CONCERT REPORTS: Oakland, April 13, 14 and 15

USA and Canada (April 1 - June 4, 2009). Special concert for fans in NYC (February 19). Concert reports, set lists, photos, media coverage, multimedia links, recollections...
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Re: CONCERT REPORTS: Oakland, April 13, 14 & 15

Postby ladydi » Wed Apr 15, 2009 8:27 pm

Hi Esther,

This is just TOO TOO cool! When I read the initial post and Mirka said it was a woman from the Forum, I started wondering if it was either you or friscogrl. You have made my day :lol: :lol: :lol: . What a clever idea with the polka dot blouse for Closing Time! So original :D I know how you must have felt. Euphoric and frazzled...great desciptive words! Probably a good thing you didn't stand up and rip it off as the cops would probably still have you ;-)

In Phoenix when Mary sat Fred, the Monkey on stage with his little plywood violin it was so cute.....BUT, when Leonard picked him up and then ran off stage with him it was the most awesome high! If I felt that way, I can only imagine how Mary felt!

Your whole story made me feel like I was in there, sitting up front! Enjoy the concert, do you have another blouse?? 8)

All the best,

ps...the woman who rushed on stage to hug Leonard must have viewed that clip from 1970 in Europe when he was making out with a good looking fan :shock:
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Re: CONCERT REPORTS: Oakland, April 13, 14 & 15

Postby AmeliaBedelia » Wed Apr 15, 2009 8:34 pm

gb14772 wrote:
tonymoco wrote:Would someone who was at the Paramount on Monday or Tuesday please confirm whether or not it's possible to pick up "fan club" priced tickets at 6pm (5:50pm!) and then leave to have dinner and be readmitted back in for the show?
Someone had posted that once you pick up your tickets you can't leave the theatre. I'm hoping that's not entirely accurate or that there's a way around it.
Were they letting backpacks etc in?
Is the "bathroom problem" only happening before the show, or at intermission and/or other times as well?
Thank you.
We picked up our tickets on Monday at 6PM, and I asked the ticket takers if we could go in and come back out to eat. They said no way. I don't know of a way around it.
I don't know about backpacks. I didn't see them searching anyone though, but we got in early and were nearly the only ones there.
You can pick up your tickets and leave the theatre and come back as long as you have not entered the building. The reason for this is that they are scanning your ticket upon entry and if they scan them upon re-entry, the scanner response will be "void" because your ticket has essentially already been used and there will be no way to know if you are holding a valid ticket or not.

You can easily find free street parking along 21st between Telegraph and San Pablo, as long as you have your car out of there by midnight.

I took a bag in yesterday. There were people scattered throughout the audience taking pictures/video/audio, so I did the same without reserve. The security is somewhat of a joke - I don't think they care, or maybe Leonard Cohen doesn't care as a way to compensate the ticketing issues from earlier :D People were even taking pictures with a flash (which I personally find a little bit rude because they are SO distracting to everyone else) to no consequence. Towards the end of the night, people were rushing the stage like Beatles fans.

About the woman who ran on stage - like I said, security is hardly present, and the ushers are older women. If you have the nerve and a bit of balance, jumping up there would be no problem. No one is likely to tackle you.

The Monday and Tuesday shows were nearly identical, down to the between-songs banter and jokes.

Everyone who is seeing the show tonight - have a great time!
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Re: CONCERT REPORTS: Oakland, April 13, 14 & 15

Postby latejoiner » Wed Apr 15, 2009 8:48 pm

Outside the Paramount Theater, in economically depressed Oakland, a Please Don’t Pass Me By-looking gentleman stared at the gathering crowd. Who’s playing, he asked. I told him. He didn’t know Leonard Cohen. How much? I told him. He laughed. What kind of music? Kind of like the blues, I said. Then I quoted from The Butcher, “I stuck a silver needle in my arm, it did some good, it did some harm, but the nights they were cold, and it almost kept me warm”. He laughed again, and walked on. I’m glad Leonard and I made him laugh.

Before the show, the Conspiracy of Beards, the Bay Area based Cohen-only a cappella choir, performed in the lobby a half hour for the fans who got in early. Suzanne Holland, who sang at the Montreal, Hydra, and Manhattan Leonard Cohen Events, joined the Beards to sing lead vocal on “The Window”, and we we were all transported in great harmony to the bittersweet land of our common beauty and pride.

