Is it becoming slightly stale?

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LisaLCFan
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Re: Is it becoming slightly stale?

Postby LisaLCFan » Tue Jul 02, 2013 4:10 am

Six! :D

(This thread has happily morphed into the "How many people listen only to classical music and Leonard Cohen?" thread!)
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TineDoes
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Re: Is it becoming slightly stale?

Postby TineDoes » Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:10 am

LisaLCFan wrote:Six! :D

(This thread has happily morphed into the "How many people listen only to classical music and Leonard Cohen?" thread!)
You are right LisaLCFan. This thread is indeed going off topic.
There is a thread about other music you are listening to viewtopic.php?f=15&t=10345&start=360 Is it an idea to start a new thread "The classical alternative"?. I would find it interesting to know which classical music moves LC fans :).
"There’s no forsaking what you love ...."

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LisaLCFan
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Re: Is it becoming slightly stale?

Postby LisaLCFan » Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:06 am

TineDoes wrote: Is it an idea to start a new thread "The classical alternative"?. I would find it interesting to know which classical music moves LC fans :).
You should start that thread! It would be interesting (particularly since, I have to admit, I have no interest in most of the "other music" people around here talk about!).
MattW
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Re: Is it becoming slightly stale?

Postby MattW » Tue Jul 30, 2013 4:55 pm

PeGu wrote:I have just been to the concert in Mannheim and can answer the TS's question with a definite NO.
Everything you say (which I snipped for the sake of brevity) are valid points, and I agree with the sentiment that you can appreciate music more when you know it intimately. But for us fans, that is the case with Leonard's music anyway -- the subtleties and nuances are well known and we will always find deep emotional significance in slight changes and surprises. Our old favourites will always move us in ways no other songs can, because of all the memories they evoke.

A varied setlist doesn't diminish this effect, it actually enhances it. It adds an element of surprise, of spice, if you will, to the mix without sacrificing the familiarity of the music; it can make us see songs in a new light when we suddenly hear them in a different context. Someone raised the point that it's simply not feasible for technical reasons (lightning cues, guitar tunings), but that is demonstrably untrue since some major touring acts can do it with a much more complicated setup then a Cohen tour and more instruments and musicians in play. Lightning cues & sound mixing are pre-programmed by song anyway, so all the techs need to figure out what the next song is going to be and select it on their equipment.

I get the feeling that some people who are defending the setlists do so out of some sort of loyalty: they don't like the word "stale" and they want to make clear that their enjoyment of a Cohen show is genuine and true. And nobody doubts that. I would argue, though, that even those people (like you, PeGu) would not object if Mr. Cohen played a few different songs every night: I'm not expecting him to turn around 180 degrees and start approaching his setlists the way Springsteen does (see my post at viewtopic.php?f=75&t=34171#p334824), but I honestly believe that there's only a very small minority here who'd actively resent it if there were 7-12 songs he'd rotate in and out of the show. The beginning of the tour in 2012 was a step in the right direction, but things seem to have settled down into them same-old by now.

It'd be easy enough for the band to know a few more songs.

What this boils down to, if you ask me, is if you'd actually object to more varied setlists or not. The original question whether or not setlists are getting "stale" is phrased clumsily -- in a way that provokes some people to go into defensive mode and defend Cohen, the setlist and their enjoyment of the show (which, again, nobody doubts). It's obvious that Mr. Cohen approaches his concerts in a similar vein to that of a theater play being performed; and it works perfectly for the first couple of times you see a show.

And if that is what you like and enjoy, good for you. And if you've never experienced your favourite artist reinventing himself night after night, you probably don't even know what you're missing.

There are those, however, who cannot watch a movie 7 times without it losing some of its emotional impact, for example. My last Leonard Cohen show in Vienna was great, but had nowhere near the same impact as the first two (in 2009 and 2010) whereas my last Springsteen show in Rome was probably the best I've ever seen him in more than 20 years and 40 concerts.

