I’m Your Fan…

Wowsers! What a night I had tonight… I wouldn’t ordinarily say such a thing as it’s a pretty bold statement but readers… I have had an amazing night!  Tonight, I, Mr Omneo, had the pleasure of being entertained for almost 3 hours musically by Mr Leonard Cohen!!  OK, so it wasn’t exactly an intimate affair, Lenny didn’t pop round to mine for a bowl of chicken noodle soup but he did sing his little old heart out at the O2 Arena, no less than 26 songs did the man perform… not bad for a 74 year old!

I’m a relative newcomer to Cohen.  I can still remember the first time I heard him, I was staying over at William’s around 1994, as was typical back then, I had consumed far more alcohol than was decent and I had retired to bed (i.e. sofa-bed) to watch VH1 and I remember dozing off, or rather I remember waking up after dozing off, it was about 3am and I heard the tail end of a song just before another song started, I blinked a few times to try and focus, it had a melancholy sound to it… I liked it, even tho I was drunker than a drunk… That song was Leonard Cohen’s Dance Me To The End Of Love. I remember it well because it was probably one of the few songs that made me get up out of bed and search for a pen to write down the name which VH1, bless it, shows both at the start and at the end of each track, it was that good.  The next day I bought the album and the rest, as they say, is history.  I went on to buy just about every Leonard Cohen album I could lay my hands on and when I went to Australia in 1997 I and had to sell off my CD collection Leonard’s CDs were the only ones I went right back out and bought again at full price, even tho I’d just sold mine for a few quid a CD, well that and Pink Floyd’s The Wall :)

Tonight, it seemed like fate had a hand in things when the first track that was played was… you guessed it… this one… Isn’t it lovely?

The concert tonight was great, every time I’ve been to the O2 Arena I’ve been amazed at the sound quality, previously I’ve seen Snow Patrol and Prince perform there and I’d thought the sound perfect but a part of me had doubts about Mr Cohen, he’s not exactly stadium rock material and whilst I was up in the Gods i.e. the upper tier the large screens provided the visuals required, at least I knew he wouldn’t be prancing around like Prince but it really would all be down to the sound and I wasn’t let down, on some tracks, as I closed my eyes to listen it felt as if I was sitting with headphones on, it was however quite strange to open my eyes and look around and catch sight of about 17,000 other people sitting transfixed!

That struck me as quite British! 20,000 people go to see the Master of Melancholy and everyone sits in silence, I felt so self conscious when I was singing along to the songs that I stopped for fear that any moment someone would tap me on the shoulder and ask me to shut up.  Having said that, there were two ladies behind me who had obviously had more than a few glasses of cooking sherry before arriving as after the first couple of bars of music to each track, including the first one, one of them exclaimed, “Oh No! It’s not Closing Time!”  I wanted to turn round and tell her I hardly thought he’d be using that as the opening track!  In the end he didn’t play it at all, you should have heard her complain at that!

In the end however he played a great deal more, proving that even at 74 the old dog has some life in him, here’s the complete set.

Ist Section

  1. Dance Me To The End Of Love
  2. Repent
  3. Ain’t No Cure For Love
  4. Bird On A Wire
  5. Everybody Knows
  6. In My Secret Life
  7. Who By Fire
  8. That Ain’t No Way To Say Goodbye
  9. That Don’t Make It Junk
  10. Anthem

2nd Section

  1. Tower Of Song
  2. Suzanne
  3. Where Is My Gypsy Wife Tonight
  4. The Partisan
  5. Back On Boogie Street
  6. Hallelujah
  7. I’m Your Man
  8. A Thousand Kisses Deep
  9. Take This Waltz

1st Encore

  1. So Long Marianne
  2. First We Take Manhattan

2nd Encore

  1. Famous Blue Raincoat
  2. If It Be Your Will
  3. Democracy

3rd Encore

  1. I Tried To Leave you
  2. Whither Thou Goest

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