CONCERT REPORT: London, O2 Arena (July 17) [merged threads]

Canada and Europe (May 11 - August 3, 2008). Concert reports, set lists, photos, media coverage, multimedia links, recollections...
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Re: London July 17

Post by damellon » Sat Jul 19, 2008 11:57 pm

mickey_one wrote:I saw Che with William.
Michael - tell all. I'm desperate to hear. :)
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.

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Re: London July 17

Post by confetti » Sun Jul 20, 2008 12:17 am

damellon wrote:
mickey_one wrote:I saw Che with William.
Michael - tell all. I'm desperate to hear. :)
william is alive!!!! :lol: :lol: :lol:
"I needed so much, to have nothing to touch - I've always been greedy that way"
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Re: London July 17

Post by Henning » Sun Jul 20, 2008 12:23 am

Rumours reached my house that the lawyer mentioned me in a poem. Be it for good or for bad, I was there somehow and didn't pay a penny.
1979: Frankfurt | 1980: Frankfurt | 1985: Wiesbaden - Munich | 1988: Munich - Nuremberg | 1993: Frankfurt
2008: Dublin - Manchester - Amsterdam - Loerrach - Berlin - Frankfurt - Oberhausen - London
2009: Cologne - Barcelona | 2010: Wiesbaden - Dortmund
2012: Ghent - Moenchengladbach - Verona - Lisbon | 2013: Oberhausen - Mannheim - Pula
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Re: London July 17

Post by Rabbit » Sun Jul 20, 2008 1:54 am

Bela wrote:...I, for one, have no doubt he's also doing it for the money.
Hi Bela, don't get me wrong. I have no doubt that money is a very important consideration in Leonard's decision to tour. But as that interview makes clear, his other recent successes (Book Of Longing, art exhibition, etc) meant that he didn't NEED to tour.

But whatever the reason that finally tipped him over the decision line, I'm simply thrilled that he's out there, enjoying himself, and bringing so much joy to all us fans.

We are all blessed by Leonard.
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Re: London July 17

Post by judereed » Sun Jul 20, 2008 1:58 am

I’ve been waiting for this all my life, since the devastation of missing LC’s last UK tour in 1983, as everybody told me I was too young to go, and I didn’t have much money in those days. What I had, I spent on his records. Yes, they were called records in those days, when I was thirteen.

Thank you so much for coming back, Mr Cohen. You are truly awesome!
As were his famous last words: “Here’s a man still working for your smile.”

For a full review, please follow my link:
Last edited by judereed on Sun Jul 20, 2008 11:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: London July 17

Post by Habie » Sun Jul 20, 2008 3:42 am

Wasn't that a miraculous concert??
In a neon nightmare of globalised logos, the perfection of poetry, musicianship and grace, yet again... clearly, Leonard can do anything. Anywhere. He can make a corporate vault full of 18,000 people seem like he and his musicians popped round to say hello, just to me, in my garden.
Before the concert, it was funny sitting in the fast food thouroughfare watching fellow Cohenites wander round and round in a circle with the same stupor and wary expressions as us : how did we end up HERE? How will there be poetry in such a place?
But of course, there was.

A few personal highlights from Thursday:

- Leonard's delivery of a single line from Bird on the Wire [‘...A pretty woman leaning on her darkened door...’] that was such a soul-wrenching, spine-tingling rendition it seemed to come from the core of the earth
- Watching my companion, Nadine, my closest female friend and the wisest person I know, becoming bright-eyed with joy at discovering what Leonard can do, from any side of intimacy.... (her only surprise was the audience - she is French and had never encountered such a physically immobile crowd at a concert)
- Leonard’s greeting comment; he clearly felt the same as we did about the venue (particularly delightful : the effect of approaching the O2 by boat, seeing LEONARD COHEN in huge scrolling letters projected onto the towers.... then finding the words immediately replaced by... NESTLE)
- Noticing journalist Mariella Frostrup and remembering that 15 years ago when I last saw Leonard in London, she was sitting just in front of me
-The front page of today’s Times - a portrait of Leonard's face, to illustrate an article about our Chancellor who was at the concert (the Guardian makes the same connection on an inside page)
- Yesterday, the Evening Standard printing its ecstatic review of the concert on Page 3, in the News section – for is it not news, indeed, that a poet came to London?
- Meeting Willy and Wijbe, who I have bumped into at every Cohen event sincec Hydra, including in the middle of Trafalgar Square the day after the Book of Longing concert... (Wijbe and Willy Lageveen...Jarkko, Eija and Rauli Arjatsalo... Padma....Henning... don't we Cohenites have cool names?!)
- Seeing Leonard's huge smile all evening (that was the best part of all – to feel that the joy is mutual - hey, even the addiction seems to be mutual, since he’s coming back in the Autumn).
(Maybe he won't ever leave again...).
(OK, I take that back - I wouldn't wish a Dylan existence of constant touring on anyone, he deserves some peace... oh, I typed 'some peach' by mistake just then. He deserves peace AND peaches...)

