Is it becoming slightly stale?

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zwirnie
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Re: Is it becoming slightly stale?

Postby zwirnie » Fri Jun 21, 2013 2:40 pm

Just want to weigh in my 5 cents here ... I know it is slightly from a different angle, but hear me out nonetheless ....

The same discussion is currently going on over at the Bruce Springsteen forum, which I am an avid member and contributor of. Now Springsteen is someone who changes his setlists very often. Lately, pretty much every other show he does, he is doing full album show, so in the middle of a show the plays a complete album top to bottom (usually the Born to Run or Born in the USA album). This has caused some upset, mostly by people who attended/will attend multiple concerts. There criticism is - you guessed it, the setlists are become slightly stale with about half of the setlist now predictable. Now I attend two concerts earlier this year - one after the after - and within two days I saw 48 different songs played, 18 new songs in the second concert. The first one was an album show, the second one a regular show. In two weeks, I will attend another two shows - and I can't honestly say which one I would prefer: a slightly 'stale' and rather predictable show or a rather off-base, anything goes show - both have there merits and downsides.

I think the same goes with Cohen. Less setlist rotations do mean (in general) a more focused show, usually a tighter and well thought-out playing off the band as well as a chance for the listener to get more comfortable with what is going on. Even the transitions between songs are more fluid ... However, it all turns to the opposite when this reliability on songs becomes a drag for the band and the artist himself, when the fire of a song is gone out. But I think as long as there is something that keeps the band moving, that drives them forward - I would take a show in a second where I pretty much know what song comes next, if I can be sure that the band is enjoying it as much as I would, and it not just another date on the tour schedule with a bunch of songs they have to play. But then again, I will only attend one LC show this year, and the last one was 10 months ago. If I would attend more shows this year, I may have a different approach. I would still leave the concert satisfied and happy though, looking forward to the next one.

What I'm trying to say is - no matter what happens or what the artist does, some fraction of the audience will always be a bit unhappy or at least not completely satisfied. No artist can make everyone happy. The number of different expectations out of the audience is just too big to fulfill every single night ...
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somewhat_nifty
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Re: Is it becoming slightly stale?

Postby somewhat_nifty » Fri Jun 21, 2013 3:11 pm

TommyJ wrote:Strong points, somewhat_nifty. Such a personal thing, but I am amazed that I always seem to find something that moves me at these concerts, even as I too approach my 11th gig tonight (with my 12 year old daughter - it's her 3rd Leonard concert). While that continues, I'll keep on gratefully attending. Maybe I'll run into you there?

TommyJ
Hey TommyJ, I'm in block A3, I'll keep an eye out for you!
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TommyJ
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Re: Is it becoming slightly stale?

Postby TommyJ » Fri Jun 21, 2013 8:56 pm

That sounds great - Enjoy! I'm in Block 101 I'm afraid. A2 in September though.

Absurdly excited!

Tom
London o2 July 2008 and Nov 2008, NYC (Radio City Music Hall) May 2009, Weybridge July 2009, Lille Sept 2010, Las Vegas Dec 2010, Wembley 8 and 9 Sept 2012, Dublin Sept 2012, Paris Sept 2012, London 02 June 2013, Leeds Sept 2013, London o2 Sept 2013 ... and hopefully more to come.
literman
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Re: Is it becoming slightly stale?

Postby literman » Mon Jun 24, 2013 10:01 am

I wouldn't say that
but actually I was looking forward to some new song on the european tour, the same way we got "night comes on" on the 2012 tour and from time to time "I cant forget" or "light as a breeze".
Actually we have no songs that we havent listened yet from 2007 onward, must confes I was hoping for "the guests" and " a singer must die".
Even the "old ideas" tracks are the usual ones from 2012 tour.
I guess European fans are more keen on classic songs than the americans, so I was expecting some little changes on that direction on the setlist, but for the moment we have mostly the same.
If I compare it with 2012 tour, now there is no "gipsy's wife", "night comes on" and not always "sisters" and definetly no "hey thats no way",
on the other hand we can expect "lover, lover".
So there are no new classic songs on the setlists, and the same "old ideas" ones than on 2012.
Maybe its only me but some little surprises would be highly apreciated :)
Athnuachan
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Re: Is it becoming slightly stale?

