Tour Reviews and Other Memories from
LEONARD COHEN WORLD TOUR Winter 2009

January 28 & 29
Sydney, Australia
Sydney Entertainment Centre

Set List for January 28
Set List for January 29
Sydney Morning Herald review & photo
The Daily Telegraph review & photo
Sydney Morning Herald review & photo
Fan reports
Youtube


January 31
Hunter Valley, Australia
Bimbadgen Estate

Set List for January 31
Youtube


February 1
Bowral, Australia
Centennial Vineyards

Set List for February 1
Illawarra Mercury review & photo
Southern Highland News review
Fan reports
Youtube


February 3
Brisbane, Australia
Brisbane Entertainment Centre

Set List for February 3
The Courier-Mail review & photo
Gold Coast.com review
Fan reports






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Wellington and Auckland, New Zealand
Yarra Valley and Adelaide, Australia

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Melbourne, Swan Valley, Australia










Sydney, Australia

Set List - January 28, 2009

Per RC on The Leonard Cohen Forum

First Set

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
Chelsea Hotel
Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye
Anthem

Second Set

Tower Of Song
Suzanne
Gypsy Wife
The Partisan
Boogie Street
Hallelujah
I'm Your Man
A Thousand Kisses Deep (recitation)
Take This Waltz

Encores

So Long, Marianne
First We Take Manhattan
Famous Blue Raincoat
If It Be Your Will
Democracy
I Tried to Leave You
Whither Thou Goest











Sydney, Australia

Set List - January 29, 2009

Per dce on The Leonard Cohen Forum

First Set

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
Chelsea Hotel
Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye
Sisters Of Mercy
Anthem

Second Set

Tower Of Song
Suzanne
Gypsy Wife
The Partisan
Boogie Street
Hallelujah
I'm Your Man
A Thousand Kisses Deep (recitation)
Take This Waltz

Encores

So Long, Marianne
First We Take Manhattan
Famous Blue Raincoat
If It Be Your Will
Closing Time
I Tried to Leave You
Whither Thou Goest











Sydney, Australia

Songs from a (big) room justify early ovation

Sydney Morning Herald - January 28, 2009 by Bernard Zuel (Photo: Jon Reid)

MAYBE if his accountant hadn't been so free and easy with his money we wouldn't be seeing Leonard Cohen in Sydney. He is 74 after all and in an industry full of egos in need of stroking, he never looked like someone who couldn't exist without the roar of the crowd in his ears.



But (financial) needs must, so hallelujah for those who thought that they would never see him again. Or at all. Perhaps one reason for a standing ovation before the first song after Cohen jogged onto the stage, elegant in suit and fedora.

Still, whatever the motivation behind his first visit here in 24 years, the Canadian poet, author and songwriter can still pull a crowd as last night's baby boomer crush, including Bob Carr and Murray "the Rocking Wiggle" Cook, proved.

In Sydney there are two shows in the giant box of the Entertainment Centre (the second is tonight, with a few tickets left) and two sold-out shows this weekend at wineries in the Hunter and Bowral.

And they are not short shows either. Belying his age - he is a full decade older than both of this month's other visiting musical superannuants Neil Young and Grace Jones - Cohen's shows feature more than 25 songs and last up to three hours, including self-deprecating jokes.

Of course, with a career going back 40 years, featuring some of the greatest pieces of poetic music sung by a man whose voice was never the best and these days is rather aged, even this lengthy set list won't satisfy everyone. But there is some assurance or affirmation for us as he begins with Dance Me To The End Of Love: "Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin/dance me through the panic 'til I'm gathered safely in".

Panic? Not him with a sardonic glint in his eye and wicked wit to deploy as he follows with the droll The Future and its killer lines "Give me crack and anal sex/take the only tree that's left and stuff it up the hole in your culture ... I've seen the future brother, it's murder". Take that, emo kids.











Sydney, Australia

Review, Leonard Cohen, Sydney Entertainment Centre

The Daily Telegraph - January 29, 2009 by Kathy McCabe (Photo: Noel Kessel)

EVERYONE should be Leonard Cohen when they grow up.

They would skip about their day, as the 74-year-old Canadian songwriter and poet did each time he went on and offstage at the Sydney Entertainment Centre on Wednesday night.

They would be able to drop to one knee to serenade their guitarist or the front row of the crowd with ease; regular Buddhist meditation has been kind to his joints.

If you were Leonard Cohen when you were 70, thousands would hang on your every crooned and spoken word rather than dismissing such wisdom born of a life lived large just because you were old.

