CONCERT REPORT: London, O2 Arena (July 17) [merged threads]

Canada and Europe (May 11 - August 3, 2008). Concert reports, set lists, photos, media coverage, multimedia links, recollections...
tupelo
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Re: London July 17

Postby tupelo » Fri Jul 18, 2008 11:38 am

As people have said: Leonard Cohen was amazing, the band brilliant. O2 arena, well, I was sitting in block 421, which is on the side, quite high up and the sound, while crystal clear simply wasn't loud enough. And the screen was at an awkward angle to where we were sitting, so you couldn't really see that either. So I felt strangely detached (though luckily had brought binoculars, which helped).

But I still had magic moments. For me the most moving moment was actually when he recited A Thousand Kisses Deep. His speaking voice is so beautiful, and the words were just so strong, it was like I had never really understood the lyrics before. I now want him to read to me every night. The atmosphere was also great, everyone seemed so happy and so it just felt good to be there in that crowd. I loved the fact that there were people of all ages there too.

I'm really looking forward to the Hamburg gig now, as I've got great seats this time round, so it'll be a whole different experience.
Midnight Choir
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Re: London July 17

Postby Midnight Choir » Fri Jul 18, 2008 11:43 am

The girl I was with is from Montenegro, and fortunately for her is only loosely acquainted with this country's politicians. But she told me she spotted a famous politician on the way in. She showed me a blurry picture she took on her phone, which I couldn't make out, and said, "You know, the one with the white hair and the black eyebrows!" :lol:

Wow, Suzanne must bring out the violence in people. Anybody else witness scenes of terrifying aggression during that song!!?? :lol:
2008: O2 London - July 17 | O2 London - November 13 | O2 London - November 14 | RAH London - November 17 | 2009: Antwerp - July 4 | Weybridge - July 11
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bean
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Re: London July 17

Postby bean » Fri Jul 18, 2008 1:17 pm

Great concert. Fantastic performance by Leonard. :D

Did not like the O2 arena, but then again I did not expect to. Much prefer smaller venues.

What happended to Chelsea Hotel and Famous Blue raincoat? Amazed they were not played. :(

Would have liked Avalanche but not surprised it was not played. :neutral:

One crtiticism: I thought Leonard payed tribute to the individual band members far too much. Don't get me wrong - they were fantastic, but to acknwledge them once or twice would have been fine as opposed to every couple of songs.
jesstherese
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Re: London July 17

Postby jesstherese » Fri Jul 18, 2008 1:33 pm

My first time seeing Leonard, and I was humbled. Amazing!

I was seated near the raging lady, had no idea what it was about but there were a few minutes of general disturbance as she shrieked incoherently. Fortunately it didn't last long and didn't detract from the experience.

I hope I get another opportunity to see Mr Cohen. I wish my father (who lives in NZ) could have been there - he's a huge fan and would have absolutely loved it.

I too very much enjoyed the recitation of 'A Thousand Kisses Deep'.

As mentioned above I was surprised by the number of times the band were introduced, but I think that being a humble-seeming man, perhaps Leonard wanted to ensure that everyone shared in the general adoration. I too had been hoping for 'Avalanche', and also 'Waiting for the Miracle'. 'Hallelujah', 'First We Take Manhattan' and 'Closing Time' were all fantastic.
Chris Hatten
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Re: London July 17

Postby Chris Hatten » Fri Jul 18, 2008 1:45 pm

I've been singing for 48 hours and still going strong. Well, in fact I've been singing Leonard since 1966.He played so many great songs and there still remained great songs that he didn't play. Has he played "Alexandra Leaving" on this tour? Notice that Bournemouth and Brighton have been announced. Are we likely to get any more smaller venues?
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Paula
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Re: London July 17

Postby Paula » Fri Jul 18, 2008 1:54 pm

Well went to work in the morning but could not settle, too excited. Took a half day from work and began the pilgrimage. Took me ages to get to the Trafalgar at Greenwich. Typical British weather. Got there to find I was on me Jack.