Postby Athnuachan » Tue Jun 25, 2013 12:12 am

somewhat_nifty wrote: I'm probably in a minority here, but I'm not that fussed about hearing all the new album songs, and if I'm not that fussed, you can guarantee that the casual concert goer really doesn't want to hear that many of them :lol:
Wouldn't be so sure about that, somewhat_nifty. "Come Healing" has become a very popular item of request on RTÉ (Irish radio) shows.
(Who could resist that gorgeous blending of voices?)
"Late Date" in particular has many Cohen fans, some of whom stipulate "something from Leonard's latest album", knowing that otherwise the Presenter will reach again for Suzanne! So there does seem to be an appetite for his new songs out there.

Another popular request is "Alexandra leaving", the original "Various Positions" version sung by Leonard and Sharon . Much as I admire Sharon's lovely solo version of this, there are times when I wish Leonard would join in with her, even just for the final chorus!
Hard to please us all...
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PeGu
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Re: Is it becoming slightly stale?

Postby PeGu » Sun Jun 30, 2013 3:13 pm

I have just been to the concert in Mannheim and can answer the TS's question with a definite NO.

As someone earlier began to point out, the new arrangement of Lover, Lover, Lover alone justifies the concert with travel, entrance fee and fight for a toilet (if you happen to be female). But it's more than that, I think.

First of all, I was absolutely amazed by the sheer quality of the band. Although it appeared not possible at the time, but this line-up really tops the previous one. It might just be the sound of a real violin that does the trick, or something "social" has happened... I do not know and I do not care, what counts for me is the result. The previous two tours had a far more emotional and soft sound, this time, a new precision and accuracy has dusted off many of the old "standards", rendering them like new. In many cases, I had the impression that Leonard was actually enjoying doing things slightly different, speeding up, slowing down, not going down the old paths, but taking the old songs down new lanes. Apart from the rigorously newly set Lover, Lover, Lover, all "classics" in the second set were given a new timing. Most of them much slower than in previous concerts. Strikingly, Famous Blue Raincoat was given a speed-up treatment, rendering it a dance number rather than the ballad we're all used to (more or less).

And Leonard's singing was different this time. He actually sang much more than in the previous concerts I was happy enough to be able to attend. There was not so much speaking the lines and exploring the new depths of a well aged "golden voice", but there was melody and forming of tones. His diction, too, was far more precise than even on previous albums. When he sang I'm Your Man, e.g., the line "or if you want to take me for a ride" really had stresses on the "you" and "me" (check the album versions, there are no stresses, although they make so much sense).
Another novelty was Leonard's attitude to sexual topics and allusions. Even on the previous tour (where he was not so much younger than now), he played with those lines and obviously enjoyed being the "Lady's Man"; this time, however, all these potentially bawdy passages were poetry rather than self-reference. That way, even the Tower of Song got a new drift. Hallelujah, then, really was a religious experience before anything else.

So, I have begun to think of this tour as the beginning of a new era in Leonard's work. After the young and rebellious poet and the latest phase of self-referential Guru (which, in this case is definitely a positive term!), he has now turned to be a mature poet and singer in his own right. Stale? No. Refreshed and polished? Yes. Although I had to miss the Field Commander Cohen Tour, and only know the album, I guess, this 2013 tour is on the same level.

Some have expressed their feeling that this might be his final tour; I feel it is the beginning of a whole new phase. :)
Last edited by PeGu on Sun Jun 30, 2013 10:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Lörrach 2008, Wiesbaden Wiesbaden 2010, Mannheim 2013
holydove
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Re: Is it becoming slightly stale?

Postby holydove » Sun Jun 30, 2013 9:40 pm

PeGu, thank you for your very insightful post - it was a joy to read.

I agree that the violin gives the music a whole new dimension & is a brilliant addition, as it fits so superbly with the texture of Leonard's music/poetry; & I think it's also true that, as you said, there is a "social" factor that plays into it, in that there is now this wonderful interaction going on between Javier, Alex & Mitch - & that has a very positive effect on the music.

Great music is meant to be heard again & again, ad infinitum. . .I once read of a study that I found very interesting. The context was the premise that great composers use familiar forms & then insert surprises within those forms, & the ability to create original surprises & insert them effectively is the mark of a great composer. The effect is like if you are climbing a staircase, where normally there is the same distance between one step & the next, such as perhaps 6 inches between each step, & suddenly there is a step that is 18 inches from the previous one. One might think that once the listener has heard the surprise & knows that it is coming, that it would, therefore, lose its original effect. The study showed that, with music, the opposite is true: the surprises have a deeper & deeper effect with repeated listenings. In the case of Leonard Cohen, not only do the same surprises have a deeper & deeper effect, but in live performance, he unexpectedly changes the surprises! I'd say that this is the mark of a great performing artist & creative genius.

