Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Leonard Cohen
Copps Coliseum Hamilton ON

This whole Leonard Cohen revival is really getting a little old...or is it?

After a 15 year hiatus from the road 2008 found Leonard back out there with a wonderful career retrospective and a crack band. This leg of the North American Tour 2009 finds him passing the 1 year mark with a summer tour in Europe still to come. While the set list remains rather static he has added 5 new songs to the rotation and we're still waiting on Joan of Arc.

The whole 'religulous' experience around the event is somewhat subdued in the arena settings we find ourselves in this year. Still, the reverence heaped upon Leonard is palpable; the crowd is music-hall respectful and attentive.

Having had the pleasure of three concerts last spring, all in proper, cozy auditoriums, I was reluctant to pay the big bucks to see the show this time around. Actually chose not to when I saw the top ticket price for Hamilton was $589. That was through Ticketbastard, not a broker. F*ck that shit. I might spend that to fly to NY to see an act but not to sit on the expressway out of Toronto, ending up in Hamilton.

Finally broke down and decided to look for the cheapest seat in the two tickets for $50 ea., high in the back corner of the lower bowl. Glad I did. Our seats were about 30 feet from the entrance...which made for a quick exit at shows end, beating the traffic out of the city.

The sound was great. The site lines were decent, aided by two giant screens. Got 5 songs I didn't hear in the previous three shows. Leonard was more playful, less talkative. The Webb sisters do a somersault to Cohen's "white girls dancing" refrain in The Future. Sharon Robinson solo's on Boogie Street. Only two band introductions, at the end of each set. Monster-never-ending-encore. Leonard's voice is not as strong as it was a year ago, noticeable only on the songs that require the voice of God, like Hallelujah. It's still marvelous and he's using some nice phrasing tricks to make up for what little has dropped off.

For two years running: The Best Show on the Road.

Here's the set list and some listenable, if less than stellar, mp3's.

Dance Me to the End of Love
The Future
Ain't No Cure
Bird on the Wire
Everybody Knows
In My Secret Life
Who By Fire
Chelsea Hotel
Waiting for the Miracle
Tower of Song
Sisters of Mercy
The Partisan
Boogie Street - Sharon Robinson
I'm Your Man
1,000 kisses recitation
Take this Waltz
-small bow=
So Long Marianne
-small bow-
Famous Blue Raincoat
If it Be Your Will - Webb sisters
Closing Time
-small bow-
I Tried to Leave You
Whither Thou Goest (with crew)

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