CONCERT REPORT: Leeds UK - Saturday 7 September 2013

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A.Sukitu
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Leeds UK - Saturday 7 September 2013

Postby A.Sukitu » Wed Sep 11, 2013 1:18 am

I agree ... A cult? ... Not so!
For my part, to see Leonard dance off stage at the end of a concert is a celebration of joy and delight.
There is nothing adrift about thanking everyone for an extremely wonderful experience. Just that ... A thank you. An appreciation.
"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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Cheshire gal
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Leeds UK - Saturday 7 September 2013

Postby Cheshire gal » Wed Sep 11, 2013 1:18 am

I loved your review and comments on the concert Sue... well done. :D
'...and here's a man still working for your little smile' -Leonard Cohen
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deanzy1
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Leeds UK - Saturday 7 September 2013

Postby deanzy1 » Wed Sep 11, 2013 2:15 am

well if being a leonard cohen fan is a cult then its a cult that i am very proud to be part of.
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sturgess66
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Leeds UK - Saturday 7 September 2013

Postby sturgess66 » Wed Sep 11, 2013 2:25 am

HelenOE wrote:Review by Phil Kirby on Culture Vulture
It's a nice review - so I'm copying and pasting - for the sake of posterity!
[Media links especially seem to go bad - a lot of the links in the older concert threads no longer work.]

http://theculturevulture.co.uk/blog/rev ... ect-arena/
Leonard Cohen at Leeds First Direct Arena
Submitted by Phil Kirby on September 10, 2013 – 12:02 pm

Image
LOVE IS THE ONLY ENGINE OF SURVIVAL a review of Leonard Cohen at Leeds First Direct Arena by Walter Grumpius …

At school back in the late 1960s, in the lower sixth form common room, I remember being part of a collective that clubbed together to buy what was certainly my first LP – and I can picture it still with its Heath Robinson-like drawing of a strange record playing machine on the front cover – entitled ‘The Rock Machine Turns You On’. It was a CBS sampler and had the attraction of being a lot cheaper than regular albums of the time. I had heard, or heard of, most of the singers and groups on the disc but one was completely unknown to me. That artist was Leonard Cohen and the song was Sisters of Mercy.

I began to understand the meaning of the word ’mystery’ that day. What on earth was the song about? It seemed to be about things beyond my reach, but more pertinently, beyond my understanding. As soon as I had money of my own Songs of Leonard Cohen and Songs from a Room were amongst the very first of my record collection. Other Cohen records followed in due course. But until Saturday evening at the First Direct Arena, I had never seen the man in concert.

It was gratifying to see quite a few people in the audience whose parents had probably yet to be born when Cohen released his eponymous Songs in 1968. I wondered which stage of the great singer’s career had attracted these youngsters? But for a great many of us who passed along Clay Pit Lane I suspect the path that led us there began 45 years or so ago.

Any history of music is bound to include a chapter on the impact of recording. Before the twentieth century, if you wanted to hear music, you had to attend a performance. In its turn any history of recorded music is bound to linger on that glorious period – almost certainly restricted to the twentieth century – when recordings meant vinyl and collecting entailed physical objects of desire, discs (mainly 7” and 12” in diameter) with their labels and sleeves which, like books, could embellish a room. Looking back one can see how these collections helped to define one’s adolescent and early adult identity. We are not talking here about collections acquired retrospectively and often thematically after the fashion of an antique collector, but of records acquired at the time of release, of a collection accumulated in real time with a degree of the haphazard and the exploratory. In this inchoate way most musical tastes surely develop.

I went along to the Arena with a degree of expectation anxiety but needn’t have fretted. Towards the end of the concert Cohen sang self-referentially, “I love to speak with Leonard/ He’s a lazy bastard living in a suit”. In the interests of accuracy it is necessary to take issue with his use of the word ‘lazy’. This was not the performance of a lazy man. Lasting well beyond three hours and probably only curtailed then by curfew regulations, it was easy to forget that this was a 79-year old. Far from being the suicidal curmudgeon of ill-informed legend Cohen is an engaging and witty man. He endeared himself to his audience from the very first moment when he apologised for the cost of the tickets, acknowledging the chasm it would have left in household budgets. He promised however that he and his band would give their all and they did. Barely pausing for breath, apart from a twenty-minute interval, they performed about thirty of Cohen’s songs, with a sufficient spread of the early ones to satisfy those who have not kept up (Bird on a Wire, Suzanne, So Long Marianne, Famous Blue Raincoat).