At the end of the Beards’ performance, the band members came out for 15 minutes to graciously mingle with us. It was a special treat to meet Javier Mas. Javier would later take this and every other waltz, and play them in every style of passion, as Leonard and all of us would look on in stunned silence, amazement and admiration.

Now for the concert: Leonard skipped onto the stage like he was preparing to lead an aerobics class. All the superlatives lavished upon Leonard and his band, universally in the press and on this Forum, were certainly justified. Sharon Robinson got a tremendous reception from the audience, on introduction and after “Boogie Street”. The Webb Sisters, not to be outdone by Leonard, performed somersaults on stage, and were more than sublime with “If It Be Your Will”, an especially appropriate song during the Passover holidays.

At the end Leonard played a new song “Lullaby”, which I had seen on YouTube from his Austin performance. Tonight’s version was superior in every respect.

My only complaint is that often there was virtually no pause between songs, leaving little time to savor in the magic and memories that the previous song had brought forth. But how else to play so many magnificent songs in three hours.
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SF Chronicle review of Monday night's concert

Postby gb14772 » Wed Apr 15, 2009 8:59 pm

See ... 01&sc=1000.
Music review: Leonard Cohen's graceful gift
Joel Selvin, Chronicle Senior Pop Music Correspondent
Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Leonard Cohen dashed onto the stage, a gray-haired old man in a dark suit, tie and fedora. He spent the next hour immersed in music before he spoke a word to the capacity crowd Monday at Oakland's Paramount Theatre.

He noted that it had been 14 or 15 years since he had last performed. "I was maybe 60 years old," he said. "Just a crazy kid with a dream."

In the 16 years since Leonard Cohen, 74, last appeared in the Bay Area at the medium-size Warfield theater, he has become widely recognized as one of the great songwriters of his generation, and he was greeted by the adoring crowd at the Paramount like the literary lion and musical giant he has always been. People were wiping tears of joy from their eyes at the warm, profound beauty of his songs.

Tickets to the first two concerts sold out almost immediately. A third show has been added for Wednesday, and tickets to the sold-out shows were fetching big bucks on the Internet. Leonard Cohen was not always such a big deal.

His own recordings usually attracted a modest cult following, but since the 1994 recording of Cohen's "Hallelujah" by the late Jeff Buckley, he seems to have achieved an elevated status - subject of tribute albums, documentary movies, "American Idol" covers and the sort of lavish encomiums and accolades usually reserved for the dead or dying.

At the Paramount, he looked to be in excellent health. Cohen was a humble, generous host whose bass voice glowed with golden tones when he dropped into his bottom register, whose best songs were as good as songs get, whose wit was exceeded only by his grace and dignity. He laces wry ripostes and puntastic wordplay into lyrics cut like jewelry, all delivered with laconic ease and mulish sure-footedness.

Cohen is not an entertainer. He wouldn't be returning to the stage at this point in his life if his ex-manager hadn't stolen his life savings. He is a Buddhist monk who sings and likes to stitch little gags into his songs. The crowd waited expectantly for key lines - for instance, "We are ugly but we have the music" from "Chelsea Hotel," the song he wrote about his one-night stand with Janis Joplin, a story now part of his legend, common knowledge to the audience - and they exploded with knowing cheers. Cohen, who was once a somewhat esoteric figure on the music scene's peripheries, has ascended into the pop pantheon.

He treated the audience to a luxurious two-hour tour through some of the many high points of his career - from ample selections from his 1988 masterpiece album, "I'm Your Man," to "Suzanne" and "So Long Marianne" from his earliest albums. He dusted off the little-noted "The Gypsy's Wife" and "Who by Fire." The now even more chilling "The Future" has never sounded the same since 9/11. He let the supple, elegant musicianship of his band wash over his songs. Cohen sang quietly, gently, deeply, and he made every word count.

Javier Mas of Barcelona added Mediterranean flavor on bandurria and other exotic stringed instruments. Bassist Roscoe Beck and guitarist Bob Metzger are veteran Cohen accompanists. His sometime songwriting collaborator, Sharon Robinson, was magnificent on her own "Boogie Street" - Cohen watching intently, hat in hand - and she was more than capably flanked in the female background choir by vocalists Hattie and Charley Webb, two charming young British ladies who count gymnastics among their performing skills.

