CONCERT REPORT: NYC Madison Square Garden, October 23

October 17 - November 13, 2009. Concert reports, set lists, photos, media coverage, multimedia links, recollections...
kirkesque
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Location: Wilmington, NC

Re: CONCERT REPORT: NYC Madison Square Garden, October 23

Postby kirkesque » Wed Oct 28, 2009 6:33 am

I feel sorry for the future tully's expectations should he ever get to see Neil Young. I've had the pleasure of seeing Young fur times (twice with Crazy Horse, twice solo acoustic) and songs that showed up in different shows were performed in vastly different manners each time. To me, if you want to hear the song the way it's played on an album, there's an easy method of doing that. Songs performed live can (and perhaps should) take on a different tone, phrasing, and atmosphere.

Having heard Cohen Live in London from last summer, I can say I've never imagined that "If It Be Your Will" could sound as sacred as it does with the Webb Sisters singing it. And that's just the easiest one for me to point out at this time (being a week from seeing LC for myself).

But that's the thing with expectation—it's the leading cause of disappointment.


~kírk
Merganser
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: NYC Madison Square Garden, October 23

Postby Merganser » Wed Oct 28, 2009 6:54 am

I bet everyone who ever went to see old Elvis but somehow expected that magic would turn him into young Elvis again was disappointed, too.

I can understand a yearning to see young Leonard in concert, but he's gone - he's old Leonard now, and that's the way it works. It might be good, it might be bad, depending on one's point of view - but one thing that's surely dependable that years shall age and a man shall change. The only way to stay young forever is to die young, and as we all know, Leonard Cohen didn't do that. Maybe a young death would have brought him the glory of Achilles, but I suspect he's just as happy to be old, even if he took the risk that he might diminish.
FanForLife
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Location: Cork, Ireland

Re: CONCERT REPORT: NYC Madison Square Garden, October 23

Postby FanForLife » Wed Oct 28, 2009 7:00 am

Another dissenting voice - I am actually beginning to wonder whether I was at the same concert !

Of the LC concerts I have been to, this was the only one that disappointed in any way.

And before anybody says anything, I am not criticising Cohen or his band, I am criticising the most ignorant, inattentive, unappreciative audience I have ever had the misfortune to be part of:
  • audience members still wandering towards their seats 4 songs into the set (this is a combination of people not bothering to be in the venue in good time, and truly woeful venue management)
  • audience members wandering in and out buying beer and other face stuffing crap mid-song
  • concessionaires wandering around the arena with large cases of popcorn on their heads and crates of beer on their backs for most of the first part of the show
  • numerous groups of people talking, laughing and joking through the songs
  • people getting up to leave even before the first goodbye, and then wandering back to their seats, and then leaving again mid way through the next song
Cohen was magnificent, his voice strong, his performance polished and balanced. Frankly he and his little troupe gave it everything. This is definitely the most together set I have seen. But it was wasted on an audience that was incapable of appreciating a masterful performance. The only time the crowd came close to showing anything like a fair appreciation was at the end of the stunning rendition of I'm Your Man. But excellent performances of other songs got nothing more than polite applause - if the Partisan had been delivered like this in Europe, he would never have been allowed to leave.

Perhaps, as one colleague suggested, New Yorkers feel the need to display to others that they are nonchalantly "way cool" and "beyond being impressed". In any other major city people would have STFU, focussed on the stage and absorbed and relished the entire stunning display. Or had the courtesy to others to get up and leave quietly during the interval, taking their disinterest with them.

I enjoyed the night. I was in good company and it was memorable to see Cohen perform in an iconic venue. But what a waste. Never mind the response this performance would have received in Lisbon or Barcelona or London or Dublin, even places of dubious distinction (like Weybridge and Tampa) produced audiences with far greater enthusiasm, engagement, attentiveness and appreciation.

And before I finish, the venue is a fire-trap - I would hate to be in that place if there was an evacuation - especially the crap merchants and their "concession carts" blocking the main circulation arteries and creating very very very dangerous bottlenecks.