(The only problem for the rest of us is, how to tolerate other concerts now? Ordinary ones, where the ego comes on stage before the singer, scenery and costumes change constantly to cover the fact that the performer can't conjure new worlds on his/her own...?)

In 1993 I sent Leonard a letter, after his concerts in London; the only fan letter I’ve ever sent. I found it again today, and was surprised how much still felt true, even though we're all older, Perla and Julie are replaced by Hattie, Charley and Sharon, the musicians are even finer than before, the voice even deeper. (Having said that, the banter in those days was even more plentiful and varied, as referenced in my letter).

With apologies for my hubris and the ridiculous length of this post, I hope you won't mind if I attach that letter below; following a comment from a friend I just thoght it might resonate with others who were at the Albert Hall. (And after the joys of this tour, nothing is forbidden, right?)


For the personal attention of Mr Leonard Cohen. c/o Memphis Music, Vienna.

Dear Mr Cohen, May 1993

Thank you so much for coming to London. Such a little thing, but you made the nightmares gentler.
Thank you for the in/fusion and the illusion, for your glass half empty and half full, for the smudged air and the moist ladies, or was it the moist air and the smudged ladies; I forget. And, though we know it doesn't help, thanks also for the lie in your voice.

Unexpectedly, exquisitely, absolutely, you did "unify our deep concerns" the other night at the Albert Hall. You asked not to know what they were. Such a tease - in this tunnel of outrage you must have known some of us would respond in kind. Forgive me, I have ignored your request, and write to you now, all the way to the waltz in Vienna.

Do you object ? I am shell-shocked by your tenderness.

I had never seen you live, I came to your concert unknowing. How can a singer be so generous after so long?
Fifteen years ago, when we were sixteen, we sang Suzanne on Hydra, and then in France we sang L'Etranger in French with Graeme Allwright.
My only other passion-concert was Paco Ibañez singing Lorca's poems in Paris, a long time ago. ["La luna vino a la fragua / Con su polison de nardos..."]

The return to civilian life since you left has been tuneful, happy with melancholy - bearable even. Everywhere still is the dark voice sexier than sex and its attendant angels (Perla and Julie - pearls and jewels, they are well-named). The tangible texture of poetic languor casting a sheen over everything.

I have your music, but you don't have mine.
Indeed, not a day passes that you don't not think of me!
And down here, we have been speaking prose all our lives.

(Who shall I say is calling? 30 yrs, name Habie or Habiba. English out of Austria-Hungary/Palestine/Africa/ France. Loves Leonard Cohen, Freud, Truffaut, Ozu, Krak des Chevaliers, poets, photographs, thighs…. Film-maker, analysand, in thrall, dark, surprised to be doing this. Your Fan).

I used to search for the Absolute with my body, but my lover has gone. He said it was closing time. He accompanied me anyway to your first concert; a ghost with his hand on my knee. I came to your second concert alone, sat near the stage, saw your face. You were the wire, and Perla/Julie the bird. It was so lovely.

Yesterday, there was a meeting in London to commemorate the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. An old Jew who survived came to talk to us, 'In Sorrow And In Anger' he said. You would have liked his telling of the ghosts of Jews past - he too was generous, and he too knew his gift wouldn't help. But he did not commit suicide, and has spoken his memory many times. He is 85 and on his brow is a smile as warm as his pain is cold. Maybe he loves women.

(... how amusing it is to see male British writers, in our London newspapers, attempting to respond to you. A man of 58, graceful and still in love, a poet, right here in the middle of London. Surely not...? This can't be cricket. Is This a Man?)

New Skin For The Old Ceremony is the poetry I love most in the world. But I was still surprised by your Albert Hall concerts. How did you know about...?
How did you get so close to...? How ...?

I hope Europe has been good to you, and that North America will also be.

I am sending this to my father's birthplace, hoping it will reach you and that I have not imposed upon you too greatly.

Bevakashah, come back soon.

Yours sincerely,

Dublin June 15, Manchester June 20, London July 17, Big Chill August 3, Birmingham November 22, Brighton November 28
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Re: London July 17

Post by jglBB » Sun Jul 20, 2008 4:29 am

Not sure I've understood everything but, God, was it good or not?
Thanks Habie.
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Re: London July 17

Post by Habie » Sun Jul 20, 2008 4:46 am

Re-reading my crazy post (posted in the middle of the night... should have curtailed it shouldn't I?), the letter to LC is full of references to his comments in between songs at the London concerts of '93, so probably impenetrable if you weren't there... sorry about that!
I must stop posting, or try to do it more, er, minimally.
night night. x
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Re: London July 17

Post by yhtrownu » Sun Jul 20, 2008 5:37 am

Habie, Your post was very touching, and I appreciate it very much.

As this tour is my first, your post sheds light on a concert history, that deepens my appreciation for this tour.

Thanks. :)
Manchester, June 18 2008
Manchester, June 19 2008
London O2, July 17 2008
London O2, November 14 2008
Royal Albert Hall, November 17 2008
Mercedes Benz World, Weybridge, July 11 2009
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Re: London July 17

Post by linmag » Sun Jul 20, 2008 1:38 pm

Habie, that was a lovely post. You were quite right that much of what you wrote all that time ago still hangs true for Leonard's performances on this tour. And don't ever apologise for expressing what you think or feel on this forum - it's what it's for!

