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CONCERT REPORTS: Toronto, Ontario, December 4 & 5, 2012

Posted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 6:32 pm
by sturgess66
Toronto -

The venue is Air Canada Centre (a/k/a "he Hanger") - a multipurpose sporting arena in downtown Toronto, opened in 1999. Along with hosting entertainment events, it is home to Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Raptors and other sporting groups. The complex includes restaurants, hotels, extensive retail shopping, condominiums, a supermarket, a public square, large parking facilities, and direct access to the Toronto subway system and other public transportation.
Concert capacity is 19,800.


This is a "combination" article in "The Star" - about Leonard's shows in Toronto and the release of Alan Light's book about Leonard's "Hallelujah" ... ts-shelves
Leonard Cohen Headed To Toronto As Book On ‘Hallelujah’ Hits Shelves
Published on Monday December 03, 2012
Kai-Uwe KNOTH/AP Author Alan Light traces the journey of Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah' in his new book, "The Holy or the Broken."

David Bauder
The Associated Press

NEW YORK, N.Y.—It's hard to think of any song that has taken a stranger journey through popular culture than Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah."

Recorded in 1984, it was on the only Cohen album rejected by his record company. Virtually no one noticed when the song did come out on an independent label. Since then, through dozens of cover versions, high-profile performances and appearances on TV or movie soundtracks, "Hallelujah" has become a modern standard.

Author Alan Light reflected upon that while at Yom Kippur services in Manhattan two years ago, as he saw congregants in tears when the choir sang "Hallelujah." His curiosity led him to write The Holy or the Broken, about the song's trajectory, about Cohen and about its most celebrated singer, the late Jeff Buckley. The book is out Tuesday. Cohen appears in Toronto for concerts at the Air Canada Centre on Dec. 4 and 5.

"At a time when everything has fragmented so dramatically, it's sort of heartening to see that this song can connect as universally as it did," Light said.

Cohen laboured over "Hallelujah," filling a notebook with some 80 verses before recording. The song has Biblical references, but Cohen's stated goal was to give a nonreligious context to hallelujah, an expression of praise. Some of those hallelujah moments are clearly sexual, given a lyric like "she tied you to a kitchen chair ... and from your lips she drew the hallelujah." The author's droll humour is present throughout in lines like "you don't really care for music, do you?"

Musically (and Cohen's lyrics even describe the melody), the verses build slowly to a release in the chorus, which is simply the title word repeated four times.

Cohen saw his composition as joyous, yet its placement on ER, 'The West Wing, House and many other TV and movie soundtracks has become a nearly universal signal of a sad moment. It is played at weddings, funerals, school concerts and all manner of religious services, the chorus lifting it into the realm of the spiritual.

The song's malleability is one key to its success, Light said. Cohen recorded four verses but sent several more to John Cale when Cale recorded "Hallelujah" for a 1991 tribute album. Seven were published in Cohen's 1993 book of lyrics and poetry. Verses can be dropped or given greater emphasis depending on the interpreter. And most everyone knows "Hallelujah" from an interpreter, from Buckley to Bono, from k.d. lang to Susan Boyle, to seemingly half the contestants in TV music competitions.

That sets it apart from other modern standards, like "Imagine" or "Bridge Over Troubled Water," where greatness was apparent almost instantly and the original recording remains the definitive version.

Buckley's recording was a milestone; half Cohen's age when he made it, Buckley's take was more romantic and yearning than the reflective original. The song's inclusion on the Shrek soundtrack, its repeated replaying on VH1 after the 2001 terrorist attacks and 2010 versions by lang at the Winter Olympics and Justin Timberlake at a telethon for Haitian earthquake relief were other key moments for its visibility.

Light can't recall when he first heard it. His favourite version is by Cohen in concert at the 2009 Coachella festival, easily found on YouTube.