All I can do now is to raid the bank, cross the pond again and go to yet another concert in the hope it will obliterate the bad parts of this experience - -silver lining or what ;-)
2008 - dublin (kilmainham - the best, ever)
2009 - dublin (The Point) and tampa and NY(MSG) and san jose
2010 - sligo (second best) and oakland and portland and las vegas
2011 - lenny and me were resting, so we were
2012 - dublin (kilmainham again) and austin
2013 - dublin (The Point, 2 times)
2014 & 2015-enjoying the memories and saving the pennies; just in case; just in case..............
Merganser
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Location: Burlington, Vermont

Re: CONCERT REPORT: NYC Madison Square Garden, October 23

Postby Merganser » Wed Oct 28, 2009 7:15 am

FanForLife wrote:if the Partisan had been delivered like this in Europe, he would never have been allowed to leave.
You know, I'd meant to mention that - I thought that was the best version of The Partisan I've seen or heard. Sure, I haven't been to every concert or anything, but I've seen him do it 4 times now, I think, and while the version in Ottawa was also really excellent, I was really very impressed with the rendition at MSG. It's one of my favorite of his songs, even if he didn't write it, haha.
FanForLife
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Location: Cork, Ireland

Re: CONCERT REPORT: NYC Madison Square Garden, October 23

Postby FanForLife » Wed Oct 28, 2009 7:32 am

Merganser wrote:
FanForLife wrote:if the Partisan had been delivered like this in Europe, he would never have been allowed to leave.
You know, I'd meant to mention that - I thought that was the best version of The Partisan I've seen or heard. Sure, I haven't been to every concert or anything, but I've seen him do it 4 times now, I think, and while the version in Ottawa was also really excellent, I was really very impressed with the rendition at MSG. It's one of my favorite of his songs, even if he didn't write it, haha.

He played a version in one of the 2009 Dublin concerts (unfortunatly not the one that is available online) that had a different tempo, and slightly different arrangement. I was on the edge of my seat throughout. But the MSG version had something very special going for it.

Here are a few that you may enjoy - the Lisbon and Belgrade ones are particularly good and the crowd in Belgrade are really into it. The sound quality on the Dublin one is exceptional (as with all of albertnoonan's clips)

Lisbon - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4HWQY4fLpts
Belgrade - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIdxc36q5Nw
Dublin - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBL10HcHlPI
Paris - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpMvS_1EQLU

Wiesen - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=seXMLRpDXYk
Hamburg 2008 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAD_pellYWQ

and just for you

MSG - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ARjZku93aYw

Enjoy !

Edit 01.11.2009 - added links to Wiesen and Hamburg
Last edited by FanForLife on Mon Nov 02, 2009 2:20 am, edited 2 times in total.
2008 - dublin (kilmainham - the best, ever)
2009 - dublin (The Point) and tampa and NY(MSG) and san jose
2010 - sligo (second best) and oakland and portland and las vegas
2011 - lenny and me were resting, so we were
2012 - dublin (kilmainham again) and austin
2013 - dublin (The Point, 2 times)
2014 & 2015-enjoying the memories and saving the pennies; just in case; just in case..............
HarryMann
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Joined: Fri Mar 13, 2009 1:22 am
Location: UK

Re: CONCERT REPORT: NYC Madison Square Garden, October 23

Postby HarryMann » Wed Oct 28, 2009 10:08 pm

And before anybody says anything, I am not criticising Cohen or his band, I am criticising the most ignorant, inattentive, unappreciative audience I have ever had the misfortune to be part of:

* audience members still wandering towards their seats 4 songs into the set (this is a combination of people not bothering to be in the venue in good time, and truly woeful venue management)
* audience members wandering in and out buying beer and other face stuffing crap mid-song
* concessionaires wandering around the arena with large cases of popcorn on their heads and crates of beer on their backs for most of the first part of the show
* numerous groups of people talking, laughing and joking through the songs
* people getting up to leave even before the first goodbye, and then wandering back to their seats, and then leaving again mid way through the next song
The only one of those we weren't 'blessed' with at the 02, was item 3)
* concessionaires wandering around the arena with large cases of popcorn on their heads and crates of beer on their backs for most of the first part of the show

The rest, I commented on in the appropriate London thread.

