CONCERT REPORT: Leeds UK - Saturday 7 September 2013

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clive cass
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Leeds UK - Saturday 7 September 2013

Post by clive cass » Mon Sep 09, 2013 8:04 pm

There is no right or wrong to standing at stage for encores as everyone has different opinions based primarily on whether they wish to continue sitting rather than being forced to stand if they still want to see and if they can see even when standing. I am sorry if I have ever spoilt anyones enjoyment of a concert. I am 6"1" and always look who is behind me and either swap seats with who I am with or lean one way or another to try to help others.

Standing ovations and even standing throughout encores has a long tradition although in Leonard's case the length of encores is unusually long with normally 2 lots of 3 songs and often up to 8 songs.

Not that it justifies what happens at Leonard's concerts it has become normal practice over almost 20 years to stand throughout Bob Dylan concerts and not just for the single song encore he sometimes performs and that is despite every effort by the arena staff to get the audience to sit down. Likewise at football matches away fans often stand throughout the whole match.

What makes it difficult is that the further back you go the more reluctant the majority of people around you are to stand and so it can be an uncomfortable feeling to stand when others are sitting.

Personally I am tall so do not mind standing and I have had some decent seats and been able to get to the stage more often than not but have not been disturbed by people standing at the stage.

I have also been fortunate to not be at any shows where fans were talking or continually going on beer runs although Dublin was borderline.

Personally I object more to people coming and going and especially talking (or shouting to make themselves heard) and singing or warbling along and making complete and utter fools of themselves whilst completely ruining the concert for others.

I do however object to drunken behaviour and there was a bit of that recently in Manchester which almost went too far. I noticed that those involved were younger than the average attendee. I cannot understand getting hammered at a Leonard Cohen concert not that I am a prude and object to having a drink or two and being light headed. Its not exactly a rock concert.
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Leeds UK - Saturday 7 September 2013

Post by cpl593h » Mon Sep 09, 2013 8:39 pm

da2008 wrote:What was that heckler yelling when Leonard was apologizing for moving the concert? That was the low point for me.
Yes, I heard that, but the 'heckler' was actually shouting something along the lines of "We would wait forever for you, Leonard"
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Leeds UK - Saturday 7 September 2013

Post by sturgess66 » Mon Sep 09, 2013 9:09 pm

Video uploaded by "Me I'm up there waiting" -
(camera switches to sideways - and Leonard just keeps on singing)

End of Lover, Lover, Lover / Anthem

Famous Blue Raincoat

Going Home
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Leeds UK - Saturday 7 September 2013

Post by sturgess66 » Mon Sep 09, 2013 10:01 pm ... rect-arena
Live Review: Leonard Cohen @ First Direct Arena


Thousands are in attendance for Leonard Cohen’s debut performance at Leeds’ First Direct Arena. As the band assume their position on stage, Cohen, now 78, runs on and adopts a posture reminiscent of a 1950s rock n’ roller: hunched over, knees bent inwards. His voice is dark and distinctive as he assures the audience: “I don’t know when we’ll meet again – nobody ever does know that – but I promise you tonight, friends, we’ll give you everything we got.”

A delicate guitar solo leads the band into Bird on the Wire as Cohen tenderly kneels, confessing: “it was the shape of our love that twisted me”. Time has distanced neither regret nor sentimentality from Cohen’s passionate delivery of this 1960s country song as he laments, “if I have been untrue, I hope you know it was never to you”. Everybody Knows is a fitting reprise: a less meandering, resilient counter to the themes of regret and sorrow in the previous song.

Cohen’s frustrated energy is fully visible tonight. Thanks to the projector screens either side of the stage, the audience is treated to close-ups of Cohen’s intense, brooding facial expressions contained in his curving, dimmed eyes. “I’ve got the darkness baby, I got it worse than you” he playfully boasts in this song rife with sexual tension.


The band plays three new songs consecutively, all of which draw upon biblical themes: from The Darkness and repentance in Amen, to the absolution in Come Healing. These slower numbers introduce us to the soaring vocal harmonies of the angelic Webb Sisters. Their duet performance of If It Be Your Will is pitch perfect but can’t match Cohen’s touching spoken introduction. His long-time collaborator, Sharon Robinson, delivers a rendition of Alexandra Leaving that comes much closer.

The half-way interval gives time to reflect on the apparent insignificance of Cohen’s age; I’m surprised to see that he looks healthier than when I saw him on his 2008 tour and his voice’s oaky timbre is sharper and more sustained.

As the evening resumes, Cohen’s humble charm draws in the audience as we are confronted with his decades of longing for lovers gone by. Suzanne lulls us whilst a single spotlight showers onto Cohen and his acoustic guitar. Next, he recalls an intimate encounter with Janis Joplin in a 1970s New York hotel – and it is sad. With his eyes closed and frowning, his gentle delivery invokes a sense of longing worthy of the deathbed, “I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel, you were talking so brave and so sweet, giving me head on the unmade bed, while the limousines wait in the street.”

