Isle of Wight 1970 release (October 2009) - all the details

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bridger15
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Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Post by bridger15 » Tue Oct 20, 2009 7:44 am

I just came back from seeing the IOW screening at a movie theater - big screen - superb sound - large audience that applauded at the end - absolutely thrilling!!!

And today, Amazon sent an email confirmation that my IOW order was shipped.

'O happy day.
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Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Post by B4real » Tue Oct 20, 2009 2:21 pm

Hi Elcord,

Phew :roll: Well I'm glad you got all that off MY chest :razz: Yes, it is so frustrating in Australia. But I have just seen "One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong" on you tube with NO copywrite attached.
http://www.youtube.comwatch?v=6DaIt1Vdiks

We'll be OK when our CD/DVD arrives.
Regards
Last edited by B4real on Sun Oct 25, 2009 1:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Post by bridger15 » Tue Oct 20, 2009 6:03 pm

B4real wrote:Hi Elcord,

Phew :roll: Well I'm glad you got all that off MY chest :razz: Yes, it is so frustrating in Australia. But I have just seen "One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong" on you tube with NO copywrite attached.
http://www.youtube.comwatch?v=5w56PweFqJA

We'll be OK when our CD/DVD arrives.
Regards

Have just checked above link (which is correct) and IE can't display page from where I am - I hope it works for you.
Did you try the play link on DR HGuy's website?
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Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Post by Evie B » Tue Oct 20, 2009 7:11 pm

Thanks Sirius, that was a great report. Things were 'different' in those days, weren't they? Elfin Safety... wot???

Went to HMV first (big shop in Cambridge) they still hadn't got their's in - knew the vibes were bad when the girl behind the counter asked me to spell Leonard Cohen. I told them I was going home to order it from Play.com, so there - they looked really worried (not). I didn't though, couldn't wait, trecked off across town to Fopp. Assistant was great, went off down to the store room to see if it was with a new delivery - it was. Hurray.

Shame if Leonard is missing out on sales because they aren't in the shops on time.

Off to watch/listen to it now.

Evie B :D
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Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Post by James T » Tue Oct 20, 2009 7:54 pm

HMV Manchester (the biggest outside London) didn't have it on shelves yet either. Nor did Fopp Manchester or Piccadilly Records. So, I'll have to wait.
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Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Post by sirius » Tue Oct 20, 2009 8:12 pm

Leonard Cohen at Isle of Wight: It's time to cry and cry and laugh about it all again

The Salt Lake Tribune
by Rudy Mesicek


Oct 19 2009

http://www.sltrib.com/entertainment/ci_13594886

Leonard Cohen's new release. Rated Grade: A-

What is it that happens between a man and a woman?

Beneath the lyrical exuberance and keen melodies that make up Leonard Cohen's world of song lie some brutal intimations. By way of a saint who teaches "that the duty of lovers is to tarnish the golden rule." By way of a letter brimming with mournful gratitude in which the singer addresses his woman's one-time lover with the ravishing line "Thank you, for the trouble you took from her eyes." By the devastating lilt of the thought that "maybe love's like the smoke, beyond all repair."

On August 31, 1970, at 2 a.m., on the fifth day of the third incarnation of the Isle of Wight music festival, Cohen took the stage in what was the event's penultimate performance (now available on CD and DVD as " Leonard Cohen Live at the Isle of Wight 1970 ") wedged between Jimmy Hendrix and Richie Havens. Dubbed Desolation Row, the largish concert setting on the famed British island had been graced with conditions so inclement, a mood so turbulent and pilgrims so abundant, that an aura of one-uppism was duly in the air. Woodstock, which, depending on one's aesthetics and politics, became either the apex or the nadir of such gatherings just a year before, loomed large. The lineup was rich and eclectic, ranging from The Who to Miles Davis, and including sets by Kris Kristofferson, Joan Baez and Judy Collins.

The latter three are among the musicians tapped to bring anecdotal immediacy to the DVD version of the recording -- which fact, while not unwelcome, is not essential to its success.

The audio counterpart, which is superior by virtue of its fidelity to chronology, is a curious example of how true a guide an aural experience can be for the mind's eye, which cannot but visualize a weary-eyed poet standing alone, declaiming deeply-felt lines into formidable darkness -- which, it so happens, is the essential, lingering image provided by the film.

