CONCERT REPORT: LG Arena, Birmingham UK - Sunday 8 September

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Mabeanie1
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CONCERT REPORT: LG Arena, Birmingham UK - Sunday 8 September

Postby Mabeanie1 » Fri Sep 06, 2013 6:10 pm

Joy of joys - a local show at last! Sunday will see Leonard back at the LG Arena, just 15 minutes’ drive from my home. Leonard last played here on 22 November 2008 so his return is long overdue.
Lgarena.jpg
The LG Arena, known until 2008 as the NEC Arena, forms part of the massive exhibition complex that is the National Exhibition Centre to the south of Birmingham. It must be one of the easiest venues to get to in the world – entered directly from the motorway junction, walking distance to Birmingham International station with regular direct connections to Birmingham and London etc and just a short walk and monorail ride away from Birmingham International Airport.

The LG Arena is a purpose built concert venue and should not be confused with the mixed use sports and concert venue in the city centre known as the National Indoor Arena. The LG Arena is much larger and a better venue IMHO. The sound is consistently good and it is much more spacious and comfortable following its refurbishment in 2008-9. Those who haven’t been to the Arena since Leonard last played here in 2008 should be pleasantly surprised. Gone are the long queues to get in – entrance is quick and efficient through the turnstiles to the left as you look at the picture. There are spacious bar and entertainment areas just the other side of the turnstiles and around the auditorium - plus plenty of ladies’ toilets! The venue itself has also been upgraded and now has a capacity of almost 16,000 with new seating and extra entrances at the side to make it easier to get in and out. I haven’t been able to check this out personally but I read that the backstage areas have also been refurbished so Leonard and UHTC should also see many improvements since their last visit.

As arenas go, this has to be one of the best. I like it – can you tell?

Wendy
brokenhill
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: LG Arena, Birmingham UK - Sunday 8 Septe

Postby brokenhill » Sun Sep 08, 2013 6:14 pm

Probably the only good thing about progressive illness is it's predictability. Thus I was able to follow Leonard and co to six cities in 08 and 09 knowing it was probably my last chance. And so it turned out to be. I hadn't felt too sad about missing the current tour, largely by denying that it was happening, until a Facebook post by Hattie and Charlie told me all were here, in my home town, just a few miles away, tonight! So please bear in mind tonight that the loudest cheers are coming from just a few miles away, and thanks LC and the entire crew for years of inspirational great work.

And please keep the youTube videos coming..................

Dave B
Still reliving every second of:1970 Isle of Wight, 1985 Birmingham, 2008 Manchester OH , Edinburgh, Cardiff, Bournemouth, Birmingham, 2009 Liverpool and ................ :o)
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Mabeanie1
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: LG Arena, Birmingham UK - Sunday 8 Septe

Postby Mabeanie1 » Sun Sep 08, 2013 7:16 pm

I feel for you brokenhill. I am so sorry to hear that you can't make it this time but I'm sure your memories of all those wonderful previous shows will keep you going through this evening. Will be thinking of you.

Wendy
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: LG Arena, Birmingham UK - Sunday 8 Septe

Postby brokenhill » Sun Sep 08, 2013 8:42 pm

thanks Wendy, I'll spend the evening working through the latest posts on you tube and make believe I'm there. Enjoy your evening.
Still reliving every second of:1970 Isle of Wight, 1985 Birmingham, 2008 Manchester OH , Edinburgh, Cardiff, Bournemouth, Birmingham, 2009 Liverpool and ................ :o)
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: LG Arena, Birmingham UK - Sunday 8 Septe

Postby mutti » Sun Sep 08, 2013 11:25 pm

I look forward to the concert reports from Birmingham tonight as I have done for all the concerts. This is one of the concerts I thought I would make this summer but my plans changed and I ended up selling my tickets (to forum members). A few of my good friends are there tonight. In fact Karen E bought my ticket and I am enjoying the performance in her pocket :lol:.
Enjoy everyone!
Leslie 8)
Last edited by mutti on Mon Sep 09, 2013 6:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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awaythelads
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: LG Arena, Birmingham UK - Sunday 8 Septe

Postby awaythelads » Mon Sep 09, 2013 3:48 am

I should be asleep as I have to be up in a few hours for work (have to pay for tickets!).

