CONCERT REPORT: Belfast, July 26

Europe and Israel (July 1 - September 24, 2009). Concert reports, set lists, photos, media coverage, multimedia links, recollections...
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sturgess66
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Belfast, July 26

Postby sturgess66 » Fri Jul 31, 2009 5:42 pm

Tom Sakic wrote:LC looks so completely tired, he's hardly singing Waiting for the Miracle... And all those looks into the distance, not finishing the words...
Tom - I can't deny that he would be tired - all of them for that matter - with this schedule. Also Leonard has just gotten over a cold - with no chance of rest really. He worked sick. There have been places where he has had to save his voice I think - and others have been there to support him. This has been a VERY long tour. A tour like this (or any tour) will have its ebbs and flows - and if there is any time that they might be expected to be feeling a bit weary, it might be about now given the schedule they have been keeping - and professionalism and experience kick in. What is remarkable is that they continue to do amazing shows, night after night. The audience reaction speaks for itself. Blessings to them all. And hopefully they are all tired in a good way. Leonard will be due for good rest when this tour ends.

But regarding Waiting for the Miracle, I thought it was a brilliant performance by Leonard of this poignant and heartwrenching song. Sometimes less is more. Those "looks into the distance" that you mention - agonizingly expressive of "waiting for the miracle." I didn't sense any mental absence. To the contrary - a complete presence. The song itself is a perfect vehicle for expression of being bone-weary, soul-searching tired - years spent waiting for the miracle.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=noQcPIeW6tE
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Belfast, July 26

Postby remote1 » Fri Jul 31, 2009 8:03 pm

Maybe I got it wrong but my impression was during that song that he was checking out who the noisy audience were on the left hand side (his right hand side) and possibly looking a tiny bit pissed off and perhaps half-amused at how drunk they were... I wasn't there, of course, but you can definitely hear noise coming from that side.

I think he sang 'Waiting for the Miracle' amazingly well in Belfast, with some variation from the usual, and possibly more languorously than usual (which fits the song). I found the clip very very moving. It is also one of my favourite LC songs...

Still, I agree that it is a punishing schedule and I can't help but wonder why it is that he is putting himself through this...
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Belfast, July 26

Postby MFL » Fri Jul 31, 2009 9:11 pm

What a night, what a wonderful night. Belfast had been my 3rd concert but by far the best. I loved every moment. My feet are just about back on solid ground. I had 3rd row seats (thank you so much Jarkko) so I was not bothered by people moving around. I didn’t notice that the sound wasn’t great but my partner did, I think I was in a daze. A very content and happy daze.

I was one of the happy few to stay in the same hotel as Leonard and co. I had just arrived at the hotel on Friday and was walking through the lobby with my partner when I realised Leonard was walking towards us. I just stopped and let my mouth fall open. Thankfully my partner followed my gaze and spotted him and had the wit go over and shake his hand say a few nice words, I may have mumbled something and not wanting to be intrusive we walked on. Now I’m not a teenager but I sure did act like one, I got chatting to a fellow forum member who’s first question was Did you get an autograph? Of course I didn’t, I never even thought of asking. (I Know) Well I thought best thing to do was to have a piece of paper and pen with me and maybe I’d get lucky again. No sign all day Saturday when to the show and came back on cloud 9, meet some of the band and Sharon Robinson, they were just sitting around in the bar, all very relaxed it was lovely.
On Sunday morning I was going down to reception and hit the Up button on the lift by mistake, I think some mistake are just meant to be, the lift opened and who was in it all by himself but Leonard himself, I stepped in and found I had a voice after all. I told him the concert was wonderful, loved his work etc. The lift stopped on his floor and this time I had the sense to ask for an autograph. We sat on the seats at the lift as he wrote, I said I believed he had a landmark birthday coming up and wished his an early Happy Birthday he laughed and said, not really, I’m waiting for my 80th so I can take up smoking again. Getting up to leave I said he must be tired after so many shows he said he hadn’t felt better in years and was loving it. Happy and very Content I said goodbye and hit the right button on the lift.

A few pages back someone was thanking a man called John for his ticket, I think I may have meet him at the hotel and well if you believe in karma he was rewarded for his kindness for he also meet Leonard and was over the moon, they had met at breakfast Leonard was in the restaurant for buffet breakfast with everyone else. After he had posed for photos and signed autographs.
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Belfast, July 26

Postby remote1 » Fri Jul 31, 2009 9:19 pm

MFL wrote:Getting up to leave I said he must be tired after so many shows he said he hadn’t felt better in years and was loving it.
Well there you go! 8) :D
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Belfast, July 26

Postby tinderella » Fri Jul 31, 2009 10:11 pm

Marcie wow! You tell your story so calmly, I cannot get over it. I am thrilled you met Leonard.. I did try to find him in Dublin but to no avail. Who knows? Maybe he will stay in the same hotel as me in Barcelona lol.