When rarities like "The Guests" are played, people here don't go "Oh no! The surprise ruined the whole show for me. I wasn't prepared for it; I couldn't enjoy that at all!", do they? No, they are ususally happy to have caught it. It can't be a bad thing to have more of that feeling is what I'm saying.

Matt

[EDIT: corrected "majority" to "minority" -- is there a word for that sort of mistake when you write the opposite of what you intended to?]
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Re: Is it becoming slightly stale?

Postby holydove » Tue Jul 30, 2013 10:04 pm

MattW wrote:
I get the feeling that some people who are defending the setlists do so out of some sort of loyalty.. I would argue, though, that even those people . .. would not object if Mr. Cohen played a few different songs every night: but I honestly believe that there's only a very small minority here who'd actively resent it if there were 7-12 songs he'd rotate in and out of the show.

It'd be easy enough for the band to know a few more songs.

What this boils down to, if you ask me, is if you'd actually object to more varied setlists or not.. .


Matt
Hi Matt,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts - they are well said & you make some interesting points, & I copied here the ones I might like to respond to.

I think you are probably right that loyalty is an element involved here, & I don't think there is anything wrong with that; & though some might feel the same way I do, for the sake of simplicity, I will speak only for myself: for me, another element involved is that I feel so grateful that Leonard is giving any live performances at all - & brilliant live performances, I might add - that it feels like excessive greed, & maybe even arrogance, to suggest or demand that he do songs that he has not chosen to do. I don't think there is even a minority here who would actually object to different songs, or a more varied setlist; all we are saying is that we are able to enjoy & appreciate Leonard's performances, even if he does the same songs again & again, & we respect whatever he chooses to do; & even if it's a song that we've heard thousands of times, there is something different that arises within the experience, every time - sometimes the difference is in the way Leonard performs it, & sometimes it's in the way we perceive & experience it - but it doesn't matter where the difference arises from - it's just always seems to manifest & move us in new & different ways.

You wrote: "It'd be easy enough for the band to know a few more songs". Ah, perhaps there's the rub. If one looks at the very intriguing alternates in the setlist, one can see that the band has been rehearsing many interesting songs that they have not performed in concert. We all know that Leonard is an incorrigible perfectionist - for which we can be thankful, because that perfectionism is what has produced the incomparable music & poetry that we love so much - but, though every member of the band is a superb musician, perhaps it's that perfectionism which make it not so easy for the band to know a few more songs. . . And it's clearly not just a matter of the band; Leonard did 2 performances of Crazy To Love You in Gent, which were, of course, solo performances, & then it disappeared; personally, I loved those performances, & I would love more live performances of it, but I suppose there is something about his live performance of that song with which he feels uncertain or unsatisfied - who knows?? It's really very mysterious, & I don't think there is any way we can really know what determines Leonard's choices of songs for performance.

Personally, sometimes I do think about how wonderful it would be if Leonard performed some of the songs that have not been included in the concerts, & other times I think I don't care which songs Leonard sings, as long as he keeps singing. . .& I hesitate to say what I'm about to say, for fear of being deemed a "blind devotee" (not that I would agree with that label - I don't agree with it at all. . .), but at the moment, I feel compelled to be honest: the mere sound of Leonard Cohen's voice does something to me that is so wondrous & indescribable & like nothing else in the world, & it happens every time I hear it - & especially, even more so, when I hear it live; so, though of course I would love to hear current live versions of every song Leonard has ever written, ultimately, my feeling is that as long as he keeps singing, I want him to sing whatever makes him happy, as many times as he wishes, & it will make me happy (very very happy) too.
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comehealing
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Re: Is it becoming slightly stale?

Postby comehealing » Tue Jul 30, 2013 11:11 pm

@holydove

What a beautiful post, written with great grace, respect, intelligence, sensitivity and compassion.
Thank you for sharing this. You articulate precisely how I feel and I'm sure many others too.
I feel blessed to have seen leonard perform thrice since his return and each has been a majestic, life-enhancing experience.
Long may the magic continue :)
Alexis
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(Oscar Wilde)
"That love is all there is" (Emily Dickinson)
"A miracle, just take a look around: The inescapable earth" (Wislawa Szymborska)
Nanila
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Re: Is it becoming slightly stale?