Leonard Cohen spent a lot of the concert on his knees, a position which seemed at first a little odd, even awkward and incongruous, but after a while began to make sense. Partly it may be a posture of prayer, for there are times in his lyrics when he can sound almost like an Old Testament prophet or St John the Divine with the apocalyptic visions in, for example, The Future, or Anthem, his fear that it may be too late for repentance. But for Cohen the divine is also contained in love. He is on his knees to love in a mood both of pleading and of thanksgiving. It is clear that his key to salvation is love. “Every heart, every heart/ to love will come/ but like a refugee”, he sings in Anthem. Cohen is above all a poet singer of love, a troubadour, a Dante for our times.

His subject is love in all its moods and manifestations: sacred, profane, yearning, heartache, lust, purification, glory, humiliation, celebration, disillusion, loss, memory, mystery and ultimately as a sacrament and instrument of salvation. As well as kneeling in awe of love, you sense perhaps too that there is an act of homage towards music itself. Throughout the concert he was at pains to highlight his musicians. The band was a perfect foil and complement to Cohen and it was evident that it had been assembled with exquisite care. Javier Mas from Spain plays a variety of oud-like instruments and his extended instrumental introduction to Who By Fire was one of the highlights of the evening. The violin player Alexandru Bublitchu, guitarist Professor Mitch Watkins, and keyboard player “the peerless” Neil Larsen added fresh texture and arrangements to well-known songs. The choral trio was long-time collaborator Sharon Robinson and a pair of sisters from Kent, Charley and Hattie Webb, who provided Cohen’s trademark ‘choir of angels’ backing and towards the end of Tower of Song he went into transcendent mode, not wanting them to stop their chanting so moved was he, at one point imploring, “just twice more”.

Although he is the singer and the songwriter, he acknowledges fully that it is the band who give the songs heft and substance. This was very noticeable soon after the interval when he sang Suzanne and Chelsea Hotel without his crew. The voice – that voice – so on form during all the other songs, seemed to falter. Phrases were lost, words submerged. But it was just a temporary glimpse of frailty. There were so many highlights but to pick one out it would be Anthem, which ended the first half of the concert with its marvellous chorus of hope, “Ring the bells that still can ring/ Forget your perfect offering/ There is a crack in everything/ That’s how the light gets in”.

A word on the Arena itself. This was my first time up close and in its working clothes, and although I remain to be convinced that it is a thing of beauty, it is an arresting structure and in terms of its function can scarcely be faulted. The forecourt is spacious and attractive; the entrances, exits, internal stairs and foyers are generous and clearly navigable. The stewards were numerous and those we encountered were charming and helpful. A brief survey of the bar proved disappointing; nothing there to detain the discerning drinker. Inside, the auditorium is a cavernous space, the walls and floor bare of any decoration beyond the purely functional. This is clearly to aid the acoustics and here the design has achieved everything it set out to do. The sound on the evening was almost beyond perfect. Musicians will have to work very hard to match it; as quoted above, it may be easier if there’s a crack in everything. The stumble in Cohen’s vocal mentioned during Suzanne may have been masked if the acoustics had not been so good but here was emphasised. Happily Cohen’s band was beautifully balanced, each instrument defined and crisp and the voices clear and blended. The staging too was good. As you might expect for such a singer, the lighting was unobtrusive but effective. During The Partisan for example, the stage and musicians were bathed in a metallic grey whilst the curtains draped to either side of the stage were lit in a lyrically appropriate blood red.

This will not be a venue suitable for every artist but Leonard Cohen, having taken Manhattan and Berlin, had the charisma and songs and supporting musicians to take also Leeds.
Last edited by sturgess66 on Wed Sep 11, 2013 2:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Leeds UK - Saturday 7 September 2013

Postby sturgess66 » Wed Sep 11, 2013 2:28 am

A 3-hour video at YouTube :D
Uploaded by Henry James -

Leonard Cohen- Leeds Arena, UK, September 7th 2013 (Full Concert)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9om_L8Fv3es
stackridge
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Leeds UK - Saturday 7 September 2013

Postby stackridge » Wed Sep 11, 2013 7:01 pm

Thank you Robert for the excellent review, and your comments too Sue, it was a pleasure to meet you all. Doug and Olga from Sunny Scunny
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Leeds UK - Saturday 7 September 2013

