Friday, February 20, 2009

Leonard Cohen at the Beacon Theater

Once, every couple of years, I will see a concert so incredible that- before the show has even ended- I know it is going to make music history. The show will be barely over, and aready I can feel its significance resonating with the audience... I can already sense the articles and reviews being written. Last night, at precisely 8 p.m. at the legendary and newly restored Beacon Theater, Mr. Leonard Cohen took the stage for the first time in New York City in 15 years.

The throngs of older eccentric men and women mixed seamlessly with their younger counterparts, but like a crazed pack of hyaena-everyone violently shoved their way tirelessly on lines in the crowded sidewalk on Broadway and 74th. It was even worse inside- more frantic more violent. I had orchestra seats- it took me half of the opening song (Dance Me...) just to get in. Why? People are rude maniacs- no matter how old or rich. I am still amazed I didn't see a fight break out... although there was a lot of shouting... but no bother...

As I entered the theater all the frustration I experienced quickly melted away. The deep-throated breathy voice of L.Cohen filled every nook and cranny of the Beacon. His words and music billowed out into the caverous venue and filled it with an ease that I have never sensed before. It wasn't until the end of the song that I took my seat and finally had the true opportunity to view the crooner and poet for myself.

74 years old, yet vital, Mr.Cohen wore a sharp suit, with a well placed fedora-reflecting the style and panache of his (and now our own) generation. He was gracious, and a true gentleman. He gave credit to every and ANY one involved in the production of this performance and tour. The supporting band was a group of extremely gifted musicians who added their own personal flair to the magic of the music.

Mr. Cohen shared the stage with co-conspirator Sharon Robinson, and the Webb Sisters, a duo who's vocals and HARP playing brought figuratively me to my knees. Also on stage was musical director Roscoe Beck on vocals, upright bass, & what looked like a 6 string electric bass, Neil Larsen was on keyboards & accordion, Bob Metzger on electric, acoustic & pedal steel guitar, the INCREDIBLE player from Barcelona- Javier Mas bandurria, laud, archilaud, 12 string acoustic guitar, Rafael Gayol on drums, percussion, and one hell of a breather- Dino Soldo on sax, clarinet dobro-keys.

Mr. Leonard Cohen has nothing but my utmost respect. His poetry, music, singing, and even his humor filled my heart with peace and joy.

THE Set lasted over 3 hours, and was extensive. Crowning moments and several standing ovations were generously sprinkled throughout... and though EVERY song meant something special to me...My special moments are in Bold Italics...

Dance Me To The End of Love
The Future wooooooo
Aint No Cure For Love
Bird on the Wire he went down on his knees- this was the first of many times he would do so... but this was the first moment.
Everybody Knows
In My Secret Life
Who By Fire- This is my favorite song. It's the instrumentation that always gets me- that deep resonating bass chord... sits in my throat and chest...
Chelsea Hotel Good GOD what a moment...
Hey That's No Way/Sisters of Mercy
Tower Song
Suzanne- I wept.
The Gypsy's Wife
The Partisan
Boogie Street
Hallelujah I have waited all my adult life to hear him sing these words that have inspired so many.
I'm Your Man- I wept yet again... then I grinned like a fool. I hope and I pray my husband will sing this to me at my wedding reception!
1,000 Kisses Deep (spoken word poetry, set to soft music)- more weepiness
Take This Waltz- OH MAN...

So Long Marianne
First We Take Manhattan

Famous Blue Raincoat
If It Be Your Will Mr. Cohen spoke the first few words like a prayer, then passed it on to the Webb Sisters to sing together, and play the harp... Incredible.

I Tried To Leave You

Whither Thou Goest

There were so many special moments for me... and I'm sure all those lucky people around me. I am truly in awe of the entire experience...

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