Credit one of the world's greatest living songwriters for first recognizing the potential of "Hallelujah." Bob Dylan performed it twice in concert during the mid-1980s, once in Cohen's native Canada.

"They're not very good but are heartfelt in a certain way," Light said. "I'm sure hardly anybody at the time who heard Dylan sing it knew what it was."

In writing a book on a single song, Light joins a very specific and small category of literature. Other notable examples include Dave Marsh's book on "Louie Louie," Robert Harwood's on "St. James Infirmary" and Ted Anthony's on "House of the Rising Sun" (Anthony is an Associated Press employee).

There is always a bigger story to tell. Harwood said that in writing about a song, an author must explain the environment in which the song appeared and how the song grew, changed and metamorphosed.

"That sort of information is more likely to have been discarded when it comes to popular culture than, say, if it was a historic political moment," Harwood said. " ... In the end, though, popular culture is the story of our times."

Veteran music industry chronicler Light's recognition of the times in which "Hallelujah" first appeared play into him giving a pass to Columbia Records executives for rejecting the song. Madonna, Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen and Prince were at their peaks and selling boatloads of albums in 1984.

Cohen, then a 50-year-old singer-songwriter whose sales were steadily fading, would not have been a priority.

"At the time, they were just trying to print up enough copies of Born in the USA to keep up with demand," Light said.

One of Light's key interviews came late, when Bono agreed to speak about U2's little-known version. Light had just finished a draft of the book where he talks about the recording not being particularly good.

"What if he says how proud of it he is and I have to rework the whole thing?" he said.

That quickly proved not a problem: "The first thing he said on the phone was 'I forgot what I said when I agreed to do this interview and then I remembered. It was to apologize to everybody.'"

Cohen gave Light his blessing to write the book, which helped open the door for some interviews, but didn't participate himself. He rarely does interviews anyway and has already spoken publicly a few times about the song's creation, and Light isn't sure how much more he'd have to say.

The author may be as mystified as anyone about the song's journey and not interested in disturbing the mystique.


Going by, which has catalogued dozens of Cohen’s most recent shows, it’s a safe bet that Toronto audiences will hear him sing “Hallelujah” Tuesday night.

Here are some other songs that are good bets to make his setlist.

• Dance me to the End of Love

Bird on a Wire


First we Take Manhattan

Everybody knows

So Long, Marianne

Ain’t No Cure for Love

Famous Blue Raincoat

Re: CONCERT REPORT: Toronto, Ontario - December 4-5, 2012

Posted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 6:37 pm
by sturgess66
NowToronto -
Leonard Cohen, The 501, and more
Daily Tipsheet: December 4
Compiled By NOW staff

Leonard Cohen The Canadian singer/songwriter legend kicks off a two-night-stand at the Air Canada Centre tonight. See listing. ... cationId=0
And Toronto Life ... ard-cohen/
Arts & Entertainment › Pop
Leonard Cohen

Air Canada Centre
40 Bay St. (at Gardiner Expy.) • View on map »

The rumbling 78-year-old baritone and the wry, melancholic lyrics continue to entrance. Cohen’s most recent album, Old Ideas, is full of somber yet occasionally winking reflections on age and death. It’s also Cohen’s highest-charting album ever. This could be one of the last opportunities we get to see the ladies’ man in the flesh.

Dec. 4/12 -

Re: CONCERT REPORT: Toronto, Ontario - December 4-5, 2012

Posted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 11:44 pm
by John K.
Y'know, that wasn't fair! You just nearly caused me to have a heart attack posting a thread called "Concert Report" BEFORE the concert takes place!