I also think Leonard continuously burrows deeper & deeper into his own songs, & in live performance, he takes us right along with him, perpetually revealing new musical/poetic layers & angles & dimensions; plus, as has been said, because of the profound depth of Leonard's art, even listening to the same recording repeatedly, one can always hear something new or different, at any moment, as we know from our experience with the studio albums, as well as the live recordings.

PeGu wrote: Some have expressed their feeling that this might be his final tour; I feel it is the beginning of a whole new phase. :)
I think the above quote is a very astute assessment! A glorious rebirth manifesting right in front of us, & how fortunate we are that Leonard Cohen continues to take us with him through these incomparable journeys of the heart.
HelenOE
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Re: Is it becoming slightly stale?

Postby HelenOE » Sun Jun 30, 2013 10:35 pm

PeGu wrote: Some have expressed their feeling that this might be his final tour; I feel it is the beginning of a whole new phase. :)
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mutti
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Re: Is it becoming slightly stale?

Postby mutti » Mon Jul 01, 2013 6:09 am

Thank you so much PeGu and Rachel (Holydove) for your comments. Both most interesting and well said. Lots of depth and things to think about. I love it...
Leslie 8)
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2009 Victoria/Seattle/Almost Red Rocks/Las Vegas/San Jose.
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TineDoes
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Re: Is it becoming slightly stale?

Postby TineDoes » Mon Jul 01, 2013 9:45 am

mutti wrote:Thank you so much PeGu and Rachel (Holydove) for your comments. Both most interesting and well said. Lots of depth and things to think about. I love it...
Leslie 8)
I agree whole heartedly with Mutti. Thank you Holydove and PeGu.
Recently I hear a lecturer on classical music say that only through knowing the music you are listening to, i.e. it's structure, and the more you know what is coming the more you are able to anticipate it and, most importantly, let it move straight through to your emotions: the knowing of the music enables you to open up to it. This I find so true when going to the tour concerts. Comparible to concerts of a symphony orchestra, Leonard Cohen and the band are dedicated, and show reverence to the music they play every time. Each time they do a song it is 'new'.
Tineke
"There’s no forsaking what you love ...."

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holydove
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Re: Is it becoming slightly stale?

Postby holydove » Mon Jul 01, 2013 9:37 pm

Thank you for your comments, Leslie & Tineke.
TineDoes wrote: Comparible to concerts of a symphony orchestra, Leonard Cohen and the band. . .
Tineke
I think this is an apt & valid comparison. At Leonard's concert at Radio City (NYC), while waiting for the concert to begin, I got into a conversation with a very nice woman sitting next to me, & at one point, she told me, "I usually only go to classical music concerts", & I responded, truthfully, "Me too! And that's essentially all I listen to - classical music & Leonard Cohen". So, as Tineke said, there must be some comparability there. . .What are the chances that, in a venue of 6000 people, the woman sitting next to me, who I'd never met before, would have the exact same musical propensities as me. It makes me wonder how many others out there are members of this same club. . .
PeGu
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Re: Is it becoming slightly stale?

Postby PeGu » Mon Jul 01, 2013 9:56 pm

holydove wrote: It makes me wonder how many others out there are members of this same club. . .
"Essentially": Make it three, I'm in. :)
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TineDoes
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Re: Is it becoming slightly stale?

Postby TineDoes » Tue Jul 02, 2013 1:24 am

PeGu wrote:
holydove wrote: It makes me wonder how many others out there are members of this same club. . .
"Essentially": Make it three, I'm in. :)
Four, "Essentially".
Last edited by TineDoes on Tue Jul 02, 2013 9:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
"There’s no forsaking what you love ...."

Rotterdam 2008; Antwerpen, Dublin 2009; Gent 2x, Lille , Las Vegas 2x 2010, Gent, Amsterdam, Dublin 2x 2012, Antwerp, Berlin, Rotterdam 2013
holydove
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Re: Is it becoming slightly stale?

Postby holydove » Tue Jul 02, 2013 1:49 am

Thank you for your brave confessions, PeGu & Tineke! (And Tineke, I had a feeling you were likely to be one of us). I find this to be a very interesting discovery & it makes me smile to know there are others who share the same musical "syndrome". And if there are three of us in this thread alone, along with my neighbor at Radio City, well, now I know, even if noone else confesses, that there must be still more of us out there. . .
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Re: Is it becoming slightly stale?

Postby anny » Tue Jul 02, 2013 1:56 am

five

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