Just to say a M A S S I V E thanks to all concerned for sorting me out with front row seats.

I took a few photos. Unfortunately, the powers that be (on the doors) confiscated the bulk of my kit. I don't know what the end result is ... Tomorrow.
voodoo doll 79
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: LG Arena, Birmingham UK - Sunday 8 Septe

Postby voodoo doll 79 » Mon Sep 09, 2013 4:26 am

OMG. I can die happy. I have finally seen the man in person after loving him since I was 11. (And that's a long time ago) So buzzy I can't sleep instead I wrote a review!!! Apologies for the length!! Colleen :)

The smoothest pensioner in pop glides onto the stage and strikes a stance, legs apart, fedora tilted forward to hide his weathered, expressive face.

So begins the culmination of a lifetime's dream for me – to see the great man in person, to hear him perform songs that have haunted, sobered and uplifted me since I was old enough to hear them.

Part lecherous uncle, part evangelical preacher, the body may have aged but the wit, the pathos and the soul are as fresh as ever.

Watching him sink to his knees then shimmy around the stage like a fading Fred Astaire, we're captivated - just as surely as his infamous worm on a hook.

He solemnly addresses the crowd saying he knows that it's been a while as he didn't want to impose but then who knows when we'll meet again. A fleeting acknowledgement that, at his advanced age, this could well be his swan song tour - but boy what a swan song.

Seamlessly moving from tried and tested favourites such as Bird on a Wire, Suzanne and So Long Marianne to his later acerbic hits such as Darkness, Cohen has the audience in the palm of his hand from the get go.

At 79 while others are using a bus pass and reminiscing about lovers long gone, frisky ole Len still has a definite twinkle in his eye.

His cock of the walk soft shoe shuffle off stage left makes your heart throb far far more than an elderly man really should be able to manage.

His voice has aged, less like a fine wine and more like velvet covered gravel swirled in a vat of bourbon and then coated in ground glass. So low it reverberates in your feet, your heart and other places.

Sometimes a singer, sometimes a growling poet, crooning and seductive, plaintive and broken but always fascinating, riveting, mesmerising.

In the sarcastic words of Len himself “I was born like this, I had no choice, I was born with the gift of a golden voice.”

A voice and a talent that the world rarely sees, and which will, all too belately, be celebrated and lauded when it finally moves to the tower down the track.

Part way through the show he muses that next year - when he turns 80 - he's decided to take up smoking again and waxes lyrical about the nurse in sweet little white shoes that he'll get to offer him up a cigarette on a silver tray, whilst massaging the bubbles from his IV tube.

Musings on growing old disgracefully aside, other highlights of the show included a bitter sweet lament to his thieving former manager Kelley Lynch to whom he ruefully says “we were both guilty.”

There's a stunningly simple version of Alexandria Leaving sung solo by Sharon Robinson and a barnstorming version of First We Take Manhattan, complete with flashing backlights - the closest thing you'll get to upbeat with Cohen.

A subdued version of Hallelujah changes the mood again, with white light strafing the audience as the angelic harmonies of backing singers Charley and Hattie Webb interweave with his rumbling take on love and loss.

He's a whirlwind one minute and an oasis of still contemplation the next. Limitless in his energy and humility, he's a one-man masterclass in showing them how it's done.

There's no backing dancers, costume changes, lasers or pyrotechnics needed, this man is pure entertainment, a 79 years young craftsman who calls himself “a lazy bastard in a suit”.

And what a suit, looking dapper and slick as ever Cohen electrifies the stage with his presence whether he's dropping to the floor to tell us a man never got a woman back by begging on his knees, to standing, hat in hand like a mourner in New Orleans, as the organ virtuoso Neil Larsen plays gospel.