Re: CONCERT REPORT: Toronto, Ontario - December 4-5, 2012

Posted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 12:44 am
by musicmania
Countdown is over for my final 2 concerts of 2012. I'm calling these my Hallelujah concerts, It goes like this the 4th the 5th :D

Re: CONCERT REPORT: Toronto, Ontario - December 4-5, 2012

Posted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 1:02 am
by sturgess66
John K. wrote:Y'know, that wasn't fair! You just nearly caused me to have a heart attack posting a thread called "Concert Report" BEFORE the concert takes place!
Just getting it all set up and ready for your concert report John. :D

Re: CONCERT REPORT: Toronto, Ontario - December 4-5, 2012

Posted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 1:22 am
by foxymona
Gwen, I love it!!....the 4th & 5th.... :razz:

I am quite jealous, to say the least, but have to wait until next week's Kingston concert which is in a smaller venue so I am quite thrilled......

Too bad the weather was so cold when you guys were all in Montreal last's 11 degrees now at 5:20 on Dec 4..... a bit of global warming ya' think??

Well enjoy tonight and tomorrow....I will be thinking of you.


Re: CONCERT REPORT: Toronto, Ontario - December 4-5, 2012

Posted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 5:31 am
by sturgess66
@samadigan Leonard Cohen, still a legend
@CBCTheSignal At the altar of Leonard Cohen even Leonard is on his knees.
@HaganeNoDan Taking in Leonard Cohen at ACC this evening. I knew he was great live, but tonight he's just totally in the zone. Beautiful performance.
@yoyoma88 A Leonard Cohen concert, where you drink red wine and not beer
@JaneCStevenson Leonard cohen, in suit and fedora, has been joined by a 9 piece band for his @LIVEatACC show
Leonard cohen, 78, just ran on stage to begin show @LIVEatACC, dance me to the end of love 1st song.
@JRBERNSTEIN At the ACC watching Leonard Cohen.
@MillsChronicles Shadow spirits at Leonard Cohen. Pure love!
@Jefferey_Toole Leonard Cohen: "Everybody Knows" An amazing night! @liveatACC
@ebellwood Leonard Cohen is killing it on the guitar. Glad to see real talent and an 80 year old musical legend. Who else is here?
@d4dollie Leonard Cohen is killing it on stage at ACC tonight! <3 <3 <3
@dirkthunder I'm mad at myself for not having discovered Leonard Cohen sooner. Life would be so much different.
@theFList Leonard Cohen larger than life.
‏@JaneCStevenson Leonard cohen gets a standing o from crowd after 3 hrs (including 20 min intermission) @LIVEatACC.
‏@petevandyk Leonard Cohen just put on the best show I have ever seen, ever. #whobyfire #bodhisattva #25billzyall zachar
‏@JessicaCapo "I don't want to keep anyone here, but we said we'd give it all we've got." Leonard Cohen... Still breaking hearts... 3.5 hours in
@upm "Thanks so much for not going home ... It'd be awful to come back out and find a skating rink.." Leonard Cohen upon return from intermission
‏@GallowaySABH - Saw a legend tonight. Leonard Cohen at the ACC
@katarinag Leonard Cohen. Magical, once in a lifetime best ever, I cried so much, really great, perfect show.
@serosity Fact: the last time the Leafs won the cup was the same year Leonard Cohen put out his first album #67
@seanoneal If I ran the subway system, all trains would have Leonard Cohen's "Anthem" piped in on a nonstop loop after 11pm.
‏@madeindavid National hero "@nowtoronto: At this point it's honestly baffling that 78 year old Leonard Cohen regularly performs for 3+ hour shows.”
@sexgeekAZ Feeling so grateful to have seen Leonard Cohen perform live tonight. He may not tour again. The man is a rogue, a poet, a national treasure.
@Jshdunegan Leonard Cohen's - Hallelujah is one of the best songs to have ever graced this earth
@iheathen Just got home from the Leonard Cohen show at ACC in Toronto. So totally blown away by him and his band. Truly a very special show
‏@ColleenQueenBee Leonard Cohen rocked my world tonight.
‏@steve_mcgill All 3.5 hours of Leonard Cohen last night were delightful. That man will live forever. #fb

‏@LenFrisbie To whomever is blasting Leonard Cohen on my floor, I love you #realmusic

Re: CONCERT REPORT: Toronto, Ontario - December 4-5, 2012

Posted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 8:29 am
by rtychonick
No second encore tonight. Bit of a surprise. Perhaps they're saving that for Wednesday.