Postby holydove » Wed Sep 11, 2013 8:42 pm

sturgess66 wrote:A 3-hour video at YouTube :D
Uploaded by Henry James -

Leonard Cohen- Leeds Arena, UK, September 7th 2013 (Full Concert)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9om_L8Fv3es
Wow! Thanks for alerting us to that, Linda.
POWERFULL
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Leeds UK - Saturday 7 September 2013

Postby POWERFULL » Wed Sep 11, 2013 10:06 pm

I have waited 4 yrs to see The Legend who is Leonard Cohen and I was not disappointed.
The wait was due to being diagnosed with cancer in 2009, But I made it !!
From the minute he came on Stage at 19:45 and the time that he left at 11:15 he held the audience in his hands.
His Backing orchestra and singers were fantastic.
I did not have a dry eye throughout the whole performance.
I only hope they bring out a DVD of the Leeds concert, does anyone know if they will ?
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Leeds UK - Saturday 7 September 2013

Postby Lazysuit » Wed Sep 11, 2013 11:35 pm

holydove wrote:
sturgess66 wrote:A 3-hour video at YouTube :D
Uploaded by Henry James -

Leonard Cohen- Leeds Arena, UK, September 7th 2013 (Full Concert)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9om_L8Fv3es
Wow! Thanks for alerting us to that, Linda.
Let me second that 'thank you' - exciting stuff - I hope this sticks around for a while.
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Leeds UK - Saturday 7 September 2013

Postby Born With The Gift Of A G » Thu Sep 12, 2013 2:08 am

Review in the Yorkshire Evening Post:


http://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/w ... -1-6034628
"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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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Leeds UK - Saturday 7 September 2013

Postby Mabeanie1 » Thu Sep 12, 2013 2:49 am

Lazysuit wrote:
holydove wrote:
sturgess66 wrote:A 3-hour video at YouTube :D
Uploaded by Henry James -

Leonard Cohen- Leeds Arena, UK, September 7th 2013 (Full Concert)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9om_L8Fv3es
Wow! Thanks for alerting us to that, Linda.
Let me second that 'thank you' - exciting stuff - I hope this sticks around for a while.
Before anyone gets too excited, this appears to be a slide show with an audio of the concert; not a video at all.

Wendy
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sturgess66
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Leeds UK - Saturday 7 September 2013

Postby sturgess66 » Thu Sep 12, 2013 4:15 pm

Mabeanie1 wrote: Before anyone gets too excited, this appears to be a slide show with an audio of the concert; not a video at all.
Wendy
Wendy - it not only appears to be a slide show with pictures but it IS a slide show with pictures. :D Along with the audio from the Leeds show. In order to upload an audio track to YouTube you create a movie or "video." The pictures, along with the audio from the Leeds show, were used to create a video.

Also, at the beginning of this video - at the top - videographer Richard James has added "Click Here To Watch HD Video Clips From This Concert." That takes you to a playlist of 8 good quality videos/songs from this show that he also uploaded to YouTube (I posted them "upthread." )

Linda
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Leeds UK - Saturday 7 September 2013

Postby sturgess66 » Thu Sep 12, 2013 4:20 pm

A review from Liam Herringshaw at a blog site "The Daily Liam" -
http://madliam.blogspot.com/2013/09/leo ... leeds.html
Leonard Cohen live at Leeds

Sometimes when you go to see your musical heroes it only brings disappointment.

I went to a Bob Dylan concert at the NEC in Birmingham many moons ago and it was hopeless. I then saw Lou Reed at the De Montfort Hall in Leicester not quite so many moons ago and it was just dull.

Thankfully, the legends of Canadian music seem to do things differently. Going to Neil Young's first-ever gig in Newfoundland in 2009 was amazing: he played a brilliant set with an energy and a gusto that you couldn't help but be swept away by. And last weekend, I was fortunate enough to go to Leonard Cohen's show in Leeds. It was equally fantastic.

My dear mother had seen Len on his last UK tour and enthused about how great he was. She is a bit biased though, as she ABSOLUTELY LOVES Mr Cohen, so I needed to see him for myself. As an arbiter of accurate assessment, I took Dr Goodchild with me, as she is less swayed by his musical charms.

The gig had been shifted two days for religious reasons and perhaps because of this, when we got to the new First Direct Arena, we found ourselves upgraded. Unexpectedly moved to a prime location just a few rows back from the stage, we couldn't believe our luck.