Despite his intensity and nostalgia, Cohen’s performance is free from self-indulgence or abstraction. Matters of love, death, poverty and war are prevalent in songs such as The Future and The Partisan. Yet, his seemingly natural on-stage humour provides enough comic relief in between these heavier subjects. Midway through Tower of Song, Cohen embarks on a limp electric piano solo and – in response to the audience’s sympathetic applause – asks: “Are you mocking me? Is this some sort of…charity for the elderly?”

Having performed for almost three hours and through a double encore, the band launch into their last song: Closing Time. The audience – silently receptive for most of the evening – are quick to show their appreciation, rising to their feet and clapping along to this final, raunchy number.

Leonard Cohen performs at the O2 Arena, London on Sunday 15th September.

Leo Garbutt

Full setlist:

Dance Me to the End of Love
The Future
Bird on the Wire
Everybody Knows
Who by Fire
The Gypsy’s Wife
Come Healing
Lover Lover Lover
Tower of Song
Chelsea Hotel #2
Waiting for the Miracle
The Partisan
In My Secret Life
Alexandra Leaving (performed by Sharon Robinson)
I’m Your Man
A Thousand Kisses Deep
Take this Waltz
So Long, Marianne
Going Home
First We Take Manhattan
Famous Blue Raincoat
If It Be Your Will (performed by the Webb Sisters)
Closing Time

Photo credit (from top): Wikipedia commons, Leo Garbutt
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Leeds UK - Saturday 7 September 2013

Post by Jopagerin » Tue Sep 10, 2013 12:39 am

Absolutely fantastic performance by everyone. Brilliant set. Love the respect and admiration shown by Leonard to his fellow musicians.

Hi Annie. It was lovely to meet you on Saturday night. I do hope we will meet in Montreal- surely he will play in his birth city again. I am always saving for Leonard's concerts- Canada, however, may take a bit longer.

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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Leeds UK - Saturday 7 September 2013

Post by sturgess66 » Tue Sep 10, 2013 2:27 am

sturgess66 wrote:David/cohenadmirer - I'm adding your good video - thanks!

Famous Blue Raincoat
Closing Time (partial) - and Leonard's blessings
More video uploaded by David -

Waiting For The Miracle

The Partisan

Chelsea Hotel

Going Home

In My Secret Life

Come Healing


First We Take Manhattan
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Leeds UK - Saturday 7 September 2013

Post by Zimmy66 » Tue Sep 10, 2013 12:29 pm

I posted my initial thoughts on this thread immediately after the concert, and my plan was to write a full report whilst travelling home on Sunday. This didn’t happen, due to me falling asleep on the train. :oops: So, here goes. Better late than never. I wanted my feelings recorded for posterity, or for at least as long as the web server allows!

The preamble. My travelling day started out at 06.30 with a bus from my hometown to the local train station. Three trains and 7 ½ hours later, I arrived in Leeds. My first time in this Northern England town. After checking into my hotel, I had a couple of hours to recharge my batteries (both my body’s and my phone), prior to the small - but perfectly formed - meetup that had been arranged.

The meetup. At the appointed hour I made my way to the Ship Inn where I found Forum member suerussell (who had expertly managed the whole occasion) actively seeking out fans of LC. Some of us had made it easy for her by wearing t-shirts of the chosen one. (or at least inspired by him) In attendance we had Forum members suerussell (+ sister Paula), stan (+ son Phillip), Stackridge (+Olga), Purple Princess (+ Joanne) and Birminghamfan. As it turned out, a great bunch of people. After exchanging stories, experiences and a couple of drinks we moved on to Whitelocks where more drinks were imbibed, and a meal taken. This all in the comfort of our own function suite - again arranged by sue. (does this woman's energy and organisational skills know no bounds? :D )

The Concert. Much has been written on this thread – and elsewhere - about how great this concert was. I can only echo those sentiments. When I left the 02 in June, I thought I experienced LC and the UHTC performing at their peak, and it would not be surpassed. I was wrong. Tears rolled down my cheeks that night in London, and again on Saturday evening. This concert was quality of the very highest standard. The interactions between LC and all of his assembled troupe was a joy to behold. He was having a ball and it shone through in his (and the band’s) delivery of number after number. Professional consistency personified.
Highlights for me? The Gypsy’s Wife, Chelsea Hotel, Come Healing, In My Secret Life, Partisan, Famous Blue Raincoat. And of course Anthem. I could go on – but you get the drift. Every superlative said of this concert is true. And – addressing a post in another thread – this is not sycophantic drivel. I don’t idolise, covet or otherwise whore myself to LC. I have been going to Leonard’s concerts for over 40 years, and appreciate a master of his craft. And make no mistake, this man is a master. How he continues to consistently deliver at this level is truely beyond me.