Re: CONCERT REPORT: Toronto, Ontario - December 4-5, 2012

Posted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 9:16 am
by icecreamtruck
I had such an amazing time! I have been sort of avoiding setlists and reading details in reviews because last time I knew the show inside out before I saw it. Was surprised to hear so many new songs (yes!!!) and the return of "Feels So Good". The new arrangement of "Feels" doesn't allow the intimacy of the version on the last tour. As a result I felt it fell completely flat.

As far as the encore goes: it was an amazing show as far as I could tell and an extremely enthusiastic crowd but following the intermission there were tons of empty seats in Leonard's view. After the second set there were even more. And then after Closing Time as SOON as he left the stage people stopped applauding and began to leave. People were very very quick to leave. I am guessing because the average age seemed to be about 55, people felt the show was long and wanted to get home.

Re: CONCERT REPORT: Toronto, Ontario - December 4-5, 2012

Posted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 9:37 am
by musicmania
Absolutely brilliant night tonight. People arriving late meant a delayed start :( but the 3.5 hours we got were amazing. So happy to hear Different Sides, Anyhow, I Can't Forget and the new version of Feels So Good. Undecided as to which version I prefer but loved the lyrics tonight. Leonard was in great form with lots of jokes and smiles from the stage.

Re: CONCERT REPORT: Toronto, Ontario - December 4-5, 2012

Posted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 10:24 am
by Patrycja
Hi just a brief note for now - what an amazing, numinous concert, easily one of the best in my life. Everyone was in top form, and Leonard better than ever - lighthearted, deft, funny, profound.... Thank you to Leonard and all the performers/people behind the scenes for creating such a wonderful experience.

Here are some photos that turned out ok (you may have to right click and 'view' to see the full image for some...sorry, I'm not sure how to make them fit).







Re: CONCERT REPORT: Toronto, Ontario - December 4-5, 2012

Posted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 11:28 am
by icecreamtruck
You must have been in the same row I was in. 320. I was the dude with the binoculars going all night

Re: CONCERT REPORT: Toronto, Ontario - December 4-5, 2012

Posted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 11:54 am
by zwirnie
setlist NIGHT ONE as per .. seems to be in line with the reports in this thread ... except for the encore(s). Can someone who was there please correct the encore(s)? Thanks!

First Set
Dance Me to the End of Love
The Future
Bird on the Wire
Everybody Knows
Who by Fire
Ain't No Cure for Love
Come Healing
In My Secret Life
A Thousand Kisses Deep (recitation)
Different Sides

Second Set
Tower of Song
Waiting for the Miracle
I Can't Forget
The Partisan
Feels So Good
Alexandra Leaving (performed by Sharon Robinson)
I'm Your Man
Take This Waltz

Encore I
So Long, Marianne
Going Home
First We Take Manhattan

Encore II
If It Be Your Will (performed by the Webb Sisters)
Closing Time

Encores may be incorrect ...

Re: CONCERT REPORT: Toronto, Ontario - December 4-5, 2012

Posted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 4:00 pm
by jarkko ... -two-shows
Thanks to Zbig for the link!
Leonard Cohen leaves fans spellbound in first of two showsWhen was the last time you witnessed an entire hockey rink reduced to enraptured silence by a poem?

By Ben RaynerPop Music Critic

Oh, sure, maybe that kind of mass “sissification” goes on and is even excused in such an environment if a planeload of Olympians crashed into the Andes last night or a member of the local athletic corps has met with a sudden, untimely death just before the Big Game. The other 99 per cent of the time, however, an arena tends to be a place to drink up, let loose, get wild with your bros and “make some noise” as often and as noisily as the PA demands.