Then Cas from Poland and Einat from Israel arrived. Clutching our drinks in plastic glasses against the onslaught of British weather we braved sitting outside.

The rest of the motley crew turned up fashionably late. It was really nice to see everyone friends I knew and new friends. Padma had done a brilliant job once again herding people around London (I think in a previous life she was a sheepdog).

We started off towards the O2 to go by River Boat. The Thames looked bleak and filthy. I was really pleased to see Russell and his wife Rachel. I met Russell on Hydra a few years ago and it was lovely to see him again.

Got to the O2 well early. Pottered around for about 30 mins then went into the Arena itself. I was really surprised, although it was big it was not as big as I had imagined.

Met loads of the forum members in the Arena. It gives me a warm feeling to see these people. Waved to Pete and Lizzie Needham who had managed to sit with the riff-raff in the top tiers. More power to them it made me feel sick just looking up there I would have asked for a parachute.

The concert was amazing I went to Ireland and Manchester and the O2 surpassed both. Leonard was smiling and laughing through large parts of it.

He is like a battery and the audience is the charger. He visibly energizes from the audience. I think Kelley Lynch has actually done him a big favour he just comes alive on stage.

The genuine warmth he obviously has for his band members just shines through.

The concert was just classic. It will be ingrained in my memory. The standing ovations and the obvious love from the audience to Leonard.

His voice is still very very strong and I feel blessed that I have been alive at the same time as him and could hear him sing live. Recordings just do not do him justice.

Sharon Robinson has an incredible voice and she just smiles all the way through.

The Webb Sisters what can I say it has taken me a few concerts to really appreciate their singing. Leonard calls them sublime and you can’t argue with that they are like angels singing. It was nice to see Hattie (I think it was Hattie) clapping the audience.

The group as a whole have intermingled and been woven into one.

I am not good on reviews but I am sure everyone who went to the O2 yesterday came out with a warm feeling.

It was lovely to see all my friends again Jarrko, Eija, Marco, Andrea, Wyle and Wybe, Michael, Ken, Padma and Harry, Lizzy and Peter, Russell, Einat too many to mention and I hope wherever you are travelling to and from you have a safe journey. You are all people who I would never have met if it were not for Jarkko’s website and my deep appreciation to Jarkko for this gem.

I forgot to mention Andrew from Austrailia and David from Hitchin both people I had never met before both lovely
Last edited by Paula on Fri Jul 18, 2008 2:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Dublin 14th June, Manchester 20th June, O2 17th July, Matlock Bandstand Aug 28, O2 14th November, Royal Albert Hall 17th and 18th November 2008, MBW 11th July 2009, Liverpool Echo 14th July 2009
Gerry Smith
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Re: London July 17

Postby Gerry Smith » Fri Jul 18, 2008 2:17 pm

(reproduced from http://www.musicforgrown-ups.com)



Leonard Cohen in London: Hallelujah!

Death-bed scene: “Well, Dad, that’s the money sorted out: you seem to have blown most of it on live music. As a matter of interest, what were your top five gigs?”

I think I’d have to include last night’s London leg of the Leonard Cohen tour at the O2 (aka Millennium Dome). The septuagenarian charmer delivered almost three hours of intense beauty, deep joy and not a little glee.

For the assembled 20,000, it was a predictably reverential (if unexpectedly intimate), celebration of a major, rarely seen, talent.

The setlist (below) was remarkable, Zeitgeist-marking signature songs succeeding each other, relentlessly. Cohen’s performance was energetic, engaged, generous. His singing made you suspect that maybe he really does have the gift of a golden voice after all. His spoken renditions, particularly of A Thousand Kisses Deep, were deeply moving.

What a writer! What a performer! What a charismatic, inspirational man.

Band – 6 plus 3 vocalists – were accomplished accomplices. Horn-man Dino Soldo was particularly impressive. Sound quality was the best I’ve heard at an amplified gig. Staging, lighting, vision/mixing on big screens were all benchmark quality.