One does wonder, doesn't one... :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll:
smellslikefritos
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Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2009 6:33 pm

Re: CONCERT REPORT: NYC Madison Square Garden, October 23

Postby smellslikefritos » Thu Oct 29, 2009 12:31 am

goldstei wrote:If you want to see an artist trash his songs, go to a Dylan concert, which is in a totally different universe/dimension altogether--you literally cannot recognize his songs until, often, the final line, then (and I mean classics, i.e. "Blowin in the wind" and "Like a Rolling Stone."
This may not be an appropriate venue to do so, but I feel as if it's my duty to defend Dylan in concert whenever the opportunity arises.

Back when I was in high school and was getting more and more into music, I first made my way through classic rock - it's what I was able to get from my dad. So whenever I went to a concert, it was almost always a classic rock concert. After seeing Elton John with my mom in 11th grade (I was the coolest kid ever), and he started off with some of his crappy new songs, I realized that these artists, known for their 60s and 70s music, still did in fact make music. So then whenever I would go to a classic rock concert (McCartney, The Who, etc) I would make it a point to purchase their newest album (in the former's case, Chaos and Creation, which is very good; in the latter's, Endless Wire, which is not so good). The Who even had the audacity to end one of the best concerts I've been to with a slow, acoustic, crappy song from Endless Wire. This proved to me that by not at least trying to access an artist's full catalogue, I have absolutely no right to be disappointed by the song choices in the concert.

Which leads me to Dylan. The first time I saw him was in November, 2006. I had his newest at the time (Modern Times) but was missing some of his more crucial albums. While I may have been unfamiliar to some of the better songs he played at the show (Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues, for instance), I could appreciate what he did. Because I knew what he sounded like at the time, I didn't complain about what he sounded like in concert. The biggest detriment were the acoustics at the Spectrum in Philly, not Dylan's voice.

Next month I'll be seeing Dylan for the seventh time in concert. No matter what he sings, whether it's something I'm familiar with or not (even though it's starting to get hard for him to pull one out from under me!), I'll be able to understand it. I don't do him a disservice by stopping my record collection of his at 1975 and expecting him to sound like 1975. With Leonard Cohen, we're lucky. Even though his golden voice has changed, it's always been clear and calm, and he has embraced it, much like Dylan has. I think we should be grateful that they don't try to keep their voices the same like Roger Daltrey or someone else of that ilk. If you don't like Dylan's voice now, that's acceptable, but there's no way you can fault him on it, nor can you expect anything different when you go to see a Dylan show.
MaryB
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: NYC Madison Square Garden, October 23

Postby MaryB » Thu Oct 29, 2009 7:26 am

FanForLife and Merganser,

This was exactly my feeling at the Columbus concert. Saving my viewing and post as last thing to do after reading all the other threads. The audience nonreaction does make me want to shake them!

Kindest regards,
Mary
1993 Detroit 2008 Kitchener June 2-Hamilton June 3 & 4-Vienna Sept 24 & 25-London RAH Nov 17 2009 NYC Feb 19-Grand Prairie Apr 3-Phoenix Apr 5-Columbia May 11-Red Rocks Jun 4-Barcelona Sept 21-Columbus Oct 27-Las Vegas Nov 12-San Jose Nov 13 2010 Sligo Jul 31 & Aug 1-LV Dec 10 & 11 2012 Paris Sept 30-London Dec 11-Boston Dec 16 2013 Louisville Mar 30-Amsterdam Sept 20
goldstei
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: NYC Madison Square Garden, October 23

Postby goldstei » Thu Oct 29, 2009 9:55 pm

everyone, of course, has their own unique experience, one that's valid for them.

i'm a michigander currently in the kans/mo area. a friend of mine in lawrence, kansas also has really liked recent dylan concerts. but most people i've talked to have been as totally turned off as i was.

as mentioned in an earlier, post, my msg/nyc experience was that, except for the concessionaires and their totally insensitive behavior, the crowd was amazingly receptive and respectful, even too much so--not enuf singing along for me, but it reflected intense concentration and appreciation, not any kind of disinterest. i witnessed very little talking, texting or other inappropriate audience behavior during the concert, quite amazing given that we're talking about 20,000 folks in a big arena. at my last springsteen concert at the meadowlands, people were texting, CONSTANTLY getting up and walking in front of me to get another beer (literally 40 times during two hours), going to the other extreme of singing everything so that it was like an early beatles concert where you couldn't hear bruce singing, etc.

