Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Leonard Cohen Live

A miracle.

Consider me blown away. The words were always good, the voice is even better now. The music was brilliant. What a wonderful, wonderful concert.

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That's how it goes
Everybody knows

Ah, that amazing growly deep voice, that seemingly humble and ever so courteous and generous performer, with a wry smile and heaps of attitude. The rakish hat. The irony and the self-confidence. What a package. Yes, it was a product, a carefully, lovingly conceived one, full of value for money, and full of things that are worth more than mere dollars.

Yes, I had a fantastic seat near the stage - and in that bizarre sign of these modern times, it was also a big plus that I was right next to the enormous video screen. As with all the others sitting nearby the screen and the stage, I was torn between watching the man, the band, and the backing singers on the stage, not that far away, or watching them close up on the screen, live and HUGE, but of course digital. So it was a bit of a tennis match sometimes, but am I complaining? Noooo! I think I managed to strike a balance, between seeing minute facial details, and close-up virtuoso instrumentals, and watching the magnificently choreographed spectacle in person.

He started with "Dance me to the end of love" and that's when I first cried. Just from sheer joy, or the beauty of the voice and the music. It took me by surprise that I was going to weep so much. I usually only weep at classical music or the ballet. Leonard Cohen is Deep, man.

Why was I crying? Later on, after one sublime song, during which I sobbed again, I felt that I was at a revival meeting. I had been washed clean in the light, and healed. Hallelujah, brother!

The lighting was exquisite. It was various, and very appropriate to mood. Above is just a poor taste of the yellow golden glow - stunning - that graced the magnificent "crack that lets the light in".

He sang almost all of the big songs that we all know so well. He knew what we wanted and delivered it, professionally, and with a genuineness to the warmth, that was disarming. A baby boomer like me (and most of the rest of the audience!) has lived out my life with a Leonard Cohen sound track. He sang our own life back to us. And skipped on and off stage during a show that went for over three hours.

And I know you know already - if you're a Leonard Cohen fan - that the concert was fabulous. because you've been told ad nauseam. You won't hear anything different from me!

And if you're not a Leonard Cohen fan - then why are you still reading? Shoo! Believers only here please!

I have discovered that some of those that missed out, as soon as they realise I was there, put their fingers in their ears and say "Don't tell me! I don't wanna know!" And then they rock a bit, and wail... I almost have to apologise for having been there.

Unlike most concerts that I've been to with big acts, there was very little singing along. We were there to hear Lenny. It was not karaoke. Save that for the ride home!

Please, please Mr Cohen & Co, release a copy of the Leonard Cohen in Concert 2009 DVD. I'll buy it.

And everyone that missed out can share the pleasure.

Although I think you had to be there, when the Webb sisters did their cartwheel :-)


one billion daleks said...

Wow, I just learnt from a blogger on your sidebar that Leonard is 74!

Yes, Canada produced a clutch of superb singer-songwriters way back when ... Leonard of course. Neil Young obviously. But my personal favourite would be Joni Mitchell - her album "Blue" has been in my top-ten alltime greats since it was released ... extraordinary vocal gymnastics and truly gorgeous songs.

I'd always assumed the droll wit of Loudon Wainwright III originated from Canada too, but a quick Google has established that he is in fact from the US. But then it turns out his two songwriter children Martha and Rufus are both Canadian, so I figure that kinda vindicates my instinctive sense for Loudon being Canadian!

And I've always reckoned talented kiwi busker Luke Hurley would've been a huge international star if only he'd been born in Canada!

The Paradoxical Cat said...

Leonard Cohen is like those wines that just get better with age.

Martha and Rufus Wainwright star on the Leonard Cohen tribute movie "I'm Your Man". Their covers of Leonard Cohen songs are brilliant.

Luke Hurley is a legend here in Dunedin :-)

Rachael King said...

I am one of those people who has been plugging my ears and rocking. I have only now just got up the courage to seek out impressions of the concert. I would have been crying right there alongside you. I love when you say that he sang our lives back to us (or something like that). Yes. I can only imagine.