Time for some beauty and light. Although it won't interest everyone, Leonard Cohen performed the first of his New Zealand / Australian concerts in Wellington last night (Tuesday 20th January) and this is the first review, by Simon Sweetman from the Dominion Post. It augers well for those of us in Oz eagerly awaiting our turn to hear and watch the Master.
SIMON SWEETMAN - The Dominion Post | Wednesday, 21 January
Canadian poet and singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen takes the stage
with his nine-piece band. There is a huge ovation; many people get up out of
their seats (for the first of several times).
The opening song is Dance Me To The End Of Love. From there it is
to The Future, Ain't No Cure For Love and Bird On A Wire.
A living legend places his lyrical legacy at the feet of an adoring audience
and the songs - poems, mantras, scriptures even - continue to fall in to place:
Everybody Knows with its wry, subversive humour, In My Secret Life
(acknowledging the 2001 "comeback" album Ten New Songs).
Cohen takes up an acoustic guitar for some delicate plucking (Who By
Fire and Chelsea
Hotel # 2).
The audience sits hushed as immortal paeans, prayers and odes float from the
stage - Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye - and Cohen's band provides
the musical colour with a brushed drum kit, saxophones, flutes, mandolin,
guitars and three perfectly pitched backing vocalists to assist his below
sea-level growl. The sound is stunning in a venue that is so often awful for
concerts; this time the right band is playing correctly and the audience is no
longer suffering for the location of the musician's art.
A short interval, after Ring The Bells - with its line "there is
a crack in everything/that's how the light gets in" - and Cohen returns
with Tower Of Song, telling people they are too kind for applauding
his one-finger keyboard solo. From there it is to Suzanne from the
debut album, the start of the reverence and reverie, then to The Gypsy Wife,
The Partisan and Hallelujah.
A Thousand Kisses Deep is stunning as poetic recital; the bard
still possesses beguiling grace. And then it is to Take This Waltz,
band introductions and a series of encores including So Long Marianne,
First We Take Manhattan, If It Be Your Will (Cohen recites
the first verse and then his version of Kate and Anna McGarrigle, the Webb
sisters, deliver the body of the tune) Famous Blue Raincoat and Democracy.
If you were at the concert and didn't like it then you had your information
It is hard work having to put this concert in to words so I'll just say
something I have never said in a review before and will never say again: this
was the best show I have ever seen.
Read more on Leonard Cohen's Wellington
concert in tomorrow's edition of The Dominion Post.
And for the real fanatics, of which I freely admit to being one, I've pasted in the set list below.
All Good Things
1. Dance Me to the End of Love
2. The Future
3. Ain't No Cure for Love
4. Bird on a Wire
5. Everybody Knows
6. In My Secret Life
7. Who By Fire
8. Chelsea Hotel
9. Hey, That's No Way
To Say Goodbye
10. Ring the Bells
11. Tower of Song
13. The Gypsy Wife
14. The Partisan
15. Boogie Street
18. I'm Your Man
19. A Thousand Kisses Deep
20. Take This Waltz
21. So Long Marianne
22. First We Take Manhatten
23. Famous Blue Raincoat
26. I Tried to Leave You
27. Wither Thou Goest
Hot Room Theatre Group
in association with Horizon Theatre presents