I know that I wrote a few words yesterday about the concerts in Las Vegas, because I wanted to try to put into words how I felt. Now that I’ve had another day to let it all sink in, if you all don’t mind, I’d like to say a bit more, and give a few more details as to what stood out for me during those two magical nights.
My feet have yet to touch the ground since seeing Leonard Cohen in Las Vegas! Friday's show was absolutely perfect, the best I have ever seen, truly superb in every way. And then on Saturday, Leonard somehow surpassed even that, giving us the performance of his life. I have never seen him perform with such passion, such intensity, such exuberance, at such an unimaginably high level, throughout each song, each moment. I mean, he is always great beyond words, every concert he most definitely gives his all, but there seemed to be something extra-special in these two performances.
Some major highlights, at least for me, and as I remember them (forgive me if my memory is not 100% accurate, but it was all so thrilling!) from Friday's show are as follows:
"The Future" was electric, Leonard's voice was deep and profound and he growled in just the right places, and moved his body in such a wonderful way, and he even did the "white man dance" with Roscoe this time! It was exciting to watch and to hear this wonderful performance!
"Bird on the Wire" was very poignant, at that point near the end of the song when Leonard and the band go silent just before the last verse, you could have heard a pin drop in the auditorium, there was not a single sound, it was like an empty room, it was almost eerie how totally silent it was for that moment!
"Chelsea Hotel" was so moving and so intense, I think that almost everybody in the place had tears in their eyes, it was magnificent.
Right before "Anthem," Leonard gave a beautiful speech (it can be seen in the gorgeous video by Arlene) in which he thanked all of us faithful followers (so much deeper than fans, as The Man himself said), and that definitely had a lot of us crying! It was touching and beautiful and heartfelt, and I felt immensely privileged to hear Leonard speak such words, and to know that he meant them for me. I only wish that I could have expressed to Leonard my love and appreciation for his work, his efforts, his songs, and his very being, in such an intimate way as he expressed his feelings for us. My cheering and shouts of joy and affection were all that I could offer, and by the smiles that lit up his face throughout both concerts, I think that he got the message!
“Hallelujah” was one of the most intense, moving versions that I have seen, Leonard was completely absorbed in the song, and he took us there with him, it was totally beyond words, and there was a big standing ovation at the end. Incredible!
"First We Take Manhattan" was also a delight, so full of energy and enthusiasm, everyone was on their feet dancing and clapping along! Rapturous joy!
"Famous Blue Raincoat" was stunning, it left me breathless (that happened quite a bit, all the ballads were so intense, I would realise that I had stopped breathing, wanting to be as silent as possible to hear every word and every note).
As for Saturday's show, here’s what struck me most:
Leonard gave us the most incredible "Bird on the Wire" ever, his performance was so passionate, in the silent moment in the song, instead of being silent like the night before, the audience burst into cheers, because it was such a powerful performance, we couldn't wait until the end to show our appreciation! It was sublime!
"Everybody Knows" was absolutely delightful, Leonard was so playful and enthusiastic, he danced and waved his arms and did that "ba-dee-boo" thing slightly off-mic that he has been doing at some of the 2010 shows, and he got a huge standing ovation after that song, everyone was absolutely caught up in the utter joy of Leonard’s performance.
"Waiting for the Miracle" was one of the most electrifying versions of that song that I've heard, and "The Darkness" was also very fabulous. In fact, the whole first set just crackled with energy and passion, you know sometimes the first set is more laid-back, but on Saturday night, Leonard was on fire the whole time!
A bunch of us sang "Passing Through" as Leonard and the women came on stage for the second set, and Leonard sang along for one line, "Tell the people that you saw me passing through!" It was a beautiful moment!
"A Singer Must Die" was so intense, another one of those songs that left me breathless, Leonard’s performance was so passionate and powerful and poignant, he was moving his body with the intensity of it. It was amazing.
In "I'm Your Man," Leonard was cheeky and sexy and the audience went nuts, and I think there was a big standing ovation after that (there were more standing o’s on Saturday than on Friday).
It was also the best "Take This Waltz," just beautiful, and very moving, since, when Leonard did the band intros, it struck me that it would be the last time he did that (for the forseeable future), and that made it quite emotional for me.
"So Long, Marianne" was powerful and joyous, I was flooded with many emotions, crying and singing at the same time, as I think many others were, also!
Of course, every moment was wonderful, every song was perfect (Suzanne, Sisters of Mercy, In My Secret Life, all of them, just beautiful!) but these are what stand out in my mind today.
One great thing about the Las Vegas concerts was that Leonard gave his farewell speech on the Friday night, so that Saturday night could be more upbeat. I didn’t feel sad after Friday's show, since I had Saturday to look forward to, and so I was just very happy, and it was such an incredible performance anyway. And then on Saturday, Leonard gave such a spirited, enthusiastic, happy performance, that I didn't feel sad on that night either, since he ended on such a high note, I couldn't help but feel uplifted by his performance. It was really special and incredible and beautiful, and I’m so glad that I was able to be there.
I also must note that I had a wonderful time talking with many forum members, some of whom I had met before, many of whom I met for the first time. You know who you are, I won’t name names (I remember you all!), but please know that you made the whole experience even more incredible. It was such a pleasure to spend time with you all, sharing our passion for Leonard and our love of life that led us to that curious and un-magical place for the most amazing and magical time. I shall never forget it!