CONCERT REPORT: London, Ontario, May 24

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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CONCERT REPORT: London, Ontario, May 24

Postby stfa » Mon May 25, 2009 8:53 am

Another great one tonight, in many ways stronger than Hamilton on Tuesday (IMHO) more nuances in the singing and performances but both were strong shows. This was on OHL rink - home of the London Kinghts - a fine hockey team! The upper bowl was curtained off the rest was 98% full - don't know exact crowd size but would guess 4 to 5,000.
In Hamilton (7,000) the posters were numbered out of 200 - here it was only out of 50!!!!
Again Leonard was a bit quiet but we got a new monologue (the girls were laughing a lot during this) before Anthem about "hotel mirrors" - you know the circular ones with the circular inset and the bright lights around the rim - Leonard's advice was that if you are above 50 you should avoid them at all cost!!!!!! (I'm 48 but I know what he means! :lol: ) Said something at the end about wishing he could play longer but couldn't - like Hamilton the show built momentum but by the end I think it surpassed my hometown! It may have been me but it seemed like his "pass this way again" comment led me to believe he meant he WOULD "pass this way again" - maybe wishful thinking!
He also did the rap after Tower about the angels continuing to sing so that he wouldn't have to move on to the next thing - at the end he thanked them for 'calming him down' (can't remember his exact word though!) His talk before Whither seemed longer also. Slight flub at the start of Manhattan - the crowds' enthusiastic rhythmic clapping made him start early and then he had to stop. Long pause in 1,000 kisses after applause for the "old but still into that" line!!!!!! Partisan was again my personal favourite.
In Hallelujah he didn't come all the way to "London" to fool you! Sound again was stellar - the cameramen do a great job at capturing just the right moments and with great transitions. Leonard again spent much time crouching and singing to Javier. I am still impressed with the way he is happy to be on stage and be backup when Sharon or the girls or anyone else takes a lead role! Charley had no hat tonight! No namechecks again and during "I Tried to Leave You" he let the solos speak for themselves with no band introductions!!!!!

Setlist was the same as Hamilton:

Dance Me to the End of Love
The Future
Ain't No Cure
Bird on the Wire
Everybody Knows
In My Secret Life
Who By Fire
Chelsea Hotel
Waiting for the Miracle
Tower of Song
Sisters of Mercy
The Partisan
Boogie Street - Sharon Robinson
I'm Your Man
1,000 kisses recitation
Take this Waltz
-small bow=
So Long Marianne
-small bow-
Famous Blue Raincoat
If it Be Your Will - Webb sisters
Closing Time
-small bow-
I Tried to Leave You
Whither Thou Goest (with crew)
Thanks once again to Leonard and band and crew - a moment I will always remember and cherish!
Good night !
Hamilton Place April 1993, O'Keefe Toronto July 1993, Center in the Square Kitchener June 2nd 2008, Hamilton Place June 3rd 2008, Copps Coliseum, Hamilton May 19th 2009, Labatt's London May 24th 2009, ACC Toronto December 4th & 5th 2012, Labatts London Dec 11th 2012 Copps Coliseum Hamilton April 9 2013 Tower of Song, Centre Bell November 6th 2017
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: London, Ontario May 24th

Postby sturgess66 » Mon May 25, 2009 2:42 pm

From London Free Press: ... 1-sun.html


Mon, May 25, 2009


Leonard Cohen enthralled a crowd of about 4,800 at the John Labatt Centre last night. The show was the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s first in London in about 15 years. (Susan Bradnam, Sun Media)

Canadian icon Leonard Cohen probably had us when he doffed his hat. When he lofted that fedora for the first time last night, he still had about three hours to go -- and he didn't waste a minute.

Last night, 4,800 fans gave Cohen the rock hero's welcome at the John Labatt Centre during his first London concert in many years.

The first standing ovation was for strolling stage and looking so good in a dark suit and fedora. The dark fedora was doffed for the first of many times as he entered. Again and again, the poet-rocker would lift it to acknowledge the fans who cheered every song from Bird on the Wire to Suzanne to Sisters of Mercy or to salute the excellence of his band.

"I didn't come to London to fool you," Cohen sang with a downtown London arena treat during Hallelujah, which is now his signature song.

Hallelujah was a triumph early in the second set, with swirling keyboards and gospel choruses from three vocalists.

At 74, Cohen is even cooler than he was when he released his first album more than 40 years ago. He was already a major Canadian poet and novelist before he began making records in the late 1960s. Judging by the boomer-strong crowd last night, many of the fans first loved Cohen then.