I’d waited many years to see Leonard, the second best writer/performer of the rock era. It was well worth the wait.


SETLIST (approximate):

1. Dance Me to the End of Love
2. The Future
3. Ain't No Cure for Love
4. Bird on a Wire
5. Everybody Knows
6. In My Secret Life
7. Who by Fire
8. Hey, That's No Way to Say Goodbye
9. Anthem
10. Tower of Song
11. Suzanne
12. The Gypsy's Wife
13. Boogie Street
14. Hallelujah
15. Democracy
16. I'm Your Man
17. Take This Waltz
18. First We Take Manhattan
19. Sisters of Mercy
20. If It Be Your Will
21. A Thousand Kisses Deep
22. So Long, Marianne
23. Closing Time
24. I Tried to Leave You
25. Whither Thou Goest

A perfect 10, then?

Not quite. A churl could point to the slight unevenness of the setlist: it flagged a bit towards the end of the second half. The finales were underwhelming – the welcome Webb Sisters duet was wrongly positioned; Closing Time is dramatically and melodically too weak to close a show.

And there was an ever-present threat that the show might descend into mainstream showbiz hoopla – Leonard’s frequent name-checking of the band palled early; he was far too nice to the assembled hordes – few would have deserved his compliments; and you sensed that the “spontaneous” jokes had been the same at most gigs on the tour.

For most performers, all this would have been a turn-off. For Leonard, I can make an exception.



Gerry Smith
Last edited by Gerry Smith on Fri Jul 18, 2008 3:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
dafyddpj
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Re: London July 17

Postby dafyddpj » Fri Jul 18, 2008 2:20 pm

Couldn't be there, alas. It would have been fantastic to see so many of you. Still, we made it to Amsterdam last Saturday. Fantastic concert, of course. Shame he didn't have the time (Westerpark rules or something) to do that recitation of Thousand Kisses; we'd been looking forward especially to that. Didn't bump into anyone we knew among the 18,000 crowd, although later learned that Henning and a few were there.
Proms season starts tonight in the Albert Hall; wish he was doing a concert there. Perhaps one day ...
Dafydd.
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mnkyface
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Re: London July 17

Postby mnkyface » Fri Jul 18, 2008 5:57 pm

Another glowing review from London:
http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/music/gig ... d=23517674

The top picture there has to be my favorite from this tour. :D
"In this world of shallow, he is the abyss."~ YouTube commenter greg450318
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A.Sukitu
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Re: London July 17

Postby A.Sukitu » Fri Jul 18, 2008 6:25 pm

firstly, to thank Padma (and Harry) for arranging the meet-up before the concert. Wonderful! And lovely to meet new faces - Lizzie, Susan (from Sweden), the woman from Cornwall whose name I can't spell, and Jarkko to whom I never thanked outrageously for all the fabulous Forum work.
now - the concert -
I have followed Leonard for over 30 years and I felt more close to him at the O2 than ever before ... and I certainly did not expect that! To use ManiSav's idea (pg 6 Dublin June 13-15):
"I'll always remember the evening Leonard Cohen sang to me and 18 thousand other people listened in."
highlights? Who By Fire was mindblowing and tears ran down my face ...
Leonard should live forever.
Will he ever stop touring? He looks in such good physical shape - he ran off the stage at the end, and ran back on for an encore.
maybe he will just keep on moving up the track ...

Thank you, Leonard - you are so special and I hope that you realise how much you are loved by so very, very many.
"You let me sing, you lifted me up, you gave my soul a beam to travel on. ... You gave the injury a tongue to heal itself."
Leonard Cohen in Book of Mercy (1984) Ch. 19.
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friscogrl
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Re: London July 17

Postby friscogrl » Fri Jul 18, 2008 6:39 pm

Gerry smith, if leonard is second best who is the best?

friscogrl
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mickey_one
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Re: London July 17

Postby mickey_one » Fri Jul 18, 2008 7:31 pm

friscogrl wrote:Gerry smith, if leonard is second best who is the best?