I for one hope that he has many many more years left to create albums more of his introspective, intimate, sweeping, desolate and glorious work.

With all the drive, energy, talent and sardonic wit that he has at his disposal, when that glorious, gravelly voice finally calls closing time, the world will be a colder, darker and far less humorous place without him.

If it be your will

That I speak no more

And my voice be still

As it was before

I will speak no more

I shall abide until

I am spoken for

If it be your will

Leonard Cohen.
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: LG Arena, Birmingham UK - Sunday 8 Septe

Postby sturgess66 » Mon Sep 09, 2013 6:54 am

A review at a blog - Hand Luggage -
http://justhandluggage.blogspot.com/201 ... l?spref=tw
Monday, 9 September 2013
Leonard Cohen – Old Ideas Tour, Birmingham. September 8 2013

The smoothest pensioner in pop glides onto the stage and strikes a stance, legs apart, fedora tilted forward to hide his weathered, expressive face.

So begins the culmination of a lifetime's dream for me – to see the great man in person, to hear him perform songs that have haunted, sobered and uplifted me since I was old enough to hear them.
Part lecherous uncle, part evangelical preacher, the body may have aged but the wit, the pathos and the soul are as fresh as ever.
Watching him sink to his knees then shimmy around the stage like a fading Fred Astaire, we're captivated - just as surely as his infamous worm on a hook.
He solemnly addresses the crowd saying he knows that it's been a while as he didn't want to impose but then who knows when we'll meet again. A fleeting acknowledgement that, at his advanced age, this could well be his swan song tour - but boy what a swan song.
Seamlessly moving from tried and tested favourites such as Bird on a Wire, Suzanne and So Long Marianne to his later acerbic hits such as Darkness, Cohen has the audience in the palm of his hand from the get go.
At 79 while others are using a bus pass and reminiscing about lovers long gone, frisky ole Len still has a definite twinkle in his eye.

His cock of the walk soft shoe shuffle off stage left makes your heart throb far far more than an elderly man really should be able to manage.
His voice has aged, less like a fine wine and more like velvet covered gravel swirled in a vat of bourbon and then coated in ground glass. So low it reverberates in your feet, your heart and other places.
Sometimes a singer, sometimes a growling poet, crooning and seductive, plaintive and broken but always fascinating, riveting, mesmerising.
In the sarcastic words of Len himself “I was born like this, I had no choice, I was born with the gift of a golden voice.”
A voice and a talent that the world rarely sees, and which will, all too belately, be celebrated and lauded when it finally moves to the tower down the track.
Part way through the show he muses that next year - when he turns 80 - he's decided to take up smoking again and waxes lyrical about the nurse in sweet little white shoes that he'll get to offer him up a cigarette on a silver tray, whilst massaging the bubbles from his IV tube.
Musings on growing old disgracefully aside, other highlights of the show included a bitter sweet lament to his thieving former manager Kelley Lynch to whom he ruefully says “we were both guilty.”
There's a stunningly simple version of Alexandria Leaving sung solo by Sharon Robinson and a barnstorming version of First We Take Manhattan, complete with flashing backlights - the closest thing you'll get to upbeat with Cohen.

A subdued version of Hallelujah changes the mood again, with white light strafing the audience as the angelic harmonies of backing singers Charley and Hattie Webb interweave with his rumbling take on love and loss.

He's a whirlwind one minute and an oasis of still contemplation the next. Limitless in his energy and humility, he's a one-man masterclass in showing them how it's done.

There's no backing dancers, costume changes, lasers or pyrotechnics needed, this man is pure entertainment, a 79 years young craftsman who calls himself “a lazy bastard in a suit”.