This lasted until people sat down in front of us and behind us. Those in front of us revealed the shoddiness of the stadium design: legroom designed for someone who didn't actually possess any legs. If I'd had to pay £75 I'd have been very unimpressed.

Behind us it was even more unimpressive, though, and this was purely thanks to the concert-goers. A couple in their 50s decided that what we really wanted to hear throughout the performance, at every moment they could possibly manage, was them chatting away inanely. Sadly the compression of the seating meant I couldn't free myself to reach over and thump them.

If anyone tells you it's youngsters who don't know how to behave at a live show, they should go and see how the oldies do it. They're just as bad.

Thankfully, the genuine oldie on stage was wonderful. He may be approaching octogenarianism, but Leonard skipped onto stage like Eric Morecambe. Some of his subsequent moves had more in common with Monty Burns, I admit, but his joie de vivre was never in question.

It probably helps that he has a fabulous band, including a mesmerizing Catalonian guitarist, a wonderful Moldovan violinist, and two angelic Kentish ladies on backing vocals. The whole group was given opportunities to show what they could do, and each time Leonard doffed his hat and stood watching and listening to them reverentially.

We, though, were there to listen to him, and we were not disappointed.

I was most looking forward to hearing his songs from the 80s and 90s, freed from the shoddy production and automated keyboard effects. This was immediately achieved by starting the show with Dance Me To The End Of Love. I can't now go back to the original without wincing slightly.

My favourite song of the first part was one of his new ones, The Darkness. The mark of a truly great artist is an ability to produce new works that are interesting, different, and - most crucially - good, and The Darkness is all of those.

I caught the darkness
Drinking from your cup
I said: Is this contagious?
You said: Just drink it up


After all the old dears in the audience had been to the loo, part two began with the wonderful Tower of Song. It was just Leonard at the keyboard, accompanied by his backing singers, and when he played a solo, the audience applauded.

"Are you mocking me?" he stopped and asked, and he was probably on to something.

To prove his playing ability, he threw in the Everybody Knows solo and challenged the crowd to applaud him again. They did, of course.

Earlier in the evening, I'd told Dr Goodchild that I didn't need to hear Leonard play his 60s classics, because the originals were superlative. Then he started playing Suzanne, and it was beautiful and I realized I was being stupid.

When he followed this with Chelsea Hotel #2, well, words failed me. Such a rich, sad, funny, moving song, perhaps the greatest of all his compositions, and performed with tenderness and profundity by a man looking back at a time so long ago. Never has 'I don't even think of you that often,' sounded so mournful.

The concert could have stopped there and I'd have been happy, but there were plenty more classics to show off, and with a band like he has, why would you want to do anything else?

Eventually, a little after 11.15pm, he had to stop so we could catch the late train home. My knees thanked him, whilst his knees had a final workout as he skipped from the stage.

The complete set list can be found here, and there are various low-quality videos to be watched on YouTube, but they don't really help convey the magic. Hopefully a live album or DVD will be released to do the show justice.

And though I may never get to see Leonard again, I am incredibly thankful that I had the privilege of watching him this once, of enjoying his wit and warmth, his seriousness and his silliness, his music and his magic.

Thank you for the songs, Mr Cohen, and for all the pleasure you've brought to so many.
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Leeds UK - Saturday 7 September 2013

Postby jim devlin » Thu Sep 12, 2013 4:27 pm

that little keyboard impro in Tower of Song is from Leonard's keyboard intro to Dance Me To The End Of Love back in the 1988 and 1993 concerts.
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Leeds UK - Saturday 7 September 2013

Postby Mabeanie1 » Thu Sep 12, 2013 7:16 pm

sturgess66 wrote:
Mabeanie1 wrote: Before anyone gets too excited, this appears to be a slide show with an audio of the concert; not a video at all.
Wendy
Wendy - it not only appears to be a slide show with pictures but it IS a slide show with pictures. :D Along with the audio from the Leeds show. In order to upload an audio track to YouTube you create a movie or "video." The pictures, along with the audio from the Leeds show, were used to create a video.
Linda
I do understand how YouTube works thanks. I just didn't want anyone to be misled by the reference to 3 hours of video.

Personally, I think there are much better places to upload an audio recording. Interestingly, a link to an audio recording download is not permitted on the forum. However, a link to an audio track with slide show attached on YouTube apparently is. The world has gone mad .... again ....

Wendy

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