For the duration of Leonard Cohen’s three-hour-plus performance at the Air Canada Centre on Monday night — the first of two consecutive dates at the 16,000-seat venue — the ACC was as peaceful and hands-crossed-in-the-lap attentive as the ACC has ever been, no minor triumph in itself but a feat to be somewhat expected by anyone who caught the venerable Montreal folk-pop wordsmith making his first, mesmerizing return to Toronto at the Sony Centre in June of 2008 after a long exile from the stage.

At no point in the evening, however, was the rink held more tangibly, collectively mute and spellbound by the 78-year-old Cohen’s talents than it was during a recitation of the ever-evolving spoken-word piece “A Thousand Kisses Deep” delivered towards the end of the first of the night’s two impeccable sets to the ultra-minimal accompaniment of a few, ghostly Hammond-organ chords but with its always-present mortal gravitas gaining in self-conscious portent as time advances.

“Been working out but it’s too late / It’s been too late for years,” graveled Cohen. “You see, I’m just another snowman / Standing in the rain and sleet.”

Granted, Cohen killed it with the same verses while generally killing it overall at the Sony Centre four years ago, but he was killing it overall with a different, knowingly dwindling energy at the ACC on Tuesday night.

The music’s far from over, as the numerous entries from this year’s sharply black-humoured, languidly bluesy and frequently old-man-randy opus Old Ideas — “Come Healing,” “Show Me the Place,” “Amen” and “Darkness,” the latter perhaps the most drolly self-aware of a drolly self-aware bunch — interspersed more or less seamlessly amongst one bona fide classic after another from the bottomless Cohen songbook, from “Suzanne” and “Ain’t No Cure for Love” and “Bird on a Wire” on to “Waiting for the Miracle” and “The Future” and the everywhere-all-the-time “Hallelujah.”

Still, Cohen’s well-rehearsed theatrics, some of them — such as his repeated quips about wanting to re-take up smoking at 80 — left over from the last tour, made it clear that this was a master unsure of how long he could keep hitting the road and taking it to the people in earnest.

“We’ve been on tour for a while now,” he said early on, making a joke of the financial difficulties that forced him back on the road a few years ago. “I hadn’t sung for about 15 years. Now you can’t get rid of me … We may or may not see each other again, but tonight we’re going to give you everything we’ve got.”

A slightly stiffer and frailer figure in his natty suit and fedora than we remembered from the last tour, he knelt at the feet of one of his guitarists during opener “Dance Me to the End of Love” in a move that at first seemed an effort to properly hear his tomblike baritone oozing back at him through the monitors. He would kneel again and again at the front of the stage and before his poised trio of backing vocalists — longtime collaborator/co-writer Sharon Robinson and sisters Hattie and Charley Webb — as the night wore on in a gesture that seemed increasingly like a show of gratitude towards everyone who continues to make the Leonard Cohen phenomenon possible. He sounded raspier and wheezier getting through the breathless apocalypses of “Everybody Knows” and “The Future,” but made a joke of his age by folding the line “If you want another kind of love / I’ll wear an old-man mask for you” into the tried-and-true seduction standard “I’m Your Man.” He thanked every member of his brilliantly understated band (not to mention their attendant instrument, lighting and sound technicians) repeatedly as if he might not get another chance to do so.

If he does, we’ll be happy to have him. If he doesn’t, he’s artfully written his own way out so many times since he started recording in the late 1960s that it almost seems foolish to contemplate the day that all that Leonard Cohen doom-and-gloom might actually end in a species of actual doom and gloom. “I was born with the gift of a golden voice,” he once sang on “Tower of Song,” making it sound a bit like a curse. He knows what he’s doing and how well he does it, though, or he wouldn’t still be out there doing it.

Re: CONCERT REPORT: Toronto, Ontario - December 4-5, 2012

Posted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 4:38 pm
by musicmania
Love that review. The setlist posted is correct.