Is it becoming slightly stale?

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LHHUNTER
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Is it becoming slightly stale?

Postby LHHUNTER » Wed Mar 06, 2013 4:39 pm

It's great that the US tour has kicked off again to rave reviews but could it be the performance is becoming a little to predictable in terms of format and content. Since 2008 every show has begun with the same song for both act 1&2 as well as the first and second encores. I think most folks going to see the shows now will have attended a previous concert and it's a pity we kind of know whats coming next. I wish the band would surprise us sometimes by juggling the tunes around a bit between the sets rather than playing safe everytime.
James T
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Re: Is it becoming slightly stale?

Postby James T » Wed Mar 06, 2013 4:54 pm

Short answer: No.
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Hartmut
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Re: Is it becoming slightly stale?

Postby Hartmut » Wed Mar 06, 2013 7:28 pm

I wouldn't say stale; but I definitely would welcome some different songs.
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mnkyface
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Re: Is it becoming slightly stale?

Postby mnkyface » Wed Mar 06, 2013 8:42 pm

Also have to say no. The new arrangement of Lover, Lover, Lover is worth the price of admission alone. As is Anyhow. We have been getting up to 5 of the new songs (though I wish they would bring back Lullaby) and they are very well-received by audiences (especially Anyhow!) :) Things are sliding in all directions - 1000 Kisses was in the first set at the Oakland show on Sunday and it worked very well there. Democracy was also earlier (not in its usual end slot). Alexandra Leaving is bringing the house down each and every time. If the first songs of the first set are starting to seem like a familiar warm-up, I don't begrudge Leonard and band this at all. The remaining THREE HOURS are fresh and amazing. As for Dance Me, I was under the impression that he has been starting with that one for a long time before 2008 - even back to the late 80s tours? I always feel like the song is kind of a good luck charm for him to start with, the best song to connect with the band and audience, and could even be interpreted as addressing stage jitters ("dance me through the panic"). Tower of Song always starting the 2nd set may be for technical reasons - easier to set up keyboard during intermission?
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LisaLCFan
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Re: Is it becoming slightly stale?

Postby LisaLCFan » Wed Mar 06, 2013 9:49 pm

LHHUNTER wrote: I think most folks going to see the shows now will have attended a previous concert ...
I'd be interested to see a statistic on that. "Most folks"? I don't know about that. Most folks on the forum, undoubtedly, but in general?
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mutti
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Re: Is it becoming slightly stale?

Postby mutti » Wed Mar 06, 2013 10:52 pm

absolutely not! In my opinion each concert has its own charm and intensity. I love to hear Leonard sing and recite and will never tire of that.
All I know is I am completely present in these concerts and that is rare for me as my mind is usually all over the place.
Its a pleasure to hear some favorites and some old songs as well.
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2013 Oakland x 2/New York City x 2/Winnipeg...
scocoh
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Re: Is it becoming slightly stale?

Postby scocoh » Thu Mar 07, 2013 1:23 am

.
.
I'd love to design the setlist myself, but the plain truth is that the concerts aren't mainly for those who attend a lot of shows. Probably 90% of the attendees at any given show are first timers or people who have seen him only once or twice or haven't seen him in a long while-- and the shows are understandably tailored for the general audience. They have to do the "favorites" and they have to consider overall pacing of the show and they have to make sure each member of UH gets his/her deserved turn in the spotlight.

It's just impractical for a touring company to change sets much every other night. Too much relies on routine-- from band members knowing the songs and each of their respective parts, to transitions between songs, to lighting and sound crew tasks etc. So there's no real choice but to do it how they do it: Get the basics in place. Set the pace and "feel" correctly for the evening. Get in and out of each number quickly. Have a handful of alternates which spice up the show for the aficionados. Keep an eye on the clock. Wrap it up. Move on to the next city.

There have been some great and wonderful changes/additions over the last few years. The inclusion of Old Ideas songs, Sharon doing Alexandra Leaving, and others. When you hear Come Healing, that seems like enough right there! And to me, the addition of Alex was inspired. I still miss Dino, but man-- having Alex in there has been incredible.

Having said that, what I'd love to see Leonard and UH do for an Ultra Grand Finale is to book a series of shows in one place for a week or so and do all Leonard's songs they can in a loving environment which won't take them to task for musical mistakes on songs they don't know as thoroughly as "Dance Me" or" Manhattan". Intersperse songs with banter and discussions with Leonard and each member of the band. Of course, for that idea to work and have people come from far and wide, it'd have to be a "real" Grand Finale. :razz:
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Hartmut
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Re: Is it becoming slightly stale?

Postby Hartmut » Thu Mar 07, 2013 1:31 am

scocoh wrote:Having said that, what I'd love to see Leonard and UH do for an Ultra Grand Finale is to book a series of shows in one place for a week or so and do all Leonard's songs they can in a loving environment
Ghent last year came close to that ...
sue7
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Re: Is it becoming slightly stale?

