This was my first concert during this tour. Madison Square Garden is not the warmest or most hospitable venue, but that did not matter in the slightest. It was an incredible concert.
My personal highlights were:
Bird on a Wire: a gorgeous, bluesy version, with wonderful guitar by Mitch Watkins: different than Bob Metzger's amazing arrangement: impossible to choose one which is better. Leonard sang this as though he had just discovered it yesterday, as though it was the most urgent and important thing in the world at that moment. That he could allow me to hear this song, a song that I have known for more than 40 years, as a new revelation, was a real gift.
Come Healing: the live performance of this is so very much better than the recordings I've watched from earlier in the tour. It's hard to describe the experience of listening to this last night.
Show Me The Place: Leonard's intensity and care with this song made me see it in a whole new light.
Lover Lover Lover: I was beginning to think I would never hear this live, but it happened! I would pay for my seat over again, even if the entire concert consisted of this one song.
Hallelujah: Hearing Leonard play this in the same space that Adam Sandler butchered it (I know it was meant to be funny... I wasn't offended, just didn't find it very amusing) less than a week earlier: it was as though Sandler's satire, or anyone else's version for that matter, never existed.
Famous Blue Raincoat: a sublime, extraordinary performance.
Sharon's performance of Alexandra Leaving: if possible, her voice seems to have become warmer and even more centered.
Well, yes, there were an awful lot of highlights, and I'm beginning to list everything, as I think about the concert song by song.
The band sounded very tight and very effortless: at this point they seem to play together so naturally. I loved the addition of Alex's violin.
And Leonard's voice seemed even stronger and more beautiful; his range of emotional expression seemed to have been extended even from what it was.
From the accounts I've read, there was less talking than in some other (smaller?) venues. Mostly just hours of gorgeous music.
The audience seemed a little more subdued than the last concert I attended at MSG, where there had been an ovation for I'm Your Man which went on like thunderous waves for nearly 5 minutes.
Unfortunately I had a young woman behind me who behaved fine in the beginning, but became noticeably uninhibited as the concert went on: she had a piercingly loud voice, which she used often, and she yelled even during Thousand Kisses Deep. Only my determination not to allow anything to affect my enjoyment of the concert carried me through, and I didn't even look around at her, although the poor woman next to me had her fingers in her ears at times. Other than her, the audience was respectful.
My sincere thanks to all involved in the performance last night.
Can't wait for tomorrow evening in Brooklyn!