Going home. After the concert, a few of us met up again back at Whitelocks. After dissecting the concert highlights, discussing various LC related topics (as well as some ‘off-topic’ subjects ;-) ) over further alcoholic beverages, we called it a day/night/early morning. :? Some of us had been up for over 21 hours at that point, and badly needed our beauty sleep. (ok -that was me. :roll: )

Very special mention at this point to someone for whom this day would not have happened for me. After the debacle of the rearranged Leeds and London concerts, I had to give up my ticket for the 02. I then realised that I could make the Leeds concert, so I asked on the Forum if anyone had a good ticket going spare. Thanks to Forum member Barry (Born With The Gift Of A G); I was sitting in 3rd row centre stage. I made sure I sought that man out, and firmly shook his hand. (twice I think Barry! :D )

Will I see Leonard perform again? I don’t think I will. :( This has surely been his swansong of live performances. But boy do I hope to be proved wrong. As another master of this craft says, “better to burn out, than to fade away”.

So, there we have it. My thoughts. Delivered in a way that those of you who met me will understand. Why use one word, when four will do. ;-)

Hope you’ve enjoyed my ramblings.

All good things to you and yours for many years to come.

Robert 8)
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Leeds UK - Saturday 7 September 2013

Post by crystal » Tue Sep 10, 2013 1:13 pm

Enjoyed your ramblings very much. Thanks for your report. I am in tears.
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Leeds UK - Saturday 7 September 2013

Post by anny » Tue Sep 10, 2013 1:42 pm

Enjoyed every single word !!!!!!!! very touched too ! as if I was there (in spirit)

thank you from the bottom of my heart
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Leeds UK - Saturday 7 September 2013

Post by MaryB » Tue Sep 10, 2013 4:36 pm

What great ramblings Robert! Thank you.
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Leeds UK - Saturday 7 September 2013

Post by deanzy1 » Tue Sep 10, 2013 5:16 pm

great report robert and it pretty much sums my feelings about the concert.thanks
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Leeds UK - Saturday 7 September 2013

Post by Born With The Gift Of A G » Tue Sep 10, 2013 5:36 pm


Thanks for your kind words.

It was genuinely gratifying to be able to help out a true LC devotee (and a lover of good music), especially one who had been dealt such a cruel blow by the rescheduling of the September date at The O2 Arena.

All I merely ask in return is for you to secure me a front row ticket on the next occasion that Tom Waits plays a UK show....
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Leeds UK - Saturday 7 September 2013

Post by bluesaint » Tue Sep 10, 2013 6:20 pm

Can't add any more superlatives to the ones already posted. It was easily the best concert my wife and I have ever seen including previous concerts by Leonard at Edinburgh Castle, Liverpool and Birmingham on previous tours. Well worth the trip down from Scotland. He really does just get better with age and the band, as always, was just superb although we both do miss Dino on his "instruments of wind". As with all all of Leonard's concerts you leave with fantastic memories and hope against hope that you will have the opportunity to see him perform at least one more time in the future.
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Leeds UK - Saturday 7 September 2013

Post by HelenOE » Tue Sep 10, 2013 7:55 pm

Review by Phil Kirby on Culture Vulture

It's a very positive review; the only item on the other side of the scale is that he says Leonard's voice seemed to falter during Suzanne and Chelsea Hotel. So I just watched the video of Chelsea Hotel and frankly I don't hear that at all. There's maybe a line or two that didn't get the full delivery of the original recording, but those were clearly a choice of interpretation in the moment and not due to any vocal weakness. There was a lot of feeling there.
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Leeds UK - Saturday 7 September 2013

Post by suerussell » Wed Sep 11, 2013 12:42 am

Ahhh what a wonderful concert, I feel so blessed to have been there.

There is a lot of talk on reviews of Leonard's appearances that fans have become members of a cult. How so??

I think most music reviewers treat Leonard's concerts as just that, a pop or rock concert, when those of us who have been fans since the beginning of time ;-) feel we are listening to poetry set to music.
Yes the music is important and the musicians and singers that Leonard has gathered around himself are a pleasure to behold and are artists in their own right.
However, the spell that Leonard casts is through his mastery of the spoken and the written word.

I see an audience hanging on to every word he speaks and sings, drinking them in. He speaks of the essence of the human condition, it is so affecting. I think we all do appear drunk when we leave his concerts!

Even his parting farewell when he speaks of most of us going back to homes and families, and then includes the solitary folk among us is said in such a loving and poetic way, it cannot fail to touch the depth of the heart .
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