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 jasmina » Sun Jul 20, 2008 2:29 pm

What to say about the concert - Leonard is GENIUS - his voice, performance, good looking, so professional, so genteel :!: :!:

I'm very happy because I was a part of this great event :D

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Re: London July 17

Post by Deena » Sun Jul 20, 2008 5:03 pm

Hi Pilgrims!

After Manchester and Glastonbury this was my third and final audience with Leonard for the summer. As ColinD says, the superlatives have all been used up (and I also agree with every one of them).

In some ways it was, for me, the best of the three; I was less tense (the excitement of seeing him in Manchester for the first time in so many years was almost unbearable, the anxiety re how Glastonbury would receive him (unfounded) and the battle to get to the front...I was personally in a calmer and more receptive frame of mind this time.

Every song, every word, was a jewel...I particularly loved Gypsy Wife; every time on this tour I´ve heard Suzanne I´ve been amazed at how it´s like hearing it anew; Whither Thou Goest was a surprise and a delight and Hallelujah and Anthem both had me soaring up above the multitudes and floating towards the stage...

talking of the stage, I left block 106 at the encore and went down to the front along with some friends and many others, where we stood ecstatically singing along - what an incredible vibe - the warmth and joy was practically tangible. First the security people tried to pick us off one by one, "Will you return to your seat?" "No." Then they sent for reinforcements and people were herded back, apart from those of us who tried to make ourselves invisible by standing close to the end of the rows. I owe an enormous thank you to the lovely tall man, row 4? who gently grabbed me and pulled me in front of him so I was no longer ´blocking the emergency aisle´. This is not the first time this tour I have been moved by the kindness of a fellow Leonard fan. For those that may resent those of us who ended up standing at the front when you moved mountains and broke the bank to legitimately buy a top seat, I can only say sorry, but it had to be done. I´m four foot ten and didn´t block anyone´s view. I just had to get near him - it was a reflex action.

Part of my life´s work has been introducing Leonard to just about everyone I meet that doesn´t know him. Many have become fans, a few misguided souls haven´t. It was so gratifying that every single one of my friends who I urged to attend this concert agreed that it was phenomenal.

Whenever I picture Leonard literally skipping off the stage, my heart skips.
Whenever I remember his final words ´still working for your smile´my whole being smiles.

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Re: London July 17

Post by timmileoakseagull » Sun Jul 20, 2008 8:20 pm

I took my father to this show, having obtained tickets for his fathers day gift. His reaction on opening them was matched by mine during large parts of the evening. Never before has an artist moved me to tears on so many occasions at a live show, Dance Me...set the scene, and I sobbed though Suzanne such was the beautiful delivery. This was such a magical occasion and I am so pleased my dad was there to share it with me. We were over the moon to discover that he is returning in November and will be playing our home town of Brighton which will be a more intimate (is that really possible?) given the size of the venue. Still on a high days later!
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Re: London July 17

Post by paulmac » Sun Jul 20, 2008 10:02 pm

My 1st post. I cannot add much to the previous comments but I just wanted another place to express the pleasure I experienced on Thurs. He & the band were absolutely wonderful. I have enjoyed many many gigs over the years but my 2 favourite were Leonard in 1978 (I'm sure I remember him sitting on the front of the stage, after 3 or 4 encores, & saying "well, I've only got my hotel to go back to so I may as well carry on playing") & 1985. Now I have a 3rd to add to those 2. Although my expectations were high because of those 2 concerts I also had his age in the back of mind. I needn't have worried. Expectations were met & more. He seems even better now. It was a privilege. Hairs on the back of my neck have almost
gone back to normal & I've nearly stopped crying (with joy).
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Re: Leonards O2 concert on 17 July...

Post by Rodin » Sun Jul 20, 2008 10:19 pm

I'm on first name terms with Leonard.