friscogrl
Gary Glitter?
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Bela
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Re: London July 17

Postby Bela » Fri Jul 18, 2008 7:45 pm

A.Sukitu wrote:firstly, to thank Padma (and Harry) for arranging the meet-up before the concert. Wonderful! And lovely to meet new faces - Lizzie, Susan (from Sweden), the woman from Cornwall whose name I can't spell, and Jarkko to whom I never thanked outrageously for all the fabulous Forum work.
now - the concert -
I have followed Leonard for over 30 years and I felt more close to him at the O2 than ever before ... and I certainly did not expect that! To use ManiSav's idea (pg 6 Dublin June 13-15):
"I'll always remember the evening Leonard Cohen sang to me and 18 thousand other people listened in."
highlights? Who By Fire was mindblowing and tears ran down my face ...
Leonard should live forever.
Will he ever stop touring? He looks in such good physical shape - he ran off the stage at the end, and ran back on for an encore.
maybe he will just keep on moving up the track ...

Thank you, Leonard - you are so special and I hope that you realise how much you are loved by so very, very many.
Ah, there you are, Annie! I'm so glad you had a wonderful time. I did too. How could one not? I will never forget that evening. :-)
London O2 Arena 17 July (with binoculars)
London RAH 17 November (without binoculars)
Steve Wilcox
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Re: London July 17

Postby Steve Wilcox » Fri Jul 18, 2008 7:47 pm

friscogrl wrote:Gerry smith, if leonard is second best who is the best? friscogrl
Oh no, let's not start this again :roll:

But hey -

I just read this review - http://music.guardian.co.uk/pop/liverev ... 26,00.html - which was very favourable except for the comment "But not even the unwelcome tootling of Soldo can detract from the power of the songs themselves. 'Bird on a Wire' survives the unctuous solo . . ". Admittedly I had to look up "unctuous" (excessively ingratiating, attempting to charm or convince somebody in an unpleasantly suave, smug, or smooth way) and "tootling" (to make a repeated tooting sound) ain't really complimentary when used to describe the playing of wind instruments; and "unwelcome", well that word pretty much has only one meaning.

I thought the comment unsubstantiated but I guess it fits with other's use of the words "cheese or cheesy" (which I hate because it makes me think of Cheez Whiz, itself a disgusting concept) to describe lengthy solos by players with a high level of accomplishment. I love long instrumental passages, especially chord progressions like in "Anthem" which the band repeated a number of times as Leonard bid adieu for the intermission. I looked at it this way, if two 1 minute solos turn a 4 minute song into a 6 minute song, and hence, a 2 hour concert into a 3 hour concert, then solo away boys. An extra hour in Leonard's presence is a welcome thing, especially when accompanied by beautiful instrumental music.

Regarding complaints about long solos becoming cheesy, I offer these fictional complaints to make a point -

"Gee, I went to see Return To Forever last night. You know, Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, Al Di Meola, and Lenny White, and all they did all night was play these long drawn out solos! Talk about cheese!"

"Gee, I went to see Led Zeppelin last night. At the end of Stairway To Heaven, Jimmy Page played this long drawn out solo! Talk about cheese!"

"Gee, I went to see Itzhak Perlman last night. He played Pagannini's 24 Caprices - just a bunch of long drawn out solos! Talk about cheese!"
Born With The Gift Of A G
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Re: London July 17

Postby Born With The Gift Of A G » Fri Jul 18, 2008 8:18 pm

Uncut magazine's review of last evening's concert at The O2 Arena:

http://www.uncut.co.uk/blog/index.php?b ... =1#more847
"Little lady.....I AM Kris Kristofferson....."
London: 10 & 11 May 1993; Manchester: 17, 18, 19 & 20 June 2008; Vienna: 25 September 2008; London: 17 November 2008; Paris: 26 November 2008; Manchester: 30 November 2008; Liverpool: 14 July 2009; Paris: 28 September 2012; Manchester: 31 August 2013; Leeds: 7 September 2013.

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