At the heart of all this wonderful music is Cohen's unflappable humanity. The dark humor and irony are layered over a basically reassuring view of life and humankind. Everything's cracked, Cohen tells us; that's how the light gets in.

He may not have wanted to do this in the first place, but he is game and great, and these Leonard Cohen performances - this well-deserved victory lap by this world-champion words and music man - are a precious gift to all who see them.

E-mail Joel Selvin at

This article appeared on page E - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle
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Re: CONCERT REPORTS: Oakland, April 13, 14 & 15

Postby IrishMar » Wed Apr 15, 2009 9:39 pm

This is a great review, I just love the description "lyrics cut like jewelry" Thanks for bringing it to our attention gb14772.
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Re: CONCERT REPORTS: Oakland, April 13, 14 & 15

Postby wishbone » Wed Apr 15, 2009 10:32 pm

I attended the concert on was great. My friend and I were sitting in row CC, on the left side. We both had binoculars, which I highly's really neat to be able to see what the various "supporting" musicians are doing. They are all outstanding and can have concerts in their own right. I'm from the country and ignorant of and intimidated by city ways so I got there early to make sure I didn't flub up driving or using the public transportation...found a wonderful used book store across from another art-deco place called the "Fox Theater" (advertising for BB King!) and spent a contented hour there looking around. I think it's called "Telegraph used books" or the like and there are some really nice things and a knowledgeable proprietor. Met my friend and we picked up our pre-sale tickets without fuss. The "Conspiracy of Beards" were singing in the lobby, which in itself is quite a sight. We visited with the ushers and bartenders and so on...there's a contingent of local community volunteers in that group, and my impression is that it's pretty low key as far as security, which I hope isn't abused. I did see the long bathroom lines; fortunately we availed ourselves before the concert so didn't have a problem. I thought the acoustics were good...all the instruments sounded clear and Leonard was in excellent voice, it seemed. A woman sitting next to me was attending the concert with her LC-knowledgeable companion; she didn't know Leonard from "Adam's off ox"...and by the end of the concert she was completely won over, which was neat. As for myself LC could've read random pages from the Vladivostoc telephone book and I'd have been happy, so needless to say the concert itself was a fabulous experience.
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Re: CONCERT REPORTS: Oakland, April 13, 14 & 15

Postby lizzytysh » Wed Apr 15, 2009 11:23 pm

Geez-O-PETE!!! Will you look at what I've been missing! Wonderful with your generousity, Mirka 8) ! Thank you, you guyz, for these phenomenal reports! This thread's a treasure box. Even if Leonard were predisposed, it looks like he won't be getting a chance to be bored from here on out... green polka dots, Esther... very cool :D . Esther, Marsha, Diana, and whoever was the 4th Forum Female... right on :D ! Thanks for reporting back. I can't read too many of these at one sitting because I no longer feel like sitting and can't concentrate on what I need to do... I've just been transported to Oakland 8) !

~ Lizzy
Last edited by lizzytysh on Thu Apr 16, 2009 3:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: CONCERT REPORTS: Oakland, April 13, 14 & 15

Postby rmm » Thu Apr 16, 2009 12:45 am

great reviews - "Vladivostoc telephone book" line made me smile. We saw the Oakland show last night and I'll post a longer review (including impressions of the Women Tearing Blouses Off Blouse :D awesome). Suffice as to say, oh man, that was probably the best concert I've ever seen. Granted, I haven't seen much, but the person I went with has seen some great shows in his time (including Dylan in the same venue), and I think both of us (and most of the audience) were just in awe of the show.

Gotta finish up chores, but was writing up a review in my head in the shower this morning and will post later today, if anyone's interested.
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Re: CONCERT REPORTS: Oakland, April 13, 14 & 15

Postby alerman » Thu Apr 16, 2009 1:50 am

last minute sale. have a single extra ticket for april 15, tonight; orchestra E; face value email: ~$200; email with your #
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Re: CONCERT REPORTS: Oakland, April 13, 14 & 15