And what a suit, looking dapper and slick as ever Cohen electrifies the stage with his presence whether he's dropping to the floor to tell us a man never got a woman back by begging on his knees, to standing, hat in hand like a mourner in New Orleans, as the organ virtuoso Neil Larsen plays gospel.
I for one hope that he has many many more years left to create albums more of his introspective, intimate, sweeping, desolate and glorious work.
With all the drive, energy, talent and sardonic wit that he has at his disposal, when that glorious, gravelly voice finally calls closing time, the world will be a colder, darker and far less humorous place without him.

If it be your will
That I speak no more
And my voice be still
As it was before
I will speak no more
I shall abide until
I am spoken for
If it be your will

Leonard Cohen.
HelenOE
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: LG Arena, Birmingham UK - Sunday 8 Septe

Postby HelenOE » Mon Sep 09, 2013 8:19 am

The thing is, Leonard Cohen does his reminiscing about lovers long gone in front of thousands of people who happily pay to hear him do it, and sometimes even the lovers themselves are there to listen. :) By the way, how can he be a pensioner if he's still working? :?
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Mabeanie1
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: LG Arena, Birmingham UK - Sunday 8 Septe

Postby Mabeanie1 » Mon Sep 09, 2013 9:58 am

Linda

That very same review has been posted on the forum already - see voodoo doll 79's report directly above yours.

Wendy
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: LG Arena, Birmingham UK - Sunday 8 Septe

Postby Mabeanie1 » Mon Sep 09, 2013 10:04 am

I just posted the setlist on the setlists thread but here it is again for those who want to have everything in the same place. Alas, Anthem is MIA once again.

Set 1
Dance Me to the End of Love
The Future
Bird on a Wire
Everybody Knows
Who By Fire
The Gipsy's Wife
The Darkness
Amen
Come Healing
Lover Lover Lover (+band intro)

Set 2
Tower of Song
Suzanne
Chelsea Hotel
Waiting for the Miracle
Anyhow
The Partisan
In My Secret Life
Alexandra Leaving (Sharon Robinson)
I'm Your Man
A Thousand Kisses Deep (poem)
Hallelujah
Take this Waltz

Encores
So Long Marianne
Going Home
First We Take Manhattan

Famous Blue Raincoat
If It Be Your Will (Webb Sisters)
Closing Time

I Tried to Leave You
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Mabeanie1
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: LG Arena, Birmingham UK - Sunday 8 Septe

Postby Mabeanie1 » Mon Sep 09, 2013 10:47 am

So after an absence of 5 years Leonard was back at my "local" arena venue. I left home around 6:40 pm and was in my seat before 7:00 pm having sauntered through the entertainment and bar areas, checked out the merchandising stalls and visited the plentiful facilities. I am not used to having such an easy journey to see Leonard and to be honest it felt a bit weird. I also felt very emotional with Leonard playing so close to my home for what is almost certainly the last time, even if does decide to go back on the road again in the future.

Poor Birmingham - we wait 5 years for a show then get scheduled on a Sunday night. Sunday is always a difficult night to fill a venue and this was no different. It probably didn't help that there was zero local advertising for the show. The 16,000 seater venue was maybe half full, with the whole of the back of the massive room curtained off. Still, half full is still a pretty big crowd - almost twice as big as the audiences for the sold out shows in Bournemouth, Brighton and Cardiff so really not too shabby at all.

As Leif noted on his blog, the re-jigging of the UK tour dates left them with back to back shows - a rare event for Leonard and UHTC - and I thought Leonard was tired as a result. He also seemed hurried in the first set so I wondered if there was a strict 11:00 pm curfew - not good news after a delayed start. Nonetheless, Leonard proceeded to give us everything he had. and by set 2 he seemed much more relaxed and chatty. As noted above, Anthem was out once again but we got to hear both Anyhow AND Secret Life as well as the poem in the second set. They managed to fit I Tried to Leave You In before the hard curfew of 11:15 pm. There were some very funny moments along the way and of course Leonard had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand. His patter in Tower of Song was particularly funny and hopefully someone else can remember the details of what he said or Linda can find a YouTube clip.