By turns of phrase so sharp and disconsolate as to stir the coldest of sensibilities, the grocer of despair swiftly gets the attention of an exhausted, volatile and nearly invisible crowd of 600, 000. There's a perceptible calm settling in as the set moves on, as each melancholy verse builds with an irony that forces the corners of one's mouth to turn ever-so-slightly up. The voice penetrating and vital, bitter but full of worldly appetite, and inflected by the sense that much is unrequited, or, if requited, unsustainable ... but, regardless, worth troubling oneself with.

Though the well-honed band and backup singers at times enhance, they mostly seem to respectfully recede. Devoid of percussive interference, the core quality of each song often feels expressed by one guitar and one voice: A culmination of songwriting that echoes Yeats' notion about that enviable realm of the creative process where the mind has had the fortune of moving uninterrupted upon silence.

Again and again, the effect alternates between corporeal and spiritual. As when Cohen plays the melody of "One of Us Cannot Be Wrong" by whistling through his clenched hands. As when he shares his sense of yearning in the near-farewell remark, "maybe this is good music to make love to."

Those with whom Cohen resonates will find the Isle of Wight recording an affirmation that the strength of his early work was tested and established nearly forty years ago.

They are the ones who will "cry and cry and laugh about it all again."

And they are the ones bound to drink to that and sing to that and keep keeping on to that for some time to come.

-- Rudy Mesicek
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Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Post by brightnow » Tue Oct 20, 2009 9:36 pm

bridger15 wrote:I just came back from seeing the IOW screening at a movie theater - big screen - superb sound - large audience that applauded at the end - absolutely thrilling!!!

And today, Amazon sent an email confirmation that my IOW order was shipped.

'O happy day.
Does anybody know if there are any more screenings? Perhaps something on the East Coast? :D
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Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Post by Russell Harvey » Tue Oct 20, 2009 11:24 pm

Absolutley exquisite. A trip back in time. I was a seventeen year old Art student in Bristol. I travelled with my companion Joe on his Lambretta to the Isle of Wight. I was there on that hillside, 40 yrs ago, what magic.
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Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Post by elcord » Wed Oct 21, 2009 3:43 am

Thanks for the empathy B4real - and the link, though it didn't work for me. And thanks for the suggestion bridger15 but that link didn't work either. However, all is not despair, I've just phoned my local JB HiFi store and they have it on the shelf! I'll rush over after work and get a copy. :D
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Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Post by brightnow » Wed Oct 21, 2009 4:27 am

It's here! It's here! Amazon.com delivered promised...
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Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Post by bridger15 » Wed Oct 21, 2009 4:52 am

brightnow wrote:
bridger15 wrote:I just came back from seeing the IOW screening at a movie theater - big screen - superb sound - large audience that applauded at the end - absolutely thrilling!!!

Does anybody know if there are any more screenings? Perhaps something on the East Coast? :D
There was basically little advertising here in the Los Angeles area, other than a preview trailer in the same theater and a mention on the radio the same day. I always check the art house type cinemas online to see their schedule for the following weeks. That's how I found it. It was screened on one day only, one showing only, a Monday evening. I hope this helps.
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Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Post by Phantom Stranger » Wed Oct 21, 2009 5:14 am

My initial thoughts on the Blu-ray release are below. I also picked up the CD/DVD package, and love the mastering on the CD by Mark Wilder. I criticized his remastering of the early Cohen albums, but he knocked this project out of the ballpark. One of the best remastering jobs I have heard this year. There is not a hint of limiting or compression. No troublesome, exaggerated treble-energy or digital-sounding edginess on the cd, the dvd, or the Blu-ray. An exquisite listening experience overall.

Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Murray Lerner has unearthed quite a gem in making this film featuring Leonard Cohen's mesmerizing Isle of Wight performance from 1970. The 64-minute film deftly weaves modern interviews from relevant performers and associates of Leonard Cohen with the vintage musical performance by Cohen and his band, the affectionately named “Army” comprised of such stalwarts as legendary music producer Bob Johnston.

The audio quality is a sonic revelation, obliterating my expectations for a live multi-track recording from 1970 staged in front of 600,000 fans that had gotten rowdier as the festival progressed. Jimi Hendrix had performed his set before Cohen, with the crowd setting various things on fire like a piano and the scaffolding surrounding the stage. But the music was not to be denied, as Leonard Cohen slowly took the stage after they found a replacement piano and organ.

At 4 a.m. on August 31, 1970, the man introduced to the crowd as “a novelist, a poet, an author, a singer”, began his intimate performance that encompassed most of the hits that had earned him acclaim, from “Bird On the Wire” to “Suzanne” and other well-known songs mainly from his first two albums. A nice surprise are the short stories Cohen shares and poem fragments he uses to introduce many of the songs. The crowd, who had booed previous performers like Kris Kristofferson, sat in rapt attention to the mostly acoustic set. My only quibble is that the complete audio performance by Leonard Cohen is not included on the Blu-ray. The CD version includes a couple of songs not shown in the documentary. I have no idea if the footage simply did not exist or was simply left out at the director's discretion.