You would be surrounded by those whose talents not only enhanced your songs but which made you stop, hold your Fedora to your chest and marvel that human beings can conjure such magic.

And, if you were Leonard Cohen, you would be adored.

The years melted away for the old and no doubt the young were inspired to aspire to such a future as Cohen and his nine-piece ensemble played such modern classics as Everybody Knows, Hallelujah, Suzanne, Bird On The Wire and I'm Your Man.

Ovations abounded - some prompted by the house lights but mostly by his brilliance. It's funny how when the house lights come on, an audience tends to have the Pavlovian response of rising to their feet.

He was funny, real funny. When referencing the fact his last world tour - which did not make Australia - was 15 years ago, Cohen said: ''I was 60, just a kid with a crazy dream''.

Cohen then went on to say that in the intervening years, he had also studied philosophies and religions ''but cheerfulness kept breaking through''.

It was a rare concert, one that you could hear every note being plucked and sung, every beat, every chord struck.

But it was transcendent because Cohen proved to be that singular artist who can make a hall of more than 10,000 people feel like a loungeroom gathering of old friends.











Sydney, Australia

Gentleman's triumph on the Hallelujah trail

Sydney Morning Herald - January 31, 2009 by Richard Jinman (Photo: Jon Reid)

"OH MY God," gasped the 30-something woman in the white dress. "I'm in love with a 74-year old man."



She was not alone. As the audience spilled out of Leonard Cohen's show at the Sydney Entertainment Centre on Wednesday night, there were many such declarations of love from people with eyes reddened by tears.

Among those paying tribute to the Canadian poet and songwriter yesterday was "Cheryl" - aka the former Democrats leader Cheryl Kernot - who rang ABC 702 to say how profoundly Cohen had moved her.

It was a common sentiment. The concerts - which continue this weekend at vineyards in the Hunter Valley and Bowral - are a sensation: giant communions led by the world's grooviest pensioner. A man forced back onto the concert circuit by the dastardly misappropriation of his retirement fund; a man who still manages to radiate a kind of cosmic munificence.

But why does the author of Suzanne and Famous Blue Raincoat have such power? Sure, the songs are brilliant, the voice is in surprisingly good nick and the band are tight. But when did you last cry at a Rod Stewart concert?

Cohen is not only the author of pop's great secular hymn, Hallelujah, he creates an aura of religiosity. Intoning a line such as "There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in," one feels oneself in the presence of someone who, if he has not actually reached enlightenment, has at least glimpsed its outer suburbs.

Michael Gudinski, the tour promoter, calls him "a reluctant rock star". He has not made any excessive demands in terms of hotel suites or tour riders, although he has chartered a plane to ferry himself and the band from New Zealand and interstate.

Cohen's only major demand is superlative sound quality at his performances. He attends every sound-check, staying for several hours to ensure the mix is perfect.

Although a small group of his fans believe Cohen is an astral traveller, the Canadian will use a conventional tour bus to head for the Hunter Valley today. It is unlikely there will be any groupies or rowdy behaviour up the back.

"He keeps to himself and hasn't done any interviews for the tour," said Gudinski. "The backstage atmosphere is quiet and refined. That is the way he wants it ... there is none of the usual yahooing."











Sydney, Australia

Blogs and Other Fan Reports

Blog - Nick's public interface - "Leonard Cohen, Sydney 2009"
But oh, the music! Rich, intricate instrumental sounds replace the synthesised recordings on his albums - he shares the stage with an amazingly talented and versatile band, and his songs have been arranged to showcase their musicality. And share the stage he does, humbly, elegantly, graciously - solos on sax, harmonica, spanish guitars, harp, and double-bass interleave with his golden voice to bring a fresh appreciation to old songs. Performed live, the beauty of the music approaches that of Cohen's lyrics. This is more than a concert for fans of Leonard Cohen; it's a concert for lovers of music...


Blog - Old Path Black Clouds - "Transports of joy"
At 75, Leonard Cohen has transformed into something serene and immortal - a high priest, a genuine holy roller. His performance was blessed with a rare humanity and a divine immanence - half humble monk, half enlightened emanation... If you have the chance to see him, I urge you to let nothing stand in your way...


Blog - nautile26 - "Leonard is Love"
He was brilliant. He was smooth; he was suave; he was so, so sexy...


Discuss the tour and read fan reviews on The Leonard Cohen Forum and in French on the Leonard Cohen Forum (French site).