Postby zenon5 » Thu Apr 16, 2009 8:41 am

Went to the Monday night show and was blown away for the second time in just over a week. Some have described the audience as subdued, but I would suggest that a more appropriate description would be reverent. We hung on every word, every note. My son was with me on his 21st birthday; he's been listening to Lenny since (and even before) birth. He couldn't believe the quality of the musicianship. We sat right in front of Javier and Dino, and Javier was kind enough to acknowledge our expressions of gratitude a couple of times. Hope you like these photos:
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Re: CONCERT REPORTS: Oakland, April 13, 14 & 15

Postby MaryB » Thu Apr 16, 2009 10:35 am

Esther - how extremely clever of you with your polka dot blouse 8) !!!! I know the rush you felt when LC acknowledged your 'perfect offering'. Nothing can beat that feeling while attending an LC concert!! So glad you were able to meet other forum members, especially Marsha and the other two ladies. Sounds like you all were in great company and it does enhance the whole experience.

Zenon, once again you are posting some really fantastic pictures. Thank you so much. Really nice to know your son was so appreciative of his 21st birthday present.

What a treat for everyone attending who got in early. Conspiracy of Beards and to top it all off, a chance to meet members of the band!!!!! How special. It was such a fantastic gift on their part! There were probably many people at this early opening affair who had no clue as who they were. Pays to do your homework before a concert and become familiar with their faces and bios.

Thanks to everyone for posting your reports and reviews of these concerts.

Best regards,
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Re: CONCERT REPORTS: Oakland, April 13, 14 & 15

Postby lizzytysh » Thu Apr 16, 2009 3:27 pm

What a LOVELY photo of Leonard 8) , Zenon :D . So soft and gentle, and so strong. The lighting appears clear and natural, like he's singing beneath a skylight with the light of day streaming in on him. I love how close up it is... truly lovely in every way.

What a coming-of-age, rite-of-passage thing to do with your father... go see Leonard Cohen together. Perfect.

~ Lizzy
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Re: CONCERT REPORTS: Oakland, April 13, 14 & 15

Postby phillip » Thu Apr 16, 2009 7:39 pm

I really enjoyed your story made me laugh glad you enjoyed the show I can't wait to see him again in Liverpool UK later this year July 2009!
I have been a Leonard Cohen fan for 28 years feel free to email me if you wish to keep in touch!
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Re: CONCERT REPORTS: Oakland, April 13, 14 & 15

Postby Karana » Fri Apr 17, 2009 4:19 am

Hi Esther AKA Blouse lady...He LOVED it! Good for you. We were too far back to be able to tell if it was a prop the crew had placed there, or a fan. So now we have our answer. Our audience (Tuesday night) was pumping so much love out to Leonard and the band... and they felt it. It seemed like they were getting more and more high on the ecstatic, electric energy field. I deeply felt Leonard's love coming back to all of us. It truly felt like the Unified Heart Tour.
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April 15th Concert

Postby gb14772 » Fri Apr 17, 2009 4:40 am

A quick note on the Wednesday night concert. It was very much like Monday night's concert. It started late, perhaps 10 minutes or so. I'm not sure if intermission was longer than scheduled or not. But the net effect was that they cut two songs, they finished about 11:25pm, about the same time as finishing Monday. The cut songs were "Closing Time", and "Lullaby"/"That Don't Make it Junk". Too bad, I would have rather heard either one of those than "I Tried to Leave You"...

Leonard didn't talk much, but did offer a few new lines. I forget which song it preceded, but it past concerts, he said something like: "I was having a drink with my teacher. He looked at me and said 'Excuse me for not dying.' I feel like that myself sometimes". This time, he preceded this with something like "I was drinking cognac with my master, I asked if he would like Courvoisier or <some other Cognac>. Has asked "which has the masculine taste and which the feminine?" I said 'I don't know'. He said 'You were never good student.'" To the best of my memory.

That was almost as much talking as the whole Monday show!

Anyway, good overall performance despite the short set list.

Security was tighter. We 2nd row back on the right side and the ushers were checking everyone that came down, even checking our tickets after we sat down in our seats. During the show, they were pretty protective. Another forum member seated next to us (who we just met at the concert), tried to take flowers up the stage. They made the mistake of asking the usher if it was OK, of course, they said "no". Should have just stepped lively to the stage and deposited the flowers...

As the other nights, the Beards performed (and they don't even get into the concert for performing), band members came out to meet the early admittance people, we met Dino. One of the Webb sisters was there. And many of the other band members.

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