Tuesday, October 14, 2008

tower of song

i know it has been ages, but life seems to get in the way sometimes ... still - even if it has been a while, i do want to say a few things about the leonard cohen concert on 24 september, and i do want to say more than just "wow".

like one of my friends said, it is quite impossible to count highlights at a leonard cohen concert - the whole event IS a highlight. and the whole event lasted about three hours. the concert began with dance me to the end of love, and right from the start it was one great song after another. it was almost as if he had seen my secret wish list and granted me more than just one of them. here's the set list:

First set
1. Dance me to the end of love
2. The Future
3. Ain't no cure for love
4. Bird on the wire
5. Everybody knows
6. In my secret life
7. Who by fire
8. Hey, that's no way to say good bye
9. Anthem

Second set
10. Tower of song
11. Suzanne
12. Gypsy wife
13. Boogie Street
14. Hallelujah
15. Democracy
16. I'm your man
17. Take this waltz

18. So long, Marianne
19. First we take Manhattan

20. Sisters of mercy
21. If it be your will
22. Closing time

23. I tried to leave you
24. Whither thou goest

of course, take this waltz is special for us here, because of the references to vienna. hallelujah is - and most likely will always be - one of my favourite songs of all time. i was particularly happy to hear who by fire and sisters of mercy as well as tower of song. one of *the* goosebump moments was when cohen quoted the first few lines of if it be your will before the webb sisters took over: wonderful, almost haunting version of a terrific song, and it really became clear that the song is indeed a prayer. (follow this link for a video of the song recorded at the toronto concert)

cohen's musicians and background singers were incredible - as if they had become musicians for these moments on stage with cohen. the three ladies supported cohen beautifully, their voices a perfect match for his. what really impressed me was cohen's obvious respect for his musicians and singers, and i don't think it was just show. i am sure a man like him understands the importance of a good band. and there was also respect for the audience. after all - without fans, where would artists be?

one thing i noticed was that some of his songs, while they were great when he wrote them years ago, seem somehow more meaningful now. it's as if a younger cohen had written them for the older cohen he is now, as if he'd grown into them. i also think that a little ironic smile on the side doesn't hurt them either, and that is something that comes with age, i assume. a bit of distance.

my favourite quote of the evening: cohen was saying that he had not been on stage in about 15 years and joked "back then, i was just a kid with a crazy dream". but of course, he also showed us the secret, the key to everything that life is about, and it can be found in his tower of song; it is not what he is saying, it is what the background voices repeat, time and time again. doo-dum-dum-dum de-doo-dum-dum.

i did take photos, but the light was not very good, and i was too far away from the stage. still - here are a couple:

my brother martin and me before the concert

the venue: wiener konzerthaus

leonard cohen & band

mr leonard cohen

mr cohen kneeling

song of the day: if it be your will by leonard cohen / the webb sisters.


Collin said...

OMG! You are so lucky. I would have probably been crying the entire time. I love him.

michi said...

yes, and i was close to tears sometimes, too. he is one of my heroes and that concert was a dream come true.

Romicas said...

I'm sure it must have been just great... I would have loved been there, cause I LOVE L. Cohen's music! And most of those you say he sang are my favourites.
Good for you!!

kgjerstad said...

great little preview for my Sunday 19/10 concert in Brussels.

Thx for sharing and it's the only good review I found in the blog world!