CONCERT REPORTS: Manchester, UK (June 17, 18, 19 and 20)

Canada and Europe (May 11 - August 3, 2008). Concert reports, set lists, photos, media coverage, multimedia links, recollections...
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Would the real Hattie Webb please stand up?

Post by hydriot » Thu Jun 19, 2008 8:47 pm

I wanted to learn more about the Webb Sisters, so paid particular attention to Leonard's introductions in Manchester on Wednesday night. Following her duet with him in I'm Your Man, Leonard definitely identified the taller blonde sister (who was later to play the harp so exquisitely in If it Be Your Will) as Charley Webb ... and I believe he did so also on Tuesday.

Yet, having Googled Hattie Webb and then listened to a recording of her interview on Kent TV last year, I am now virtually certain that Hattie is the harpist and duettist, Charley the smaller brunette with acoustic guitar.

I do think someone should tell Leonard, gently.

Jarkko told us last night that the band-members are reading the forum, and so if Hattie and/or Charley are reading this, ladies do please update your website ... the most recent entry is December 2006. Touring with Leonard, you are getting the finest exposure of your career to date and I'm sure I am not the only person frustrated to find so little about you on the web. I didn't even realise you are British (welcome home)!
“If you do have love it's a kind of wound, and if you don't have it it's worse.” - Leonard, July 1988
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Re: Manchester, UK (June 17-20)

Post by jarkko » Thu Jun 19, 2008 8:58 pm

Hattie is the blonde sister who plays harp, and Charley the sister with the hat & guitar.
Charlie gave me also the URL to their new website:

photo by Michael Stamp
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Re: Manchester, UK (June 17-20)

Post by jglBB » Thu Jun 19, 2008 9:14 pm

Thanks jarkko, I will not have to express my sorry again as I had to do in my first post after the Saguenay concert. At this time I was unable to differentiate these two marvelous sisters by her names.
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Re: Manchester, UK (June 17-20)

Post by Paula » Thu Jun 19, 2008 9:20 pm

Whereabouts in Kent are they from.
Dublin 14th June, Manchester 20th June, O2 17th July, Matlock Bandstand Aug 28, O2 14th November, Royal Albert Hall 17th and 18th November 2008, MBW 11th July 2009, Liverpool Echo 14th July 2009
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Re: Manchester, UK (June 17-20)

Post by asta » Thu Jun 19, 2008 9:41 pm

Re The Webb Sisters. I believe their 'official' new website is Love their track on there - Baroque Thoughts!
Also - -
Someone reported that their 'old' (original) website was run by their former record company. These transitions probably take TIME!

As The Webb Sisters are the only Brit's in the band - Steve Wilcox' reports from the first few Canada concerts - on the Files - said 'these girls are bound to get a big welcome when they return home to the UK' - seems they are getting just that (and deservedly so!) Also I heard that last year (or maybe 2006?) they were BBC Radio 2 'Album of the Week' and BBC Radio 2 'single' of the week. Asta
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Re: Manchester, UK (June 17-20)

Post by JudasPriest » Thu Jun 19, 2008 9:49 pm

I met Charlie for all of 3 seconds after the Dublin gig on the 14th. I simply shook her hand and told her If It Be Your Will was stunning. She thanked me and I let her back to whatever conversation she was in. If you're reading this Charlie, thanks again to you and Hattie for your wonderful contributions to the shows. Hope you enjoyed Dublin. I know the crew went to Lock's Restaurant after the Sunday show-it happens to be on the street I live on. Don't know if Leonard made it down there but I sure hope so as myself and my wife left a little gift for him with the staff there earlier that day.
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Re: Manchester, UK (June 17-20)

Post by stephencharlton » Thu Jun 19, 2008 10:13 pm

This is my first posting on the forum, though have been reading it for years.
Drove up from Essex to Manchester on tuesday to see Leonard on his opening night in Britain.
Fantastic :D . Wonderful sound, great atmosphere, met some very nice people.
Highlight for me was ' a thousand kisses deep' (recital) which was very moving. You could here a pin drop !
Does anyone know where the 'alternative' words come from ?
Looking forward to the O2
2008 Manchester
London O2 x3
2009 Berlin
2010 Poland
2012 Belgium
2013 London 02
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Re: Manchester, UK (June 17-20)