Postby Nanila » Wed Jul 31, 2013 12:03 am

That's what it's all about: MAGIC!!!

And hello to you, lovely Rachel, we met in New York, do you remember?
I hope you and Bob are fine! I will never forget that evening!

In fact, if I was told to make the setlist :)) I would not be able to do so, which songs should I refuse?
So I don't care about the setlist, I just feel grateful!

Furthermore I don't even get bored hearing the same songs at home over and over again, some of them for more than 40 years....

Renate
Berlin 1979
Århus 1988
New York 2012
Hamburg 2013
and soon Amsterdam 2013
MattW
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Re: Is it becoming slightly stale?

Postby MattW » Wed Jul 31, 2013 12:56 am

holydove wrote:Hi Matt,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts - they are well said & you make some interesting points, & I copied here the ones I might like to respond to.

I think you are probably right that loyalty is an element involved here, & I don't think there is anything wrong with that; & though some might feel the same way I do, for the sake of simplicity, I will speak only for myself: for me, another element involved is that I feel so grateful that Leonard is giving any live performances at all - & brilliant live performances, I might add - that it feels like excessive greed, & maybe even arrogance, to suggest or demand that he do songs that he has not chosen to do. I don't think there is even a minority here who would actually object to different songs, or a more varied setlist; all we are saying is that we are able to enjoy & appreciate Leonard's performances, even if he does the same songs again & again, & we respect whatever he chooses to do; & even if it's a song that we've heard thousands of times, there is something different that arises within the experience, every time - sometimes the difference is in the way Leonard performs it, & sometimes it's in the way we perceive & experience it - but it doesn't matter where the difference arises from - it's just always seems to manifest & move us in new & different ways.

[...]
We are in complete agreement here, I think. It does seem rather entitled and greedy to demand from Leonard Cohen to play different songs; all I can say is that I do not demand (or even expect) it, I just wish he would. While you and others are able to approach each show with the same level of enthusiasm, I can't. Why that is, I do not know -- maybe because I am spoiled by other artists, maybe because I've never heard some of my favourites in concert ("Light As The Breeze", "Different Sides" and even "Never Any Good" come to mind), maybe I'm just not that kind of person. Who knows?
holydove wrote:Personally, sometimes I do think about how wonderful it would be if Leonard performed some of the songs that have not been included in the concerts, & other times I think I don't care which songs Leonard sings, as long as he keeps singing. . [...] so, though of course I would love to hear current live versions of every song Leonard has ever written, ultimately, my feeling is that as long as he keeps singing, I want him to sing whatever makes him happy, as many times as he wishes, & it will make me happy (very very happy) too.
Very well said. My thinking is more along the lines of "Given the fact that he's still performing these great shows at his age, it wouldn't make that much difference if..." I hope, though, that a place like this is one where we can express these sentiments without being deemed disloyal. I remember hearing two songs I didn't even know existed in 2010 ("Feels So Good" and "Born In Chains") and I have to admit that hearing "Bird On the Wire" for the 20th time does not give me that same giddy rush of excitement. Well, my loos I guess ;)

Anyway, thank you for your thoughtful response.

Matt
stella s.
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Re: Is it becoming slightly stale?

Postby stella s. » Wed Jul 31, 2013 12:22 pm

Hi Matt,
I also remember hearing Born in Chains for the first time. This was a very stressful event.

You know in a concert I like the moment, when Dance Me to the End of Love starts, I'm totally absorbed by the music, I'm all ears, thinking nearly stops (I listen to classical music the same way, I can do that only, because it never changes ...). Well change occurred during the concert in Salzburg 2010. I knew from the first note, that this was something new, something I had never heard before. I was very aroused and tried to remember everything: the melody, the words ... I was looking around to see other peoples reactions to the song - so I was very busy and could not enjoy the moment. Not at all. And it took me some time to calm down again and return to the "music listening mode".