The Blu-ray, on a single BD-25, is transferred from the original 16mm camera negative to 1080i. This is not footage that is going to blow viewers away by its visual quality. In fact on an absolute basis, the BD is well below the norm expected for high-definition titles. Prepare for an experience of limited visual quality. It is true that this Blu-ray replicates as closely as possible the 16mm film source the concert was shot in. The modern interviews, with such luminaries as Judy Collins and Joan Baez, are all in excellent picture quality, but do remind the viewer of the inherent limitations in the concert footage. Still, it looks like much of the other concert footage I have seen from the era on the Blu-ray format. The only notable defect is the continual appearance of an ultra-thin vertical black line that runs down the middle of the camera image on tight close-ups of Leonard Cohen. It looks to be the result of a continuous gate scratch on the original 16mm film. A small emulsion error in the original master also appears in the corner of the frame, later in the concert.

On a technical basis the transfer looks perfect without a hint of artifacting, revealing every limitation and nuance of the source material. The AVC encode consistently runs at very high bitrates, most of the time in the thirties. I would estimate an average video bitrate of 31 Mbps, which allows the fuzzy film shot in questionable lighting conditions to reveal its full resolution on Blu-ray. The image has a low-contrast appearance that is soft and has moments of poor focus. The black levels have some minor exposure problems, revealing a bit of noise. This is not a transfer with remarkable shadow detail, or even average detail, but looks on par with other concert footage I have viewed from the period. The Woodstock documentary on Blu-ray has similar picture quality. Tiny white specks that look like flash bulbs do pepper the image from time to time. It rarely becomes a distraction though.

The picture quality is tolerable enough to enjoy the real benefit of this BD release, the uncompressed high-resolution stereo PCM track at 24-bit/96 kHz and the lossless 5.1 Dolby TrueHD soundtrack. Both are simply spellbinding and really the only way one should listen to this material. Mastering engineer Mark Wilder has done an outstanding job. The music shows absolutely no signs of limiting or compression, and reproduces without fault this live audio document. I wish most music releases were mastered this carefully. There is not a hint of thinness to the sound, and the fidelity is surprisingly great for a project of this nature. At times the songs approach the quality of the studio versions in dynamics and clarity. The producer did not attempt to cover up any deficits in the original recording though. A few microphone pops occur and occasionally instruments bleed into other channels. The audience is barely audible most of the time except during the musical interludes. With both SACD and DVD-Audio being commercially irrelevant for the major music labels, this disc is the best fidelity we will ever see this music presented in a commercial medium.

A lot of care and thought has gone into the packaging and presentation of this release. Included is a 16-page booklet that has wonderful photographs and top-notch liner notes by Sylvie Simmons. The booklet reproduces the same content of the booklet included in the CD/DVD release, but in a much larger format that is easier to read and enjoy. It really makes the numerous archival photographs easier to appreciate. It is rare to see such entertaining and insightful liner notes that significantly add to the product, but that is plainly the case here. Aside from a menu, there are no extras on the disc itself.

Currently this BD is an exclusive title at the Internet retailer Amazon. Fans of Leonard Cohen need to go out and pick this item up immediately. The concert is a window to a much younger looking-and-sounding Leonard Cohen. The sound quality alone is enough reason to buy it, for Cohen truly invests emotion and vigor into the performance that puts a new spin on songs for fans only familiar with the album versions. His vocal inflection adds a bit of emotional weariness to "The Partisan" for example that is simply not there on the album version. The only lackluster performance is "Famous Blue Raincoat", where it sounds as if Cohen's voice grows fatigued. The backing musicians all give splendid accompaniment to the music, though the camera rarely shows them aside from the two comely female singers at Cohen's side.
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Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Post by jarkko » Wed Oct 21, 2009 7:05 am

Great review of the BluRay release - nothing to add! I got the US BluRay disc yesterday, and noticed that it has no region code. It worked well in my standard BR player!
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Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Post by davidrichards » Wed Oct 21, 2009 2:19 pm

CD/DVD arrived yesterday courtesy of Amazon.co.uk.
Only two words to say.
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Re: Isle of Wight release (Oct 20) - all details

Post by hobyrne » Wed Oct 21, 2009 4:29 pm

Got mine yesterday, also through Amazon.

Brilliant!
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