"Give me Leonard,
and his songs,
it will cancel
many wrongs,
i have seen the future
and its...
looking better!
da2008
Posts: 348
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2008 8:01 pm

Re: CONCERT REPORT: NYC Madison Square Garden, October 23

Postby da2008 » Thu Oct 29, 2009 10:26 pm

Unfortunately both MSG and the Tower Theatre were somewhat ruined by the experience of having to close my eyes when someone was walking/standing/chatting to their friend (s)/selling something in front of me.

Nevertheless, both were great shows. I left my seats before the second set to sit behind the stage and while the sound was horrendous I got to see the show up close and from a completely different vantage point. Not much to complain about - it was well worth it.
Rock Chick
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: NYC Madison Square Garden, October 23

Postby Rock Chick » Fri Oct 30, 2009 2:27 am

I had the absolute time of my life at Madison Square Garden! I didn't notice the popcorn/beer vendors, the late comers, or anything else for that matter. I was so focused on Leonard and his music, I doubt anything would have disturbed me! It was a wonderful concert.... really beautiful. You know, I didn't even notice it was raining at Weybridge until after the concert when I realised I was drenched and my programme and turned into papier mache! I really can't wait until Las Vegas and San Jose!
RainDog1980
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: NYC Madison Square Garden, October 23

Postby RainDog1980 » Fri Oct 30, 2009 7:31 am

What I don't get about Tully's report is this:

The last time Leonard had his "old" sound was 1979, on Recent Songs, and to an extent, Various Positions, though more of the electronic/synthesized sound was present there.

He released "Cohen Live", which had the newer arrangements. AND, Live in London was released over 6 months ago. How is this a surprise, and why go if you knew what to expect? Just seems weird to me.

I personally think that these arrangements are much more true than the ones from the '88 and '93 tours. One of Us Cannot Be Wrong is a great tune, but a little too much keyboard for my liking on Cohen Live. I would have loved to hear it with this band.
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lizzytysh
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: NYC Madison Square Garden, October 23

Postby lizzytysh » Fri Oct 30, 2009 2:55 pm

Touring's taken its toll on him, though, since he collapsed on stage during a show in Valencia, Spain in September. He was taken to hospital and treated for food poisoning.
That has nothing to do with touring :roll: . I can get food poisoning and collapse just by driving to any local restaurant for dinner. No planes or trains required. No venues or songs. Food poisoning can happen anywhere and does happen everywhere.


~ Lizzy
"Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken."
~ Oscar Wilde
da2008
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: NYC Madison Square Garden, October 23

Postby da2008 » Fri Oct 30, 2009 3:41 pm

Rock Chick wrote:I was so focused on Leonard and his music, I doubt anything would have disturbed me!
:D I doubt a flashlight directed into your face from a point-blank range in the complete darkness of MSG by one of the vendors coupled with a shout of "cold bear, water, soda" into your ear would leave you as mesmerised with the concert, to be honest. And that's something that didn't happen once or twice, but every 2-3 minutes during the first part of the show.
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Kenadian
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: NYC Madison Square Garden, October 23

Postby Kenadian » Fri Oct 30, 2009 5:41 pm

da2008 wrote: :D I doubt a flashlight directed into your face from a point-blank range in the complete darkness of MSG by one of the vendors coupled with a shout of "cold bear, water, soda" into your ear would leave you as mesmerised with the concert, to be honest. And that's something that didn't happen once or twice, but every 2-3 minutes during the first part of the show.
MSG was definitely the place to have bought the best ticket...where I was sitting did not give me the "Leonard Cohen experience". It was totally ridiculous with those vendors up and down and across selling crap beer. Had it been Guinness or a Belgian beer, it may have been a little more acceptable :-)

I actually left at the intermission (yea I know, sacrilegious), but in my defense, I went to see Richard Thompson at The City Winery...very cool!

Makes me a little wary of going to San Jose and the whole arena experience.

Cheers.
Ken(adian)
2008: Kitchener|Hamilton x2|Toronto x3|Montreal x2|2009: New York|Detroit|New York x2|Hamilton|Kingston|Ottawa x2 |Colmar|Vienne|Nimes|Philadelphia|New York MSG)|Cleveland|Nashville|2010: Sligo x2|Lisbon |Caen|Grenoble|Strasbourg|Marseille|Tours|Lille|Victoria|Vancouver|Oakland x2|Vegas x2|and more.

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