I am really happy for you and also happy to hear that he is doing ok. I was worried a bit that the tour was getting too long. I hope he gets to take up smoking again when he is 80

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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Belfast, July 26

Postby MFL » Fri Jul 31, 2009 10:40 pm

Calmly... :D It took me until today to sit and write that out. I had wanted to remember as much as I could. You may get lucky in Barcelona who knows, that would be great.
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Belfast, July 26

Postby sturgess66 » Fri Jul 31, 2009 11:47 pm

MFL wrote: ...
We sat on the seats at the lift as he wrote, I said I believed he had a landmark birthday coming up and wished his an early Happy Birthday he laughed and said, not really, I’m waiting for my 80th so I can take up smoking again. Getting up to leave I said he must be tired after so many shows he said he hadn’t felt better in years and was loving it. Happy and very Content I said goodbye and hit the right button on the lift.
...
Thanks for your recap and what a nice "elevator experience" you had!! :lol: :lol:

And thanks so much for passing on what Leonard said to you. I'm laughing here about him waiting to turn 80 so he can take up smoking again. :lol: :lol:

And so glad to hear from him that he hasn't felt better in years and is loving it!! You know - I watch these wonderful videos that people are uploading and I am struck over and over again with how good he looks! To me he looks really, really good - and looks really, really happy! So - I'm glad to hear that confirmed by him. :D :D

This has been a remarkable tour and these shows, night after night, are just wonderful. There is a lot of love up on that stage and you just can't fake the likes of that. :D :D
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Belfast, July 26

Postby tomsakic » Fri Jul 31, 2009 11:57 pm

Our witness from the 8th row says Leonard was smiling & laughing and having great time ::)) Maybe he was just serious during the song... I can hear that his delivery is more quite and slower now than in previous months, but I guess that being on the tour for 15th month isn't an easy job.
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Belfast, July 26

Postby bridger15 » Sat Aug 01, 2009 9:36 am

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/opini ... [quote]Alf McCreary: Why Cohen is a spiritual and secular genius
Saturday, 1 August 2009

The remarkable Leonard Cohen at the Odyssey ArenaWhen the famous Ulster writer CS Lewis finally embraced Christianity, he said that he was “the most reluctant convert” in all of England.

Last Sunday evening I went to the Odyssey Stadium in Belfast to hear the poet, writer and entertainer Leonard Cohen, not as a convert, but certainly ‘reluctant’ to buy all the hype from my journalist colleagues and others that this man is a ‘genius.’

However, I was curious to find out for myself. My wife, who had persuaded me over many years that Van Morrison is not just a grumpy old Ulsterman but one of the world’s greatest song-writers, also has a similarly high opinion of Cohen.

Perhaps, I thought, I might become a Leonard Cohen convert too, but not just yet. The Odyssey was almost packed to capacity with everybody who was somebody, or wanted to be ‘somebody’, and those who merely wanted to tell their children and grandchildren that they had heard Leonard Cohen ‘live’ in Belfast.

Certainly there was no mistaking the atmosphere when the sprightly mid-70’s Cohen moved briskly on stage to a standing ovation — even before he had uttered a sound.

This was pure adulation of the kind which I had not encountered since I watched the late Pope John Paul II ‘play’ the crowd in the huge basilica at Knock during his visit to Ireland. The Pope, of course, was a consummate showman and he swayed gently to the rhythm of the mass audience as they sang (for no reason I could fathom) Viva L’ Espana. This prompted a French journalist at my side to murmur cynically “This man is also ‘Top of Ze Popes’.”

Last Sunday as the huge crowd in the Odyssey listened intently to Leonard Cohen’s songs and poetry, there was almost a kind of fervour apparent.

Unfortunately, Cohen’s delivery was difficult to follow. Like Bob Dylan, he is a superb song-writer but not necessarily the world’s best singer. So I was left to pick up the words as best I could, or try to remember them from his CDs, while the rest of the congregation worshipped at the Cohen altar.

After a while the words did not seem to matter as Leonard Cohen led his audience through a familiar path of song, poetry, philosophy and a little humour — all the time backed by an outstanding group of musicians.