I shouted to him in Manchester "Hey Lennie"

He replied "What do you want twat'?
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Re: London July 17

Post by hydriot » Mon Jul 21, 2008 12:56 am

I've mentioned in another post my disappointment at the way so many people treated the concert venue as a picnic site. Personally, I much preferred Manchester. But there were highlights, some more surprising than others:

1. seeing Leonard (literally) skip off stage, like an excited ten year old allowed to stay up way past his bedtime;
2. the screens allowing us to see the raw passion in Hattie Webb's face as she sang;
3. the Tapas meal (thank you so much Padma);
4. at the Trafalgar, lovely conversation about literature with a charming Pole
“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: London July 17

Post by twiggersue » Mon Jul 21, 2008 2:06 pm

Hi everyone,
Thank you Padma, Harry and David for making the day unforgettable!! It was a nice way to spend the day before the concert with all of you. And Rays Jazz Café will sure be a place to return to next time I come to London.

Jarkko, Eija, Padma, Harry, David, Annie, Lizzie, Colin, Meriel, Antonio, Paola, Peter, Jonathon... I cannot mention everybody by name but it feels like I got a whole bunch of new friends that day :D and I'm so happy I was able to spend this marvellous day with so many wonderful people. Hope to see you again in the future.

About the concert I have not words enough to describe it, only that it blew me away and was much more than I even expected. And I had really big expectations! This was better and more fantastic than I could imagine. When he recited A thousand kisses deep, the air was almost explosive with the intimacy and closeness, which is amazing thinking 20 000 people together in this venue - it was true magic. The sound was incredible and his band as well. This was a concert as good as it can get!!
But I agree wih everyone in this forum saying that the venue is not a nice place because of all the coming and going and eating and drinking, disturbing things when you want to listen.

Now I'm hoping that Stockholm and Helsinki will be added to the fall tour because this I want see again and bring my daughters to see as well.
Otherwise...maybe London again in November!
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O2 Concert reviewed

Post by misterluke » Mon Jul 21, 2008 7:07 pm

Dear all,

I thought you might like to see this piece we ran on Leonard's magnificent gig at the O2 Arena. I don't know about anyone else, but that was the first time I've been to a performance in such a big venue with such incredible atmosphere, ... enaissance

thank you for your time,

Luke and The Quietus
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Re: Leonards O2 concert on 17 July...

Post by lumbkoz » Mon Jul 21, 2008 10:12 pm

Leonard Cohen was in the O2 on Thursday 17th July 2008, and Mount Sinai was in the audience. This was the most powerful and impeccably produced concert one would give their right arm for. Mr Cohen, in his thinner coat of human flesh, gave his all to the rapturous applause of a humanity below that was so hungry for reconciliation with a world of peace and hope and sheer beauty. There are great mosques, unfinished cathedrals and humble temples of all kinds of faith and there is Mr Cohen's music and lyrics that contradict his own melancholy personna; the man is an optimist - the man is a giant and that night, he touched all our perfect bodies with his mind.
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Re: O2 Concert reviewed

Post by Rabbit » Tue Jul 22, 2008 2:16 am

misterluke wrote:I thought you might like to see this piece we ran on Leonard's magnificent gig at the O2 Arena...
Luke, that's a nice review, but I have to take you to task on one comment. Leonard's eyes tired? I'm always struck by the sparkle, depth and energy in Leonard's eyes. The eyes are the window to the soul, it is said, and Leonard's eyes provide a great view of his.
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Re: London, July 17 [merged threads]

Post by Hylton » Tue Jul 22, 2008 8:02 am

Just descending to cloud nine!

I was mesmerised by Leonard and his nine friends on the stage, thank you to them all.

I cannot match the eloquence of the previous posts in describing this magnificent occasion.
The atmosphere was electric (the love of his fans for him was palpable).
Probably the most poignant moment for me was when Leonard said "Thank you for keeping my songs alive";
thank you Leonard for giving us these treasures to cherish.

The only negative comment I have is that the evening had to end.....

Thanks again to Leonard, the band and all his fans.
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darling, i never knew you cared!

