CONCERT REPORT: Boston, May 29 and 30

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 REPORT: Boston, May 29 and 30

Postby brightnow » Mon Jun 01, 2009 10:02 pm

Look guys! DrHGuy ( used my picture of the Wang in his site! 8)
(This is the same picture that I used to start this thread) ... in-boston/ ... tour-page/

Columbia May 11, 2009; Boston May 29, 2009; Durham November 3, 2009; Las Vegas December 10 & 11, 2010; Austin November 1, 2012; Boston December 15, 2012; Brooklyn December 20, 2012
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Boston, May 29 and 30

Postby sturgess66 » Mon Jun 01, 2009 11:55 pm

Another blogger writes about the Saturday show in Boston. I was glad to see her mention the "lighting" of this show. This show is a work of art and everything is state of the art - including the lighting and staging. There are some pictures at the link. ... oston.html

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Leonard Cohen in Boston

I don't think I have the words to describe the show we saw on Saturday night. Sublime..Sensational..Exceptional...Transcendant...All expectations were met AND exceeded. From the moment he appeared on stage he was musical perfection. I knew I would love the show ; just seeing him ,the legend, would be enough. The performance by Mr. Cohen , his back-up singers and his band was more than I ever could have wished for. They were rehearsed to within a breath in the show.......but it didn't come across as phony. The band , who L.Cohen tipped his hat to often, was so tight I don't think there was a single missed note in the entire three plus hours they played.

He was very gracious and often acknowledged the contributions of the band and singers , as well as the additional contributions of Sharon Robinson,one of the back up singers, as long time collaborator on several songs. He gave over the singing duties to Ms. Robinson on Boogie Street and to the Webb sisters (the other two back up singers) on If It Be Your Will. Both songs were delivered impeccably and it was impossible to feel cheated that Mr. Cohen didn't lend voice to them. He held his hat to his heart during each of these performances as well as during every solo delivered by members of the band.

Did I mention the lighting? I'm telling you ,not a detail was left out.The lighting , along with the sheer curtains that hung from the ceiling created a visual mood to work beautifully with the music. The beauty of the lighting was profound during the choruses of Hallelujah when the normally subtle , bluish light became bright white light that bathed the entire stage as if...okay I can't say it but you can imagine! With any other song that light would seem harsh but with this it was glorious. I was not the only one who actually gasped.

It was an evening of beautiful music, interrupted only by a 15 minute intermission. He didn't talk a lot and each time he did there was not a wasted word. He introduced the band no less than three times ; I sometimes find this a little indulgent and grandiose but Mr. Cohen gave the introductions with such grace and respect it was very easy to take. At one point the 74 year old Cohen mentioned that it had been about 14 years since his last appearance in Boston..."I was 60 then. Just a kid with a crazy dream!"
We go to many live music shows. I love a huge variety of music....always have. Over many years I have been to hundreds of shows. Nothing has ever come close to this. At the end of the show, with the entire band at the front of the stage with him, he acknowledged the crew, the dressers,(someone has to take care of the ubiquitous fedoras), the bus drivers , everyone involved in the tour. At the end of the "thank-you's" he added one more. He thanked the audience and with a sincerity I believed, he said," We will always remember this night" I will always remember this night.....I hope this tour has made Leonard Cohen want to be out there with his fans and that he will return to the road again....saving retirement for the distant future. He is a gracious gentleman. Thank you, Leonard Cohen!!!

It would be wrong not to say a few words about the venue. The CitiWang ,formerly known as just the Wang, is a beautifully restored theater. In the seventies it was known as the Music Hall and I saw many ,many acts there. It was a run-down beauty then...well worn ,with shadows of it's glory days peeking through. The restoration took many years and many dollars to complete. It is now certainly one of the most beautiful spaces Boston has to offer. Marble and gold, glowing light and soaring balconies.Chandeliers too many for me to count...two giant chandeliers hang from the stunningly painted ceiling in the grand foyer as if from red velvet ribbons alone.
The seats, of course, are not perfect. My husband , at 6'3" was a little cramped but my 5"5" was very comfortable. Getting in and out can't be done without having others in the row stand up. The seats are forgivable though with perfect acoustics and lovely, yet sometimes distant, views.