1972: Leeds, 2008: Manchester, Lyon, London O2, 2009: Wet Weybridge, 2012: Hop Farm/Wembley Arena
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Re: London July 17

Post by zippa » Sun Jul 20, 2008 1:57 pm

Hi, Can anyone tell me what is was like getting the tube at the end of the concert. Because of a dodgy leg I had to miss the encores in order to get to the tube early but have booked Nov 13th and definitely don't want to miss them again. :?:
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Re: London July 17

Post by Pete » Sun Jul 20, 2008 2:06 pm

It is now day+3 and am still emotionally charged
day+4 looms and it will be a Monday and I have to go to work :(
and people will ask how it was
and they'll not understand
the words I use
are not the ones they listen
and the emails waiting to be opened
will talk of
and meetings
and policies
and targets
and outcomes
and these are not words in my head during this day+3
so I'm going to stop typing now
I will lose this day
within me
each day is day 0
but no one will notice
but it doesn't matter

1974: Brighton Dome 1976: Birmingham Town Hall 1993: London RAH 2008: Manchester Opera House, London O2, Matlock Bandstand, Birmingham NEC 2009: Liverpool Echo Arena 2013 Birmingham
Midnight Choir
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Re: London July 17

Post by Midnight Choir » Sun Jul 20, 2008 2:08 pm

I left in a fairly average way. Didn't hang about for any great time, but I didn't get away super-early because I was waiting to meet someone. We headed straight for the tube and it looked pretty stacked up. But we walked to where the queue looked least arduous for getting into the station, and it moved quite steadily. We got in pretty quickly. I don't know if we were lucky. I heard an announcement about holding people outside for a bit, but that may have happened just before we got there as well; not sure. Again, it looked extremely busy inside the station but things moved steadily and we were on a train before we knew it.

So all I can tell you is that for us the experience looked initially like it was going to be bad, but turned out painless. If you are less proactive in making sure you queue in a sensible place, or if you linger unduly after the performers have left the stage, then it might take longer.

Hope that helped.

Ps we got on the eastbound train to Stratford. It looked like the quieter option; quite a lot more people headed for the westbound platform. But not so many, I would have thought, that would have made it much different from a usual rush hour scenario. Maybe some would have had to have waited another 2-3 minutes for the following train.
2008: O2 London - July 17 | O2 London - November 13 | O2 London - November 14 | RAH London - November 17 | 2009: Antwerp - July 4 | Weybridge - July 11
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Re: London July 17

Post by Pete » Sun Jul 20, 2008 2:24 pm

zippa wrote:Hi, Can anyone tell me what is was like getting the tube at the end of the concert. Because of a dodgy leg I had to miss the encores in order to get to the tube early but have booked Nov 13th and definitely don't want to miss them again. :?:
Hi Zippa
Liz and I were one of the last ones out of the arena as our block was furthest away from the main exit.
By the time we got to the tube entrance it was about 11;45 and there was only one door open to the main concourse ..but this was on purpose as it helped control the number of people inside. I think it was all regulated as there were flashing signs saying 'controlled crowd control' or something like that.
So everyone was able to walk slowly without being crushed towards this door and at times everyone stopped as part of the crowd control..there were tube personnel ensuring that things were in order. it took us about 15 minutes to get to the door once we joined the queue (the queue being about 10 people wide but this gradually converged to about 4 wide (the width of the door!!) ..and like i said..there was no crush. The queue behind us wasn't too bad (about another 10 rows deep?)
Once inside there was plenty of room and everyone made their way to the escalators...some running, others walking but no crush at all.
We were travelling east to Canning Town and when we got to the platform I admit it was packed..a train arrived and everyone got on like sardines. Liz and I didnt want to play sardines so waited for the next one which duly arrived a few minutes later and there were just a few of us who got on to what was quite an empty train.

maybe we were lucky or maybe it was because we hung around on level 4 watching averyone go and slowly made our way.

If you waited like we did then it would probably be Ok..or even have a drink in the O2 if you're not in a depends where you have to get to and by what time.
Hope this helps

1974: Brighton Dome 1976: Birmingham Town Hall 1993: London RAH 2008: Manchester Opera House, London O2, Matlock Bandstand, Birmingham NEC 2009: Liverpool Echo Arena 2013 Birmingham
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Re: London July 17

Post by A.Sukitu » Sun Jul 20, 2008 2:26 pm

Hi, zippa -
I agree with Midnight Choir - that the tube was bearable. I am a very slow walker and I managed ok. It took me under an hour to get to the Strand in London (1 tube change and 1 bus). When I got to the tube outside the 02 there were signs saying that there was crowd slowing in progress, but I got right through, and straight on to a tube (and got a seat!). I left the 02 after all of the encores and when I was convinced that the concert was over. So, I'd say to go by tube; it seemed fine - and I was amazed.
(of course, another way -if you are heading into town - is to go by boat. I heard that the boat to Westminster was empty and fast).
.... looking forward to 13/11!
"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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