Early on, Cohen kept to the set list familiar from other stops on his tour. He opened with Dance With Me to the End of Love, followed with The Future and Ain't No Cure for Love and then Bird on a Wire.

His deep, rasping murmur of a voice could be heard in, over and under the band. With the second set finale and encores still to come, that voice was strong. Nobody sings Cohen like Cohen and last night all those words and images were receiving the inflections of the master. Following Hallelujah, Cohen shifted effortlessly from the spiritual to the raunchy with a terrific version of one of his sexiest songs, I'm Your Man. Like many of the songs last night, there was a strong sense of sex and life force battling the shadow of death. When Cohen intoned "I'm your man," it was as if he was addressing everyone in the crowd as intimately as only a great poet and singer is able.

Cohen has been writing for more than 50 years -- and writing classic songs for almost as long. The 2008 Rock and Roll Hall of Famer published his first book of poetry in 1956 and just released Live in London (Columbia/Sony BMG), a CD and DVD from a London, England, concert.

When Cohen introduced his band toward the end of the first set, he was eloquent. Vocalist Sharon Robinson, who has co-written songs with him, took the lead on Boogie Street. The "gymnastic" Webb sisters, Charley and Hattie, sang beautifully and pulled off a remarkable flip during Ain't No Cure.

The six-piece lineup included Barcelona guitar and string genius Javier Mas, who brought a klezmer and flamenco tinge to many arrangements. Cohen addressed the klezmer-tinged opener to Mas, going down on one knee to sing. That was a move he used many times -- and it never failed. Cohen had a jaunty skip and bounce to his step as he left for the intermission.

There was a merry touch to much of his stage presence, too. He kidded about his age, smiled about his "golden voice" during Tower of Song and mocked his keyboard prowess as the second half opened with that song. "It's kind of sophisticated. You probably haven't seen anything like it here," he said of the little keyboard in front of him. No harm was done when he picked out a few notes on the keys, but soon he had a guitar and made sweeter sounds on it for Cohen classic songs of love and life from decades ago like Suzanne.

Cohen's first London show in about 15 years followed a flurry of sightings over the weekend. The star was spotted having a brew at a downtown pub, trademark hat in place.

The ticket prices for Cohen's show were set by the tour organizers and peaked at $250, believed to be a venue record.
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: London, Ontario May 24th

Postby bridger15 » Tue May 26, 2009 8:37 am

Leonard Cohen Shares the Spotlight.
May 25, 2009 by jamesmccallum ... spotlight/

Leonard Cohen’s show last night in London, Ontario left me with so many long lasting memories that it was difficult to choose an angle for this piece. The concert was spot on from start to finish. The setlist was perfectly crafted with an ideal melange of old and new, brooding and poppy, songs and poetry. The whole operation was so perfectly organized down to the last detail that oftentimes it felt more like a theatre piece than a concert. And the hardcore Cohen fans were definitely not put off by the rather lengthy show, lasting over three hours including an intermission and four encores. With each encore, Cohen would defy his 75 years, skipping jovially on and off the stage.

But even given all these wonderful things that added up to definitely one of the best concerts of my life, the thing that struck me most was the way in which the spotlight was intentionally shared amongst all the singers and musicians. The way that by the end of the show, many likely felt that there should have been more than one name on the ticket stub.

There is no doubt that this show was all about Cohen. At the same time however, he was surrounded by amazing musicians, singers, and songwriters. And Cohen was not about to let them go unnoticed. In a gracious, unpretentious, and modest move, (you couldn’t come up with three better words to describe the man) Cohen decided to share the stage. It was clear from the beginning that the idea was to showcase not only him, but everyone around him as well.

Every time a musician had a solo, of which there were many, Cohen calmly took off his fedora, placed it on his heart, and backtracked into the darkness of the stage to give the soloist the full attention of the crowd. You could only make out his dark silhouette as the spotlight shone brightly on the musician. He was not shy about introducing the band and the backup singers as well, having honoured each and every one with his wise low voice filled with poetic compliments and sincere appreciation at least three times, each time letting the crowd clap for as long as they wanted. The three female backup singers were each given a full song each, once again with Cohen in the shadows, fedora off, smiling in appreciation at the beautiful female voices that we all knew were making his heart dance. In case you didn’t know, throughout his life, Cohen has always held a high appreciation for the females of this world. And to cap it all off, at the very end of the show, Cohen brought everyone connected to the show, roadies and technicians included, onto the stage to really drive home the fact that while Cohen’s name is front and centre on the ticket stub, this magical night was clearly a team effort. It becomes secondary whether you like or dislike his music and poetry because for these kind gestures, you have no choice but to tip your fedora to him.[
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