The further seats soar in height but somehow the view is still perfect. When my daughter was six we went to her first ballet, Swan Lake , at the Wang. When we approached our seats I was a little nervous that she would be bored sitting so far away from the stage. We were second to the last row, second balcony. When the dancers started she gasped...looked at me with wonder...and said, almost breathless,"Ohhhhh, Mama..look at the tiny people!" It was wonderful.
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Re: CONCERT REPORT: Boston, May 29 and 30

Postby Eskimo » Tue Jun 02, 2009 3:06 pm

sturgess66 wrote:Another blogger writes about the Saturday show in would be wrong not to say a few words about the venue. The CitiWang ,formerly known as just the Wang, is a beautifully restored theater....The seats, of course, are not perfect. My husband , at 6'3" was a little cramped but my 5"5" was very comfortable....[/i]
....seats were even smaller in the original theatre - the theatre holds about 600 less than it did before the restoration ....For anyone interested, below is a history of the theatre from a book published in 1993 (Boston Theatre District: A Walking Tour). Since then, it has become part of Citi Performing Arts Centre but retains the name of Wang Center. Some interior pics can be found here. As an aside, my understanding is that the "marble" we all saw is really a product of "the mysterious craft of scagliola"....

The Wang Center, originally the Metropolitan and built in 1925, combines a 14-story Renaissance Revival office building of granite and cast stone, with an auditorium seating 4225 people. C.H. Blackall was the architect. The interior is characterized by a series of vestibules and lobbies, highly decorated in marble, bronze, ornate gilding, and painted friezes.

The initial developer of the Metropolitan was Boston movie mogul Nathan Gordon. The cost was over $8,000,000. The theatre employed a corps de ballet, a 100-voice chorus, and a 55-piece orchestra. There was also a 3100-pipe organ. Along with the stage shows, the musicians and dancers presented tableaux, ballet, and operatic moments. Admission cost 35 to 75 cents. To amuse people waiting to be seated, there were musicians playing in the Grand Lobby, paintings by area artists hung on the walls, and ping pong and billiards downstairs. After the show, couples danced in the Grand Lounge, and in 1932 a small Art Deco restaurant called the Platinum Salon opened in the lounge area.

By the 1940's costs were mounting and big name headliners became increasingly necessary to draw crowds. The Big Bands, including Duke Ellington, the Dorsey Brothers, Benny Goodman, and Gene Krupa, played here. Bob Hope, Al Jolson, and Dorothy Lamour performed at war bond drives. After world War II attendance declined due to the impact of TV. Stage shows were abandoned for a while, but after the Boston Opera House was destroyed in the late 1950's, the theatre became attractive to large touring productions. Rechristened the Music Hall in 1962, the theatre hosted such groups as the Bolshoi Ballet, the Boston Ballet, and the Metropolitan Opera. However, stage depth and production facilities were inadequate, and many touring shows were forced to bypass the Boston audience.

In 1974 the Boston Redevelopment Authority identified the Music Hall as a theatre with potential to serve the city and suggested to the owners, the New England Medical Center Hospital, that a non-profit group by established to lease and renovate the facility. Metroplitan Center, Inc. was incorporated in 1976. In 1983 the roof was seriously damaged, and the theatre was about to be demolished. A plea went out to the community to save the theatre, and Dr. An Wang of computer fame answered the plea with a gift of $4,000,000. The theatre was renamed in his honor. The building is in the National Register of Historic Places.

A postcard from the 1920's:
metropolitan102.jpg (102.62 KiB) Viewed 6523 times
Another iconic septuagenarian when she was almost young - a playbill from the 1960's from what was the then the Music Hall:
lizopatra.jpg (87.7 KiB) Viewed 6522 times

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