Post by sebmelmoth2003 » Tue Jul 22, 2008 12:57 pm

yesterday's london evening standard reported that alistair darling - the uk's beleaguered finance minister, attended.

according to the standard his favourite song was `everybody knows (the plague is coming)` but that might be journalistic spin.

there was also a letter in the standard from ian shuttleworth, editor/publisher of theatre record - accompanied by a large photo

here's the text of the letter :

theatre magic

even though i and several thousand like me could scarcely see leonard cohen with the naked eye in the vast airport terminal of the O2 last week he managed to make his three-hour performances feel personal. the same with the showmanship - cohen knows how many of his lines are hokey and so do the audience, yet in the bond between the us the event assumed a kind of transcendent meaning.

i was on my feet three times during the evening (i see more than 300 shows a year, mainly theatre and comedy and stand to applaud maybe once every couple of years) and in tears five times - not least remembering how as a four-year-old, i used to put on my sister's songs of loenard cohen on the dansette and listen to suzanne...usually if the truth be told at 45rpm.

now i am 45, my sister's watching from a cloud, plucking along with cohen cohort hattie webb on a harp; the indie label i ran in the 1980s is putting out legacy-edition CD releases of its original cassette titles; and we're pretty much all trying in various ways to deal with the fact that rock culture, in its broadest sense is edging out of the far side of middle age. lou reed is a pensioner, john lydon is a step-grandfather - and leonard cohen seems only to hecome more elegant and gracious in each performance.
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Re: London, July 17 [merged threads]

Post by ariadne » Tue Jul 22, 2008 8:15 pm

Well I finally made it to see the man himself at the 02.

I was quite surprised at how nice the outside part of the arena was with all the bistros, and even the pub we stopped in for a glass of vino had his music on to get everybody in the mood, as if we needed that! :D But I did think it was a nice touch.

The size of the arena itself was slightly too much, having been so used to him serenading me in my living room for so many years- but when he stepped on stage and I looked at the big screen showing him smiling, all was forgiven.

The only thing I found too strange was not having Julie Christensen and Perla Batalla with him. I really got into Leonard in the eighties and especially his music from that time, and they were just always there you know? All the tour footage I watch has them there, as much part of the whole package as he himself, and the harmonies and exquisite chemistry with Julie on every song was just something I adored.

I don't think I gave the Webb sisters a chance really. I thought at the time that they were way too young to be able to deliver in a way that only more mature women can, with a voice of mature timbre exhibiting a little more knowledge of life and its undulating paths of heartbreak. I was sulking so much about Julie Christensen being missing, that I'm going to go to Birmingham and watch them again, this time accepting them as part of the deal. After all, if they're good enough for him, they should have been good enough for me. :)
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Re: London, July 17 [merged threads]

Post by mickey_one » Wed Jul 23, 2008 12:24 am

my entire experience was ruined by the man in the middle seat front row of the centre block downstairs standing up for over 20 seconds during one of the encores and thus spoiling my immediate view from 1 metre behind. what a selfish capitalist running pig-dog he was.
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Re: London, July 17 [merged threads]

Post by Lawrence13 » Wed Jul 23, 2008 12:54 am

Yes I was at the concert, I actually went with my 20 year old daughter who adores Cohen and his music, as of course I do and have done for since 1979.

The audience was a wonderful mix of all age groups from teens to seventies, testament to the appeal, love and respect for the great man. Nothing he did or said that evening did anything to diminish this growing legend, only strengthen it.

It's apt Dave Gilmour of Pink Floyd was apparently there, as Leonard produced his own wall as the evening progressed; a wonder wall of beautiful deep words and wondrous music.

I've never been one for poetry on it's own but when Lenny spoke "A Thousand Kisses Deep" and almost I felt auto-biographical collection of thought in words about his betrayal by his manager/partner or was it Rebecca DeMorney anyhow it was exquisite and moving and as John Aizlewood says everyone of that 20 thousand strong audience were mesmerized.

As Lenny closed with "I Tried To leave you" I sadly reflected how blessed I was to be able to see him for the one and only time.

I dropped my daughter of who lives about five minutes away from me and entered my home ruing on the thought that I'd never see Lenny perform again; lo and behold she phoned me as soon as I walked through the door.

"Dad, guess where you are going on your birthday on November 13th?"

"No. Where" I replied

"To see Leonard Cohen again at the O2, I’ve just received an email confirming the shows"

So once again, dear friends.
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