serious

Do dum dum dum, de do dum dum.

Very good last night, he was. A very nice man, with very talented friends.

They played:

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
Anthem

Tower of song
Suzanne
Boogie street
Hallelujah
Democracy
I'm your man
A thousand kisses deep (although this was read as a poem, with little in common with the words that were used for the song. Similar versions can be read online, if you're interested)
Take this waltz

So long, Marianne
First we take Manhattan
Sisters of mercy
If it be your will (sung by Charley and Hattie Webb, two of the backing singers, with acoustic guitar and harp, and I believe a contribution by the keyboard player too)
Closing time

I should probably drone on about this at some length, but I'll restrict myself to noting that more dates have been announced for the autumn, including several more UK ones between the 5th and 22nd of November. Tickets are on sale tomorrow (Friday) at 9 am.

Afterwards, at the Halfway House, we (Nicky, AJ, and I) were wondering which was his most depressing song. Tricky, because that's not the defining characteristic it's said to be, and mostly a definite optimism (or at least defiance) in there, but . . . anyway. What do you think?
  • Current Location: the boxroom
  • Current Music: If it be your will
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They did the first. I'm definitely with you on Teachers, though - one of the less famous ones I've been falling in love with in the run-up.
Looks very similar to the Toronto setlist, though I'm pretty sure we got another song after "Closing Time" - I just don't remember what it was. Where did he play?
It seems to be a song or two shorter than the recent sets.

It was at the Castle - on the Tattoo stadium seats.
That's what I would say, although various people have disagreed with me.

Other songs, like The Future, are downers, but they don't carry the personal punch. In my view, at least.
Depressing?? He's a wry, funny, warm writer most of the time. It's 2o years since I saw him at the Albert Hall (I'm Your Man tour) and its still one of the most memorable gigs of my life. I'm not sure anyone spoke for a long time afterwards, we were all just in awe.

If I had to choose a favourite? Dance Me To The End Of Love.
Depressing? Maybe The Partisan. Have you heard Will Oldham's version of Winter Lady, that's bleak.

He's a wry, funny, warm writer

Also romantic, evocative, and various other things. I suppose the question is which song best fits the somewhat misleading view of him.

Not that I'm against depressing songs, of course, but if I was after something just depressing, I'd go elsewhere.
I think it's the voice that makes some people think that, and perhaps exposure to a limited number of songs.
This is what pisses me off.
I went through about ten pages so far trying to find a PRICE of a Glasgow ticket.
I can't be arsed with this.
Its too much hassle seeing people like this .
Unless someone else is paying of course : )
It's hassle, yes. I used to go to Glastonbury every few years, but getting tickets became a chore. The net has its downside.

I understand (well, I read here) that it's £ 45-75. The expense is, of course, another reason.

Edited at 2008-07-18 01:30 am (UTC)
Funny you should mention it--yesterday I got a copy of "Tower of Song", a cover compilation that includes Bono's soulless version of "Hallelujah" and also Sting and the Chieftains doing "Sisters of Mercy" as a drinking song.
I think that before you criticise any version of a Cohen song you should probably hear "Tower of Song" rendered1 by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.

[1] "rendered" in this case primarily refers to what happens to animal carcasses on their way to becoming petfood.
I have that compilation too. I am continually amazed at how otherwise talented people can suck so badly. It could be argued that Bono's version of "Hallelujah" is better than Nick Cave's "Tower of Song" because at least it has a beat & you can dance to it, but compared to the version John Cale delivered on the "I'm Your Fan" compilation, it's soulless.

"I'm Your Fan" actually has two versions of Tower of Song, possibly because they felt they had to make up for Nick Cave.

I have no complaints about the Sting version of Sisters of Mercy. I like that one.
1) Thea Gilmore has been doing a nice version of Sisters Of Mercy live recently.

2) Bono soulless? That's a given surely.

3) Kim Salmon did a good version of Suzanne a few years ago, but the best cover of Cohen I have is by Thalia Zedek 'Dance Me To the End Of love' with David Michael curry droning on viola
On the same album Zedek has a song called 'Excommunication (Everybody knows' which opens in very Cohen-esque fashion:
"Everybody knows that you'll be leaving/leaving me behind/And everbody knows what's gonna happen/I'm gonna lose my mind."
I should probably qualify this and mention that I don't actually dislike Bono's version. It's just that it's done as a bloopy techno song. I often like bloopy techno, but it does sort of fail to express--if you don't know the song you wouldn't recognize it, because the only actual singing is the chorus. It's kind of pretty as its own thing, but Cale delivered it better.
I have it in my head that Marianne Faithfull does a kick-ass "Tower of Song", but I don't seem to have it in iTunes. Google tells me it's on "Vagabond Ways", which mysteriously I've never ripped. WTF?

Leonard Cohen and Marianne Faithfull would make for an interesting duet, I think - I'm just not sure what song.
I believe even the man himself sometimes refuses to sing Everybody Knows, because sometimes even he's not that misanthropic.

Hallelujah is heartbreaking, and never fails to have me in tears - particularly the line: "But you don't really care for music, do you?". It feels like someone opening his heart to someone who will never, ever understand.
I saw a documentary once - this one - where he said that he didn't do it every night because it was important to have the right sort of social passion . . . which I suppose he didn't feel he could reliably conjure up on demand.