard loves hummingbirds - Anjani seems to be as
delicate and beautiful as a hummingbird.
As for Leonard himself - when you approach him, you seem to be under
the influence of something unreal. What has striken me the most - he is really
listening to you, and you are really important to him. He looks straight
in your eyes and this look is very warm, gentle, wise.

Please, forgive me for this looong report. I just needed to share
my emotions with fellow Cohenites. Let me just add a few lines...
history in three dates:

1973 - "Like a bird on a wire" - the very first Cohen song
that I've heard on the radio. I was caught immediately.

1982 - martial law in Poland - I was in the army (compulsory one year after
graduating university). In some sullen barrack I am sitting by some broken
table - translating "Sisters of Mercy". Believe me, Leonard's poetry really
helped me to remain normal surrounded by an abnormal world full of hate.

2007 - March, 31st - dreams are fulfilled - meeting with Leonard Cohen.

Finally, I would like to thank Anjani and Leonard for everything, for their
presence, words, music, invitation to the concert, for the autographs and
the picture.

Let me also express my deepest gratitude to Jarkko, our Guardian Angel.
Thank you for your help - with everything. My dreams wouldn't be fulfilled
without your kind help. Thank you, my Friend!

Mirek (with some cooperation of his daughter, Anna)

Posted: Mon Apr 02, 2007 4:41 pm
by jarkko

This picture comes from the Monday issue of Rzeczpospolita. The photo is credited to Piotr Fotek.

At ... px?id=4686 you will able to hear the interview with Leonard and Anjani (Radio Trojka) and see several photos
like this one (credited to Radio Trojka/D. Kawka):


Let's begin with some facts. More will follow shortly. Now I only can say: what a wonderful experience!!!

Here is the set list:

Introduction by Marek Niedzwiedzki
Leonard Cohen's opening words
1. Blue Alert
2. The Golden Gate
3. Half the Perfect World
4. Innermost Door
5. No One After You
6. Never Got to Love You
7. Thanks for the Dance
8. Whither Thou Goest
9. Nightingale

Songs 6 & 9 were duets by Leonard and Anjani

Anjani Thomas - vocals, piano
Lou Pomanti - keyboard
Rob Piltch - guitar
Scott Alexander - bass

Posted: Mon Apr 02, 2007 5:11 pm
by Dem
Listen Leonard and Anjani singing “Whither Thou Goest”:


Posted: Mon Apr 02, 2007 7:51 pm
by jarkko
A great selection of "official" Warsaw photos can be found here: ... S=30813230

Posted: Mon Apr 02, 2007 10:52 pm
by jarkko
I'm going to post the Warsaw report later this week when all the material has materialized. Meanwhile, here we have a taste of what you may expect:

Webmasters of Polish LC sites on their way to Radio Trojka:
Pawel Gorny, Mirek Dworniczak, Andrzej Pfeiffer, Sebastian Korta
Below; the memorable moment of Justyna Galant

(Photos from Pawel and Justyna)

Posted: Tue Apr 03, 2007 12:00 am
by lizzytysh
Beautiful photo, Leonard and Justyna... absolutely beautiful. Justyna ~ is GLOWING spelled G-L-O-W-I-N-G or G-A-L-A-N-T? To say I'm happy for you doesn't even come close :D !! Light years away... in fact 8) .

Love all these photos... you four men walking in the park... Leonard and Anjani looking good, VERY GOOD!!

It looks like you may have finally corraled all these cats, Jarkko :wink: .


Posted: Tue Apr 03, 2007 12:19 am
by jarkko
Note that Mirek added the 2nd part of his report to the first post in this thread!

Sebastian sent this photo (more will be on the report later):


...and that's how Ignacy got the inscription to the book:


Posted: Tue Apr 03, 2007 12:22 am
by lizzytysh
OH! How beautiful... :D this explicitly shows the graciousness and goodwill of Leonard when he's feeling well. Such a GIFT 8) !!

~ Lizzy

Posted: Tue Apr 03, 2007 12:31 am
by lizzytysh
The only thing I could tell him at that moment was something like this:
- Thank you for your words, your music. Thank you for being a part of
my life for over 30. years now. Thank you for everything.

Mirek ~ What you said in those moments were the perfect things for you to say. They were honest. They were real.

Your timeline is a very touching one. The Poland concert was very meaningful for Leonard. He understands what he means to all of you there.

Thank you for your beautiful, honestly emotional report, Mirek. These are the moments that make our lives.


Posted: Tue Apr 03, 2007 9:09 am
by jarkko

And here we've got Mirek and Anna!

Below: Anjani on stage. Photo by Vlad, photo processing by Wojtek.


Our report with a lot of photos will be on The Files during the Easter weekend.

Posted: Tue Apr 03, 2007 12:54 pm
by Diane
I just saw this thread. I am enjoying reading all these emotional reports and seeing the great pics. God I'm envious that so many of you have got to meet the man. I'll keep reading and checking out the links.



Posted: Tue Apr 03, 2007 2:37 pm
by lizzytysh
Anjani on stage. Photo by Vlad, photo processing by Wojtek.
Superb job, you two 8) .

An angel sings of heaven.

~ Lizzy


Posted: Tue Apr 03, 2007 3:29 pm
by Andrew (Darby)
Mirek wrote: Probably even Andrew (Darby) could've heard our sigh
of relief, as We were allowed to enter the studio.
Hi Mirek! :) Yes, I did hear it indeed (and I yelled out "go for it guys, I knew it would happen")! :wink: I loved your report, which was as engrossing as an exciting novella! 8)

Like Diane, I am so envious of you all - but patience and dertermination may pay off for me one day (hopefully in the not too distant future)! :P If it doesn't, then that's the way the universe meant it to be! :?

Anyway, I'm sure you will all treasure and share these lovely memories. Plus, I know Leonard would do the same for each one of us who support him and love him in one way or another, so that helps us cope, I suspect! 8)

Lovely photos! :D Ignacy has to become a Cohen fan: surely it is ordained so! :wink:

Cheers :)
Andrew (Darby)

Posted: Tue Apr 03, 2007 3:39 pm
by Paula
What a memory for you all. The photos and commentaries are something special.

Posted: Tue Apr 03, 2007 5:06 pm
by Joe Way
Thank you to all for the wonderful reports and pictures! What a great experience and so enjoyable to share in this fashion. The links are excellent!