Hunter Valley, Australia

Set List - January 31, 2009

Per Andrew (Darby) on The Leonard Cohen Forum

First Set

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
Chelsea Hotel
Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye
Sisters Of Mercy
Anthem

Second Set

Tower Of Song
Suzanne
Gypsy Wife
The Partisan
Boogie Street
Hallelujah
I'm Your Man
Democracy
A Thousand Kisses Deep (recitation)
Take This Waltz

Encores

So Long, Marianne
First We Take Manhattan
Famous Blue Raincoat
If It Be Your Will
Closing Time
I Tried to Leave You
Whither Thou Goest











Hunter Valley, Australia

Blogs and Other Fan Reports

Blog - Lottielulu - "the boy turns four, the girl starts school and the man sings "
It was the best live show I have ever seen and that is saying something as I am pretty old and have been to more than my fair share of performances...


Discuss the tour and read fan reviews on The Leonard Cohen Forum and in French on the Leonard Cohen Forum (French site).












Bowral, Australia

Set List - February 1, 2009

Per dce on The Leonard Cohen Forum

First Set

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
Chelsea Hotel
Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye
Sisters Of Mercy
Anthem

Second Set

Tower Of Song
Suzanne
Gypsy Wife
The Partisan
Boogie Street
Hallelujah
I'm Your Man
Democracy
A Thousand Kisses Deep (recitation)
Take This Waltz

Encores

So Long, Marianne
First We Take Manhattan
Famous Blue Raincoat
If It Be Your Will
Closing Time
I Tried to Leave You
Whither Thou Goest











Bowral, Australia

Leonard Cohen rocks Bowral vineyards

Illawarra Mercury - February 2, 2009 by Alex Arnold (Photo: Dave Tease)

It was something thousands of people never expected to see, let alone in a Bowral vineyard.

It was back in 1985 when Leonard Cohen last toured Australia and prior to the start of this world tour more than 15 years since he stood on a stage.

Many of Cohen's songs, such as First We Take Manhattan and the classic Hallelujah are widely performed, but rarely by Cohen himself.

A sell-out crowd of more than 8000 endured a warm Southern Highlands afternoon to see Cohen headline yesterday's A Day on the Green concert at the Centennial Vineyards at Bowral.

It was a quality afternoon for those lucky enough to secure a ticket for the sell-out concert, which not only included a rare glimpse of a living legend, but performances by The Triffids and Friends and Paul Kelly.

The show was part of the A Day on the Green series of concerts. Jimmy Barnes has been confirmed as the headline act for the next A Day on the Green concert in Bowral on March 21.











Bowral, Australia

Leonard wows large crowd

Southern Highland News - February 4, 2009 by Claire Mitchell

SUNDAY was yet another successful Day on the Green concert with more than 7000 people turning out to see Leonard Cohen.

The 74-year-old mesmerised Bowral audiences during his first Australian tour since 1985, and ADOTG creator Michael Newton said he was certain no one went away disappointed.

"There's nothing like a Leonard Cohen concert," he said.

"With Alicia Keys back in December everyone was up and dancing, but with Leonard, everyone sat still, enthralled by the music and his performance."

Centennial was Cohen's fourth ADOTG concert so far and Mr Newton said he enjoyed every bit of it, and was showing no signs of tiring, despite playing extensive sets.

Performances by support acts The Triffids and Paul Kelly were also very well received, Mr Newton said, as audiences were amazed by the talent on stage.

"As each show is completed we're always looking for ways to do it better," he said.

"For example, everyone parked on site this time and we used a shuttle bus to transport people from the outer area carparks to the venue itself."

A Day on the Green has applied to Wingecarribee Council to stage another five years of concerts at Centennial Vineyards.

Mr Newton said they were looking at having around three shows each season, depending on the availability of the artists.

Wingecarribee Council environment and planning director Scott Lee said ADOTG had been a pleasure to work with in the past but Council would have to consider issues such as the number of events proposed each year and managing the noise level.











Bowral, Australia

Blogs and Other Fan Reports

Blog - Perceptric Forum - "Leonard Cohen Concert"
What a magnificent concert! Great sound, great location... What was truly wonderful was the artist...


Discuss the tour and read fan reviews on The Leonard Cohen Forum and in French on the Leonard Cohen Forum (French site).












