Archive for the ‘Leonard Cohen’ Category

Leonard Cohen Newcastle City Hall 1976

Leonard Cohen Newcastle City Hall 1976
This was the first time I saw Leonard Cohen, and it was one of the best concerts that I have ever been to. I’d gone along with my mate Ian having heard some of Cohen’s early albums. John and Susan were also at this gig. I went along with an open mind; I quite liked some of Cohen’s songs, and had the usual image in my mind of a quiet guy singing dark, depressive songs. The show was just a revelation to me. The beauty of the songs, the clarity and quiet passion of Cohen’s delivery and the musicianship of his band all shoen through that night. This gig was part of a European tour to promote the Best of Leonard Cohen album, and Cohen was backed by a new band that included Laura Branigan as one of two back up singers. I left the gig as a convert, and waited to get the chance to see Cohen again, which didn’t happen until very recently. He has never returned to Newcastle and his visits to the UK have been few and far between until recent years. Setlist from 1976: Bird on the Wire; So Long, Marianne; Who By Fire; Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye; Store Room; One of Us Cannot Be Wrong; Lady Midnight; There Is a War; I Tried to Leave You; Diamonds in the Mine; Chelsea Hotel; The Stranger Song; You Know Who I Am; The Partisan; Story of Isaac; Famous Blue Raincoat; Lover Lover Lover; Sisters of Mercy; Is This What You Wanted; Suzanne; The Butcher; Bird on the Wire; Tonight Will Be Fine; Joan of Arc; Do I Have To Dance All Night. Looking at the setlist today, I realise just how many classic songs this guy has written.

Leonard Cohen Edinburgh Castle

Leonard Cohen

Edinburgh Castle Wed 16 July 2008

I hadn’t seen Leonard Cohen since the 1970s, and figured that it was about time that I went to see him again. Laura had also heard a lot of his stuff and quite fancied coming along to see him. She’s really into Rufus Wainwright and his version of Hallelujah had got her interested in Mr Cohen in the first place.

So we take the train to Edinburgh to see Leonard at the Castle. We arrive in plenty of time and go for a pizza in a restaurant just off Princess Street. Then we get ready in our Travelodge which is just at the bottom of the Royal Mile. We then take the short walk up the Royal Mile to the Castle to see the show.

The weather is OK but it does look like it might rain. We have seats on the floor about 20 rows back which is quite a good view of the stage. This is a pretty nice venue in a great setting.  Leonard comes on stage with his band and starts with Dance me to the end of love. His voice is deeper than on the records and he is almost speaking the words but, having said that, he is still singing well and its great to see him. The crowd are clearly excited at seeing a legend in the flesh, and hang on to his every word. However, I would say that I found the crowd quite subdued; there were also quite a lot of people around us who were talking during the show which was quite annoying at times, particularly during the quiet songs.

He does all the well known ones; Suzzane, Bird on the Wire, Sisters of Mercy, So Long Marianne. Great to hear them again sung by the man himself. The rain starts during the encore, and after the show we make the walk down the Royal Mile to our hotel. Back home on the train on the morning after bacon sarnies from a shop down the street. A pretty good trip all in all. Nice to see Leonard again.

the programme

the programme

my ticket

my ticket

 Leonard Cohen site:

Set list:

Dance me to the end of love
The Future
Ain’t no cure for love
Bird on the wire

Everybody knows
In my secret life
Who by fire?
Hey, that’s no way to say goodbye


Tower of song
Boogie street
I’m your man
A thousand kisses deep (recitation)
Take this waltz


So long, Marianne
First we take Manhattan
Sisters of mercy
If it be your will (sung by the Webb sisters)
Closing time