Post by hydriot » Thu Jun 19, 2008 10:55 pm

stephencharlton wrote:Does anyone know where the 'alternative' words come from ?
A Thousand Kisses Deep was originally a poem in two parts. You'll find it on pages 56 and 57 of Book of Longing. The first part is what he recited, the second part appears in the song.
“If you do have love it's a kind of wound, and if you don't have it it's worse.” - Leonard, July 1988
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Re: Manchester, UK (June 17-20)

Post by hydriot » Fri Jun 20, 2008 12:29 am

Soooo .... I am now back at home with the daughter I so cruelly abandoned to attend Leonard's first two shows in Manchester. And I am only now just beginning to recover my emotional balance.

I wrote earlier about the Tuesday concert, Leonard's landfall in the UK. The Wednesday crowd was more rowdy and disinclined to stay seated. I had the misfortune to be next to a joker of my age who seemed to think he was in a karaoke bar. I jabbed him sharply in the upper arm and wagged a magisterial finger at him in admonition, and he seemed to get the message ... though I think he was probably just shocked that a person half his size dared to assault him while he was singing along to Suzanne. Thereafter, he limited himself to drumming on the shared arm-rest.

On the other side of me, however, were two young men in their twenties who enjoyed the show and behaved absolutely impeccably. I was very pleased to see some young people at the concert, suggesting Leonard's work doesn't just appeal to those who were at university in the seventies.

It was of course another superb performance, lasting three hours and five minutes, with just a 15 minute intermission (I don't believe the back of the huge queue for the Ladies, snaking back up the corridor almost to the foyer, had a chance of reaching the porcelain by the time the band returned). For me, it was particularly exciting to hear Sharon Robinson live. Of course, I was aware of her close collaboration with Leonard over the years, but I haven't followed her solo career. I shall do so now.

In my post yesterday, I complained (gently) about the intrusive percussion, and (or was I imagining it?) on Wednesday it did seem more subdued. On the train home, I tried to work out what was troubling me, and I realised that it is simply that, during the first set, the drums just beat out the time, like a metronome. But percussion is best used to colour the off-beat, or to act as a bridge, and I didn't hear this being done in the first set at all.

Weren't the Webb Sisters amazing? I felt that Hattie Webb's duet with Leonard in I'm Your Man wasn't quite there yet, perhaps because this duet is a recent innovation (it doesn't appear on the recording of the Moncton concert of 23 May, only three weeks ago). But she and her sister Charley have superb voices, and their rendition of If It Be Your Will was one the best covers I have ever heard (for me, Antony's on the 'I'm Your Man' DVD remains the quintessence). The harp accompaniment was inspired.

As this was my second concert, I was able to look around a bit and focus more on the other members of the band. I especially liked the harmonica from Dino Soldo in 'That's No way to Say Goodbye' . It's an instrument forever connected with Bob Dylan with his rather laid-back playing, so it was a real revelation to hear it played so accurately as a bone-fide musical instrument.

I loved the plangent notes on the double bass at the end of 'Who By Fire' from Roscoe Beck, followed each time by a downward glissando. Superb.

And I also liked the discreet conducting of the singers in a difficult passage by Charley Webb. As a boy-chorister who used to sing in a choir that performed four-part unaccompanied anthems, I warmed to this touch of sheer professionalism. Her hand movements were so slight they would not have been noticed by any but the most observant, yet the result was perfect timing by the entire ensemble.

As The Telegraph review noted, the lighting was also something special. The intense bright 'heavenly' light that engulfed the stage as Hallelujah began was masterful.

It was good to meet more members of the forum in the Deansgate before and after the performance each day. I think I disappointed Liverpoolken who had apparently imagined me to be “some Mediterranean sort”. Like me, Ken was incredibly impressed at Leonard’s ability to get down on one knee so effortlessly. Discussing old age, Ken lamented “It’s the knees that go first”. Sorry Ken: in my case it’s the waistband.

It’s now nearly ten-thirty on Thursday, there’s only a few minutes of the third Manchester concert to go, and I’m not there. Arghh! I miss everybody already. Still I was there, for two nights, and I will be again, in London on 17 July.