Postby sue7 » Thu Mar 07, 2013 2:33 am

mnkyface wrote: The new arrangement of Lover, Lover, Lover is worth the price of admission alone.
Assuming that you're talking about the same arrangement as for the Fall US tour, Esther, I totally agree. The arrangement and performances in New York were completely extraordinary, and I would go back even if that were the only song on the program.

I completely disagree that the setlist is becoming "slightly stale." Take a look at the Oakland reviews, just to begin with.
But more than that, with the kind of energy, presence and talent that Leonard, along with the band, brings to this, how could any setlist of his songs feel stale in performance? I've been listening to Bird On The Wire for more than 40 years, but being there when they perform it is like listening to it for the first time, except with the wonderfulness of already knowing it and therefore being able to listen so much better. The familiar parts of the setlist feel like that in concert, and the new parts just have that extra edge of unfamiliarity and excitement.
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amcgee
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Re: Is it becoming slightly stale?

Postby amcgee » Thu Mar 07, 2013 1:26 pm

of course it is getting stale, the same songs are played most of the time, starting off with the same songs. if you look at the set lists since cohen returned to the touring scene, most sets are similar, with a variation of a few songs.
i have seen him 4 times in his 4 tours that came to ireland and all were the same again bar a few different songs. i do wish he would change it around. play different songs and start off with something else. problem is he really is limited in terms of the songs he can play at the concerts and people seem to like to listen to the same songs over and over again. you know what your getting with Cohen. even in the new ideas tour, he is only playing a few of the songs from the album.
i am a big Leonard cohen fan, but i would have to agree. same with his live cd's. again all are not too far off the same.
however at the end of the day, you know what you are getting when you go to a Leonard Cohen concert, great quality music, consistently

just my opinion of course!
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Caren
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Re: Is it becoming slightly stale?

Postby Caren » Thu Mar 07, 2013 2:13 pm

I have been to quite a few shows by Leonard and his musical companions over the last couple of years and if there has been any change in my perception of those it's that they impress me more with each show.

The intensity of the performance simply blows me away. And in my humble opinion no two shows are the same. There are always slight variations in the songs and the performances themselves. So even hearing more or less the same songs again and again does not bore me, on the contrary it feels like revisiting a favourite place.

Whereas Leonard's music work is enormous there are only so many new or not so well known songs he can add to a setlist. As stated in posts before mine the majority of people going to a Cohen concert aren't frequent goers so their wish to hear certain songs needs to be satisfied.

I can't wait for the summer tour in Europe and will try to experience the special treat a Leonard Cohen concert is as many times as possible.

No, never stale but fresh and vital.
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LHHUNTER
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Re: Is it becoming slightly stale?

Postby LHHUNTER » Thu Mar 07, 2013 3:05 pm

I think when LC embarked on the 2012 tour there was an opportunity to make significant changes to the band line up. It was good that the woodwinds were changed to Violin and a new guitar sound was added but I think it should have gone further. I think Roscoe and the Webb Sisters should have been let go to make way for a new musical direction and vocal harmony. Roscoe's arrangements of the tunes have hardly changed at all since 2008!
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Paul Zagreb
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Re: Is it becoming slightly stale?

Postby Paul Zagreb » Thu Mar 07, 2013 3:29 pm

I suppose that instead of singing and playing their socks off for over 3 hours every night, each show could last about 75 minutes, with one encore. We would even get to see a support act then! This is far more the norm these days anyway. Such a shorter set would allow for big changes in the set list! Seriously, I do think we are in danger of starting to take for granted what is every night an amazing performance of 3 hours and around 30 songs. Those of us who keep turning up do so because we love the whole thing. For sure, different setlists would introduce another element and there are some songs I have never heard live which it would be great to hear. And its fun to wonder about them. But there are always a few surprises. And the broad predictability also means that there is a chance to hear new things in some songs, or somehow listen more intently in one show to songs you have taken for granted previously. I remember commenting all that time ago on seeing the first setlist that it was good that he seemed to like to play the songs that we like to hear. This is still the case. And the band and Leonard give their all every night. Let's not turn a privilege into a complaint!
2008: Manchester 20 June /Vienna 24 September /Berlin 4 October / Cardiff 8 November/Manchester 30 November 2009: Liverpool 14 July / Belgrade 2 September / Barcelona 21 September 2010: Zagreb 25 July /Sankt Margarethan 5 September 2012: Ghent 12 August/Verona 24 September/Lisbon 7 October 2013: London 21 June / Berlin 17 July / Ljubljana 25 July / Pula 2 August / London 15 September
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Henning
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Re: Is it becoming slightly stale?

Postby Henning » Thu Mar 07, 2013 3:47 pm

For me it is not so much the same songs that bores me but the same dress code on each tour. If only he would use different hats before and after the break I would be more than happy.
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LHHUNTER
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Re: Is it becoming slightly stale?

Postby LHHUNTER » Thu Mar 07, 2013 5:22 pm

I always remember thinking during the last show in Vegas 2010 wound'nt it be fun if he ran out wearing a white suit and hat for the second act. :lol:

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