So maybe there really are two types of people those who like changes and others who don't. And not just too loyal fans who like everything an artist does.
holydove
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Re: Is it becoming slightly stale?

Postby holydove » Wed Jul 31, 2013 4:32 pm

MattW wrote: It does seem rather entitled and greedy to demand from Leonard Cohen to play different songs; all I can say is that I do not demand (or even expect) it, I just wish he would.

My thinking is more along the lines of "Given the fact that he's still performing these great shows at his age, it wouldn't make that much difference if..." I hope, though, that a place like this is one where we can express these sentiments without being deemed disloyal.

Matt
Matt, I know you were not "demanding" anything, & I apologize for using that word in addressing you, as it was not accurate. I like your use of the word "wish", & I understand your wish. Of course I don't think anything you said represents disloyalty. When I thanked you for sharing your thoughts, I meant it. I'm glad you expressed your wishes, I found your manner of expression to be unique & intelligent, & your tone respectful, & I hope you continue to share your thoughts.

I wonder, though, if you can fill in the blanks - you wrote ". . it wouldn't make that much difference if. . ." - if what? I'm not sure what you mean & I don't want to misinterpret anything. . .

RENATE: Hello to you too!! Of course I remember meeting you & your husband in New York!! I will always remember that night too, & the pleasure of spending some time with you made the whole event even more special! Bob & I are fine - thank you for asking; & I hope you & your husband are also doing well.

COMEHEALING: Thank you for your very kind words & for expressing your feelings. And allow me please to echo your beautiful wish - yes - long live the magic!!
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Re: Is it becoming slightly stale?

Postby Bonn1979 » Wed Jul 31, 2013 9:39 pm

Setlist for Montreal 2014-09-21
first concert of the Old-Friends-Tour (HB3-free!!)

1. Set
01. Dance me to the end of love
02. Ain´t no cure for love
03. Bird on the wire
04. Everybody knows
05. Who by fire
06. The darkness
07. One of us cannot be wrong
08. The guests
09. Different sides
10. Tonight will be fine

2. Set
11. Tower of song
12. Avalanche
13. A singer must die
14. Chelsea Hotel No. 2
15. Night comes on
16. The partisan
17. Anyhow
Smoking break
18. There is a war
19. Joan of Arc
20. Lover Lover Lover
21. Suzanne
22. Field commander Cohen
23. First we take Manhattan
24. I tried to leave you

Encores
25. Famous blue raincoat
26. If it be your will (LC)
27. Passing through
28. Closing time
29. Hallelujah
30. So long Marianne

Attention:
Story of Isaac
Last years man
Seems so long ago, Nancy
Why don´t you try
Memories
The window
The smokey life

.
holydove
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Re: Is it becoming slightly stale?

Postby holydove » Wed Jul 31, 2013 10:24 pm

:lol: I love your Montreal 2014 setlist, Fried!! I especially love the smoking break after Anyhow, & LC singing If It Be Your Will!! You omitted a few songs that I would have put in, of course, but given your brilliant creative effort, I think I can cut you one more slack!

Thanks for the laugh - you are a gem!!

I hope I will see you in Montreal this time. . .

An additional thought: after intermission, we can sing Happy Birthday & instead of roses, toss cigarettes onto the stage. . .

Editing: I just realized what you meant by HB3- free! So that instrument is still ruining your life? Sorry to hear that. I think we will have to talk to the CEO of SONY about inventing a set of HB3-cancelling earphones for you. I'll get on it asap! (I wish I could do that for you - I really do. . .)
MattW
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Re: Is it becoming slightly stale?

Postby MattW » Thu Aug 01, 2013 1:23 am

holydove wrote:I wonder, though, if you can fill in the blanks - you wrote ". . it wouldn't make that much difference if. . ." - if what? I'm not sure what you mean & I don't want to misinterpret anything. . .
Something obvious along the lines of "Given the fact that he's still performing these great shows at his age, it wouldn't make that much difference if he varied the setlists a bit more." Meaning that, I too am grateful that Mr. Cohen is still touring at all, but since he is touring, he could throw in a few different songs now and then. It's not like I'm asking him to tour when he doesn't want to (though I'd still wish exactly that, to be honest).

