Leonard Cohen live in a vineyard - along with Paul Kelly and Augie March


5. Apr. 2009, 7:57

Mon 26 Jan – A Day On The Green


Well, it's a while ago now, but here are my recollections of the event...

Had a nice lazy time going down south for this event and got there nice and early. Queued up with a hundred people or so in front as we waited for the gates to open at the winery. Triple J hottest 100 count down on our portable radio - only memorable track was Business Time by Flight of the Conchords.

Got a nice enough possie for our fold out chairs a few rows back from the barrier for the plebs. In hindsight it probably would have been worth shelling out for better seats, or even the stage side dinner. Straining of the eyes was required to get a good look at the performers' faces, but thankfully there were a couple of big screens to supplement this.

Pre-concert PA tunes included Pink Floyd - Brain Damage, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Weeping Song, Massive Attack - Unfinished Sympathy (IIRC), etc. Good stuff all round.

Augie March acoustic set was first. Despite recommendations from various music critic friends I really struggle to get into these guys, but it was pleasant enough on a sunny day like this.

Paul Kelly was up next, playing solo acoustic guitar. The main guy from Augie March joined in on electric guitar for the second half of the set, and this worked really well. I was blown away by the presence created just by a couple of guys with guitars - no drums, etc. They Thought I Was Asleep was heart wrenchingly melancholy. I would say moreso than any of Leonard Cohen's set, whose brand of melancholy is more tinged with cyncism and wit, compared to Kelly's real life story telling style. Paul Kelly left me wanting more, in a good way. I'd love to see him again some time.

Leonard Cohen. If you haven't seen him live you may well have missed your chance. He indulged us with an enormous set replete with interval, spanning his entire catalogue - a balance from all eras. It is remarkable how such a vast set didn't really have any dead zones, rather a steady stream of master pieces with a few minor exceptions.

Leonard exuded warmth and humility. There was a conspicuous lack of the kind of arrogance one might expect from such a lauded figure at a small town show. His eyes were filled with sincerity. It was as though he was earnestly trying to give of himself to all while he still could. His skipping on and off stage conveyed the feeling that he had tapped into some fountain of life, and that it was from this he was attempting to share.

The fragments of the songs from the night that are left in my mind:

"Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin" - the opening line of the beautiful opening number.

Virtuoso mandolin playing on Everybody Knows. "Everybody knows that the ship is sinking. Everybody knows that the captain lied."

Virtuoso acoustic guitar intro to Who By Fire, with one of the backing vocalists playing harp for the song.

Tower of Song - one of the best songs ever written - opening the second set with people still milling about, chattering and barely paying it any attention. It was like an orthodox church service with people wandering in and out casually greeting one another, paying little heed to the continuous sacred chanting. Leonard didn't seem to mind, and played his simple little synth solos with a self-effacing smile. "I was born like this, I had no choice, I was born with the gift of a golden voice."

If It Be Your Will, with a spoken word introduction then the pair of backing vocalist sisters taking over.

A Thousand Kisses Deep rendered in spoken word. It brought a tear to my eye, up close and personal.

"Democracy is coming - to the USA"

Leonard's beautiful finger picking and melancholy of The Partisan.

"I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel,
that's all, I don't even think of you that often."

The final encore, out of many, fittingly "I tried to leave you".

And the pinnacle that hopefully will never leave me, Anthem:
"Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in"

Set list:
Dance Me to the End of Love
Ain't No Cure for Love
Everybody Knows
Hey, That's No Way to Say Goodbye
The Future
In My Secret Life
Who by Fire
Bird On A Wire
Tower of Song
A Thousand Kisses Deep (spoken)
Take This Waltz
If It Be Your Will
The Partisan
Famous Blue Raincoat
First We Take Manhattan
Boogie Street
Chelsea Hotel No. 2
I'm Your Man
So Long, Marianne
I Tried to Leave You

They Thought I Was Asleep
Stolen Apples Taste The Sweetest
God Told Me To
You're 39, You're Beautiful & You're Mine
From Little Things Big Things Grow
When I First Met Your Ma
Everything's Turning To White (Jindabyne)

One Crowded Hour
This Train Will Be Taking No Passengers

Please submit any additions/corrections in the comments.
Unbestätigte Übermittlungen
Leonard Cohen, music that forgives you nothing


  • EncouragingSlug

    I think Paul Kelly might have done Careless as well.

    27. Mai. 2009, 9:51
  • EncouragingSlug

    Also maybe Deeper Water.

    27. Mai. 2009, 16:13
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