Brisbane, Australia

Set List - February 3, 2009

Per Andrew (Darby) on The Leonard Cohen Forum

First Set

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
Chelsea Hotel
Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye
Sisters Of Mercy
Anthem

Second Set

Tower Of Song
Suzanne
Gypsy Wife
The Partisan
Boogie Street
Hallelujah
I'm Your Man
A Thousand Kisses Deep (recitation)
Take This Waltz

Encores

So Long, Marianne
First We Take Manhattan
Famous Blue Raincoat
If It Be Your Will
Democracy
I Tried to Leave You
Whither Thou Goest











Brisbane, Australia

Leonard Cohen woes fans at Brisbane Entertainment Centre

The Courier-Mail - February 3, 2009 by Noel Mengel (Photo: Marc Robertson)

THE word "legend" is flung around too liberally in the world of modern music, no doubt too liberally for the liking of Leonard Cohen, a man whose crisp and elegant way with words has been winning fans - and helping heal wounded hearts - for more than 40 years.

But in this case legend seems appropriate, since most of his generations of fans had long ago given up hope of seeing him in the flesh on a concert tour. It's been 24 years since he last played Brisbane, but financial misfortune at the hands of his accountant has forced his hand.

Whatever the reason for his change of heart, the Brisbane Entertainment Centre was full of baby boomers glad to pay tribute to the Canadian poet-turned-songwriter.

Such was their joy that they gave him a standing ovation just for walking on stage.

It's difficult to avoid using another overused word, but everything about these nearly three hours of music was beautiful.

With this band, Cohen has hit on a sound that suits him perfectly; from the lighting to the music itself, everything is bathed in a warm glow.

It's hard to select highlights from a show like this, but whether it was a classic like Bird On A Wire or newer friends like In My Secret Life, Cohen did these sublime songs proud.

Cohen's deep rumble of a voice already sounded old and lived in when he released his first album; all these years later, it still works a treat.

The band gave some extraordinary shades to the music, with three backing singers and some powerful playing from guitarist Javier Mas.

The set delivered everything that a hardened fan could ask for, from the fleshy delights of Chelsea Hotel #2 through Tower Of Song to Suzanne and Hallelujah.

Leonard Cohen is still the prince of cool at 74.











Brisbane, Australia

Leonard Cohen sublime at Brisbane Entertainment Centre

Gold Coast.com - February 6, 2009 by Suzanne Simonot

A SKIPPING, joyous Leonard Cohen, who turns 75 this year, proved just how unfair his 'prince of bummers' reputation is as he captivated a capacity crowd during a three-hour plus show at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre this week.

The Canadian poet, philosopher, novelist, musician, singer and songwriter's skill, thrill and goodwill reverberated around the auditorium as he proved age has not wearied his prowess or his intensity. "It's been a long time, about 15 years since I was on stage when I was 60, a young kid with a crazy dream," he joked.

Backed by one of the tightest bands Brisbane has had the pleasure to host, Cohen proved he's lost none of his humour or pathos and his wry takes on religion, loneliness, sexuality and relationships were as relevant now as they were when first written.

The audience couldn't have hoped for a better selection of hits and rarities from the baritone's much-covered and frequently copied catalogue Dance Me to the End of Love, Ain't No Cure for Love, Bird on a Wire, Everybody Knows, In My Secret Life, Tower of Song, Suzanne and So Long Marianne, First We Take Manhattan, The Partisan, and Chelsea Hotel #2, his ode to one-time lover Janis Joplin, were all there.

Inspired and inspiring, the show was a simply sublime experience poetry in motion and well worth the 24-year wait.











Brisbane, Australia

Blogs and Other Fan Reports

Blog - That Striped Sunlight Sound - "Leonard Cohen Plays Brisbane"
As far as a concert goes it is one of the greatest I have seen, it up there with my other greats and for a few different reasons. I mean the musicianship was incredible, the band fantastic, the backing singers unreal, the songs some of the greatest written, but Leonard connected with me on an emotional level almost exclusively by his songs...


Blog - Faith and Theology - "Leonard Cohen in Brisbane 2009"
The concert was a revelation. I laughed and I cried; I roared and thundered; I leapt to my feet; I sat wrapped in silence. It was the greatest show I've ever seen...


Blog - Another Lost Shark - "Review: Leonard Cohen live at Brisbane Entertainment Centre"
At 74 years of age, Cohen is still a man working for our smile. Last night there were more than ten thousand of them looking back at him. It was a joyous transaction...


Discuss the tour and read fan reviews on The Leonard Cohen Forum and in French on the Leonard Cohen Forum (French site).









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