Granted, it maybe would make a great deal of difference to *him* since he probably has that streak of perfectionism. Hence: I only wish.

Matt
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Re: Is it becoming slightly stale?

Postby SeventhSon » Thu Aug 01, 2013 6:49 pm

I couldn't agree more with what you are saying Matt and there is no way to express it in a better and more respectful way. There is not much to add. Well done.

I must admit that for me too, some of the Cohen live magic is gone due to the ever repeating setlist. It is the reason why I only went to two shows this year and afterwards even thought that one would have been enough (Very disappointed by the London O2 show). Although I did get some songs I hadn't heart live before the setlist was way too repetitive for me. When I look back at all my Leonard Cohen shows (not counting my first two) the highlights have always been the moments when he did something I didn't expect: Light as the Breeze, my first Night comes on, Thousand Kisses Deep, Anyhow, even a cover song (Choices). And although these moments were great, there just weren't enough of them. I'm still dying to hear Joan of Arc, A Singer must Die, Show me the place, and knowing that he has done them on a couple of shows makes me wonder why he doesn't play them more often.

But I am convinced that the main reason I feel this way is due to Bruce Springsteen. I have been to numerous concerts of so called "big names" but ever since I started seeing multiple Springsteen shows on a same tour (which for me started with the 2012/2013 Wrecking Ball tour, 9 shows) for me all the excitment is gone for "normal concerts". It just adds so much to the experience when you witness a show where you have no idea where it is going. Changing songs every night, taking sign requests, even changing the structure of the set (one day a certain song is the opener, the other day the mainset closer...) is so extremely exciting! Bruce spoils his fans so much, that once getting used to it, you can't help yourself from feeling disappointed by seeing an other artist's same show again and again.

The only artists that I'm still interested in seeing live are Bruce and Leonard, who both give all they have got every night. Although Leonard doesn't change the setlist, he still does fantastic long shows that top everything else I have seen (except for Bruce shows) and nobody questions that. It also wouldn't be fair to compare him with Bruce and the latter's over the top not from this world energy.

Nevertheless, I would love to see Leonard changing his sets. He has so many great songs and such a talented band that would surely learn them quickly. And we all know that he can do it...if only he did. I bet that it would add SO much to the experience, especially to the many forum members who have gone to so many shows.

And just to make this clear once more: Nobody questions Leonard's live qualities. We all love and deeply respect him. But this shouldn't prevent us from respectfully expressing our thoughts.

Oh and Matt, congratulations on getting New York City Serenade. I must admit that I'm a bit jealous. ;-)
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Re: Is it becoming slightly stale?

Postby da2008 » Fri Aug 02, 2013 7:31 pm

I love the shows that Leonard is doing because these are the only shows that he is doing. Having said that, I would love to hear him play everything off Old Ideas because it is the album he is touring (and considering the length of his set, there's plenty of time for that). There's not a bad song in his entire catalog. Why people wouldn't want him to do more songs is strange. The songs he's doing now aren't his best songs - they are just as good to me as his other songs are. But it's obvious that the majority of Leonard's audience wants this set. A more static set list possible allows Leonard to get deeper inside when performing it. I don't know. I definitely get a different experience every time I see him perform live. I just love watching him perform - it really doesn't matter what. He's very textured and there are subtle differences in his delivery and his interactions with his band that make it all worthwhile for me. I can't say that he's on autopilot just because the set is nearly identical every night. But if I could dream, I'd love to hear more from him. Much more. In reality though, I'm satisfied with being able to simply be there. I've heard my share of Hallelujah, but Springsteen does Badlands every night, too. What can you do...

PS Also, Leonard and Bruce. Apples and oranges. Love them both though. A bigger Leonard fan, but yes - these two and Neil Young are the three greatest living artists.

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