This morning Carl (who just turned father for the second time) called me to ask me if I was interested in going to see Leonard Cohen tonight. It took me all of 10 seconds to decide. Leonard Cohen is someone I don’t have much music by, but I’ve always wanted to see him live, and never tried to get tickets because it’s the kind of four hour queue nightmare that has stopped me from seeing, say, U2 or Bruce Springsteen.
I was a bit worried that only knowing a few of the songs would detract from my enjoyment, but the contrary was true. He played all the songs I was hoping to hear, and the other songs ranged from pretty good to stellar as well. So I need to dive more into his catalogue.
It probably helped the atmosphere that today was his 75th birthday, and it also didn’t hurt that his Spanish guitar player was playing a home match. He put on a 3hour+ show, with stellar renditions of personal favourites like “Take This Waltz” (with a perfect female voice too), “I’m Your Man”, “Cure For Love”, “Dance me to the End of Love”, and “First we take Manhattan”. Awesome show, and well worth the 60 euros impulse decision.
In sharp contrast to last Saturday’s Archive show in Belgium. It was planned well in advance, started on the wrong foot because I had forgotten I bought a ticket for my sister but she wouldn’t be able to make it, and not finding anyone to replace her. I ended up driving around for an hour just trying to find a parking space (should have taken my bike, would have been faster), and then didn’t manage to sell the extra ticket.
As for the show, it seems Archive are reconnecting with their original hip-hop-influenced roots, even welcoming again into the collective the MC they had originally. I personally prefer their more progressive/rock side. I didn’t know the new album very well yet, and my personal favouite ‘You all look the same to me’ didn’t bring many songs to the set list – except for the awesome encore of ‘Again’, the opener from that album, lasting the full 15 minutes. They didn’t play ‘Fuck You’, puzzling since it’s a fan favourite. I thought the show was good, but it really hurt that I didn’t know most of the songs.
In the end I paid the same price for Leonard Cohen, he played double the time, and I enjoyed it a lot more. Hope he comes around again!