However it was Cohen himself who began to fascinate me. What was the secret of this 70-plus man who could hold a huge audience of sophisticated and wordly-wise people in the palm of his hand for nearly three hours?

Apart from the words and the music, which other people knew better than me, there was a sense of grace and great dignity from a man who had drunk deeply from life’s pleasures and experienced its tribulations, and who was trying to pass on his wisdom in the twilight of his life.

His material was not ‘religious’ in a denominational sense, but it transcended what we have come to accept as ‘religion.’ Cohen is deeply spiritual, and it is a rare entertainer in today’s world who can end a major concert by quoting from the Book of Ruth and also leaving his audience with part of the Old Testament’s beautiful Aaronic Blessing “The Lord Bless you and keep you, The Lord make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you ? and give you Peace.”

As I noted to a journalistic colleague, who also wrestles with these things, “This evening we saw the spiritual and the secular in one” and he replied “Exactly.”

The remarkable Mr Cohen reminded me of a celebrated series of lectures given in the 1950’s to American universities by the theologian Paul Tillich. He told them, even then, that if the Churches lost the art of sharing sublime truths with the ordinary people, this would be taken over by the world of writers, artists and performers. Just like Leonard Cohen.

I am still on the way to being a Cohen ‘convert’, but I am now going to read his poems and play his CDs again and again.

And if I had the opportunity to attend another of his concerts tomorrow night I would go like a shot.
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Belfast, July 26

Postby fisherinbelfast » Sat Aug 01, 2009 3:31 pm

well mfl i texed you on sunday morning to see if you got home ok, it was a wonderful night . leonard and the band were in top form esp dino . i was glad you got his autograph . i hope but i doubt that he will pass this way again. i loved his comment which went something like this " it's great to be in one of the few cities at peace ".i ahve to thank Jarkko and the team for the seats i got , they were perfect.
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Belfast, July 26

Postby fisherinbelfast » Mon Aug 03, 2009 1:24 pm

Leonard Cohen protest was despicable

Monday, 3 August 2009

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I think that the fact that Belfast's Waterfront Hall was the subject of a pro-Palestinian picket against singer Leonard Cohen is despicable.



Belfast flaunts its new image as a ‘City of Peace' in the post-Troubles era, yet it lends itself to divisive political demonstations and caves in to anti-Israel propaganda, whether it be a friendly football match with Israel or a Jewish singer who plans to do a concert in Tel-Aviv.

Leonard Cohen offered to play in Ramallah in the West Bank, yet it was the Palestinian organisers who cancelled those plans, not Leonard Cohen.

The Palestinians may wish to show contempt for the singer's concert, but the Belfast audience received him warmly in the way they are famous for.

Tel-Aviv is very similar to Belfast in that during difficult years of trouble many interna

tional bands did not to perform there.

The people of Belfast can still remember when no-one came to us, save a few exceptions such as Greek singer Nana Mouskouri. For the same reason Leonard Cohen should sing his heart out in Tel-Aviv!


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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Belfast, July 26

Postby Womanfromaroom » Mon Aug 03, 2009 1:49 pm

Tom Sakic wrote:Our witness from the 8th row says Leonard was smiling & laughing and having great time ::)) Maybe he was just serious during the song... I can hear that his delivery is more quite and slower now than in previous months, but I guess that being on the tour for 15th month isn't an easy job.
Yes - but if you compare this version with the great Lisbon video of "Waiting for the Miracle" (also posted by IrishAl), the difference becomes very clear, I find: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BlxKeczP ... re=channel

Oh - and liked your post, fisherinbelfast!
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Belfast, July 26

Postby burningviolin » Mon Aug 03, 2009 5:09 pm

Hi Ann, not sure what point you were making in that last post. Were you saying he was singing it in a similar manner or in a different manner? Comparing the tempi of the songs I believe Belfast is a little slower than Lisbon, but that is only natural. I thought both were suitably intense deliveries of an intense song!
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Belfast, July 26

Postby Womanfromaroom » Mon Aug 03, 2009 9:34 pm

Dear BV,

when Tom said that he found Leonard gave the impression of being immensely tired during the Belfast version (even though it was very intense), it struck me because I had had exactly the same feeling when I had watched the video. Not at all during the Lisbon performance, though... But I may be completely wrong... Just impressions really!
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Belfast, July 26

Postby MaryB » Tue Aug 04, 2009 1:32 am

I also thought the Belfast version was sung an octave lower than usual and perhaps he was trying to save his voice and contributing when he absolutely had to:? ??
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