Thank you Leonard and all concerned for visiting the city of my birth once again.

A few comments about security. awaythelads commented that he had "the bulk of [his] kit" confiscated on the doors. Sorry awaythelads but what are you doing taking anything more than a compact or bridge camera to an indoor arena show? You should know that you are unlikely to be able to use any "kit" unless you have a photo pass and then only for the first song. My small back pack was not searched at all (and rarely is at the LG Arena) nor have I ever had any problems using a compact camera at the arena though they were stopping people from videoing where they spotted it. I also heard stories of one particular security guy at the front on the right who was particularly irritating, stopping people from using cameras apparently and generally looking for trouble. There was some sort of "incident" between security and someone on the front row during Hallelujah that this guy was involved in but otherwise I thought security were pretty much low key. For the most part when people came forward for the encores they simply let us be - apart from the aforementioned "irritant" who, with one of his colleagues, belatedly tried to move the crowd out of the aisle to the right of the centre block at the start of Going Home. They were shouting and making so much noise that the crowd collectively "shushed" them. Quite right too. It may be their job to try and get people to go back to their seats but they don't have the right to disturb the enjoyment of everyone else in the audience whilst they are doing it.

Wendy
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: LG Arena, Birmingham UK - Sunday 8 Septe

Postby j9sunny » Mon Sep 09, 2013 1:03 pm

First, may I say that the concert was wonderful. Loved the set list, the arrangements, everything.
However, to say I was disappointed with my tickets is an understatement.
Bought through this forum, the seats were start of a row, 90 degrees to the stage. It meant we had a restricted view but we also couldn't see the big screen as it was side on to us and the picture was, therefore, warped. People all around us were complaining too. At £65 a ticket, I feel thoroughly ripped off by the ticket sellers and by LG arena.
Regarding the arena, very cold air conditioning meant everyone around us putting on coats because of the blast down our necks. The catering is fast food only too, incidentally, which was an unexpected blow after arriving early for something "proper" to eat.
Had it not been for the superlative Leonard, his outstanding team, and some wonderful music, I would be very grumpy indeed.
Off to complain to the LG arena now..
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: LG Arena, Birmingham UK - Sunday 8 Septe

Postby cohenadmirer » Mon Sep 09, 2013 1:15 pm

Sorry to hear that

We need to go back to the days when some seats were clearly sold as having a ' restricted view'- with a low ticket price to reflect this .

In Leeds there were many ' front row' seats which should have been labelled ' zero view- can only see speaker stacks and curtains' .Scandalously those seats were sold for full price with , i would guess, no indication there might be a 'slight' sightline problem !

Great show though . Leonard's showing an increasing ' exuberance'. The thought crossed my mind he's like a 'kid' nearing end of term .

Strange to see the role reversal of a respectful crowd at the front right trying to control a small bunch of noisy/rowdy security folk! :roll: shush
Last edited by cohenadmirer on Mon Sep 09, 2013 1:40 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Leonard's work resonates
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Parsifal
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: LG Arena, Birmingham UK - Sunday 8 Septe

Postby Parsifal » Mon Sep 09, 2013 1:35 pm

Can't say I noticed any tiredness on his part: seemed to have bags of energy to spare.

Another great performance: I'd not seen him since 2009 and the changes in the band were noticeable. Can't say I have any preference for the Alexander-featured band over the Dino-featured one, but the current show does seem to feature more guitar (and great to hear it provided by Mitch Watkins, who played on my favourite LC studio album AND my favourite LC live album).

Yes, regrettable that Anthem is now an 'occasional' rather than a staple but I was overjoyed at the return of Gypsy's Wife and Chelsea Hotel.

I don't like Arena gigs and have managed to avoid them for the most part over the years but LC is worth putting up with a lot to see. I was in the middle of B block on the floor, so wasn't that affected by all the comings and goings. The last time I saw LC (at Liverpool in 2009), there was no stage-rushing at all.

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