See you all then!

(Oh, and by the way, my daughter has forgiven me now. But then, she's seventeen and a half and was probably secretly delighted to get her boring old Dad out of the house for a few days)
“If you do have love it's a kind of wound, and if you don't have it it's worse.” - Leonard, July 1988
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Re: Manchester, UK (June 17-20)

Post by Kettering » Fri Jun 20, 2008 1:16 am

It was fantastic last night and I cannot write so eloquently as others have so I won't try! My only gripe was,in my humble opinion, the announcing of the performers(who were all excellent by the way) after every individual short solo. It seemes way over the top to me. and got in the way of at least 2 of the endings.
I am so glad though that I was lucky enough to see him in such an intimate venue. I just cannot imagine seeing him at Glastonbury :shock:
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Re: Manchester, UK (June 17-20)

Post by Lorelei » Fri Jun 20, 2008 1:35 am

It was a most wonderful, wonderful evening! I'm so pleased I had the opportunity of seeing Leonard Cohen live. I still cannot quite believe what a magical and moving evening it was.

He came on stage and had a standing ovation before he'd sung a note. I have to admit there were tears in my eyes when he started singing. The set was all I could have hoped for and more. The songs just kept coming and coming. The venue was small and intimate. Although we were way up in the gods, the sound was clear as a bell. At times you could have heard a pin drop. He seemed almost humbled by the reaction and affection of the audience and he appreciated it. 'Thank you for keeping my songs alive for so long,' he said near the beginning of the show. And, 'You have been so generous,' towards the end of the show. There were several standing ovations throughout the show with Leonard acknowledging the reaction with a wave of his fedora hat and a shy, but pleased smile.

The show lasted over 3 hours with several encores.

I'm just so pleased that I was there and have been able to see live one of the greatest poets and song writers of our time.
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Re: Manchester, UK (June 17-20)

Post by James T » Fri Jun 20, 2008 1:43 am

Fantastic show! I got my gallery seat off here and then waited outside and managed to do a deal with a tout to get a stalls seat (I gave him the ticket and another 15pounds). It was well worth it, amazing seats for an amazing show. I was close to tears during Anthem. Sisters of Mercy was outstanding. Suzanne was... well... as good as it ever was and will be.

Only thing that ruined it though was 2 yuppies sat behind me clearly intoxicated. The guy trying his best to sing like leonard throughout but sounding more like the cookie monster. If he wasn't singing he was just talking freely through the songs. The woman was also a bit of a prat, laughing and awwwwwwhing and wistling and talking as the worst moments possible and far too loudly.

Great show, grea venue and (for the most part) a great audience.
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Re: Manchester, UK (June 17-20)

Post by K-Holed » Fri Jun 20, 2008 2:34 am

If the band are reading the forum ... any chance of Avalance tomorrow night? :)

I know it's a bit cheeky, but if you don't ask, you don't get :D
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Re: Manchester, UK (June 17-20)

Post by lilly » Fri Jun 20, 2008 3:13 am

Just got back to Sheffield after Thursday night's concert and have been reflecting on how different it was from Wednesday. Just as wonderful, just as smooth, similar playlist (but no FBR) but Leonard made it feel like he had a found a new way to sing almost every song - I can't explain it; he just made subtle changes to the phrasing and the emphasis on different words and the songs came out so fresh. Sharon and the Webb sisters seemed inclined to do the same and to use Leonard's own description, Hattie and Charley, If it be Your Will was truly sublime.

It was such a privilege to be at these 2 concerts and I am so grateful to the Forum for providing the information when it was needed, so that genuine fans could stand a chance of getting tickets. Thank you Jarkko and Co.

And hey, Suemerlyn - the stalls were jumping tonight and thanks for the beer on Wed - we owe you.

Not quite 4 in the morning yet, but I don't think I'll be asleep before then and even I am, I'll still be smiling as I dream ...

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Re: Manchester, UK (June 17-20)

Post by Waxy's Dargle » Fri Jun 20, 2008 3:18 am

Can anybody post this concert on standard torrent - I can't get a dimeadozen account!

Would be most grateful
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