- Audio CD (13 Sept. 2010)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: CD+DVD
- Label: CMG
- ASIN: B003X4U30M
- Other Editions: Audio CD | Vinyl
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 24,492 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Songs From The Road CD+DVD
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In 2008 Leonard Cohen embarked on his first tour in 15 years. His itinerary took him to the most prestigious and beautiful venues in virtually every corner of the globe, mesmerizing and charming audiences with performances that were hailed as some of the best of his career. One dozen of Leonard Cohen’s most famous songs from those recent world tour performances are now collected on Songs from the Road.
The nigh-universally rapturous acclaim that attended Leonard Cohen’s 84-date world tour of 2008-09 was motivated by two things. One was an entirely laudable desire to make some offering of thanks, in the twilight of Cohen’s career, for the work of one of the most intelligent and literate songwriters of any era. The other was a straightforward acknowledgement that Cohen, sauntering assuredly through his mid-70s, appeared to be in the form of his life.
Songs From the Road, packaged as both a CD and a DVD, collects songs from shows on that tour (London’s instantly legendary O2 Arena show of November 13th, 2008, is the only one represented twice, with That Don’t Make It Junk and Famous Blue Raincoat). The DVD especially makes it clear what an astute decision this tour was, Cohen intoning his words from beneath a raffishly tilted trilby, resembling a character from an Edward Hopper painting. His songs have always been ones of experience, and on some of his earlier recordings especially he didn’t sound like he’d grown into them. But the performances here of Chelsea Hotel and Lover, Lover, Lover, delivered with an old man’s gravitas and Cohen’s luxuriantly weather-beaten voice, make it clear just how wise before their time they were.
The only possible quibbles with this are the inevitable ones concerning the tracklisting – the total lack of any selections from his 1988 masterpiece I’m Your Man seems an especially perverse dereliction. In this case, however, to fuss about what isn’t here rather than celebrate what is would amount to ingratitude of almost heroic proportions. This amounts to a terrific testament to – and from – a man whose adroit negotiation of the fine line that separates tragedy from comedy where matters of the heart are concerned has bequeathed a peerless catalogue of warm, funny dispatches from love’s fraught frontiers. And they’ve rarely sounded better than this.--Andrew Mueller
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Top Customer Reviews
And then I listened to it: wow.
For starters, most of the material on here is different from that on Live in London. And second, there are some really terrific versions on here, including some surprises. It's great to hear Avalanche again, for example; and the full band version of Chelsea hotel works surprisingly well. Other old favourites such as Lover Lover and the Partisan are really beautifully interpreted, too - there is no going through the motions here: this is a band at the top of its game.
This, then, it not a money-making exercise; but a really carefully compiled and wonderfully performed recording. If you saw the shows or heard Live in London, you know how good Leonard and his band are live. But this album will still surprise and delight you.
The DVD is great, and includes some backstage snippets; but some of Leonard backstage would have been nice.
This is Len's 6th live album by my reckoning, and it's up there with the best.
My favourites are Lover,Lover,Lover, Famous Blue Raincoat and Hallelujah. The inclusion of That Don't Make It Junk and Waiting For The Miracle came as a surprise; I would've loved to hear Alexandra Leaving live. Most songs were performed slightly different from the studio versions, even the lyrics differ from the original, which I find interesting.
All Leonard Cohen fans should own this album together with the DVD to enjoy and to complete their collection. While listening to these well-known, beloved songs and watching him perform, I experienced a feeling of loss, of someone very precious who is now leaving us. Hopefully this is not his last live album; I guess quite a few more could come out of his 247 shows from the past three years.
Thats not to say that there is nothing worth listening to on this record - the opening track, a slightly slower tempo "Lover Lover Lover" was my highlight; its good to have a studio recorded live version of "Waiting for the Miracle", and "Famous Blue Raincoat" was another obvious high point - but the latest versions of many classics (which already have several live avatars) - Hallelujah, Suzanne, Bird on a Wire - all fell well short of the same songs in London versions, in my opinion.
One other comment, apart from the musician on winds, the band seem to feature less prominently. In particular, while you can still here the strings of the exceptionally talented Javier Mas, they seem to have been mixed more into the background.
Overall, worth buying to add to the collection, but not his best. I haven't seen the DVD, though, thats one caveat.
There are 12 songs on the CD; these 12 songs are also on the DVD and there is a 20 minute documentary devoted to LC and filmed by his daughter Lorca, but from the viewpoints of his backing band members, the tour management and technicians. The 12 songs are beautifully sung and played, the DVD highlights the gentle intensity of the musicians and their remarkable skill at transforming each of LC's masterpieces into something even better, more special.
No track is better than any other - each is just fantastic. LC's vocals, for someone in his mid-70's, are exceptional - he is in great form - and the musicians add panache. He is humble, gentle, generous and obviously enjoying himself - and the musicians are given the opportunity to shine, as each do. If this was an album of a single concert, all of us fans would be commenting on what a scintillating show we had just witnessed.
Also, a word for the three lady backing singers - the excellent British sisters Charley and Hattie Webb and, the incomparable; Sharon Robinson. Ms Robinson has been working with LC off and on for 30-odd years, has co-written and co-produced a lot of his more recent music, and is an understated and wonderful individual. The Financial Times did a piece on her and her collaboration with LC which you can find if you either read her Wikipedia bio or go straight to her website - a very interesting read.
I have to admit to being biased about LC. I love his work. As someone says in the little film, he is neither selling anything nor promoting a new album; he is just touring and giving his fans a chance to see him.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Quite a fan of the great Cohen, and have most of his stuff, but not this and his newest. Not disapointed, and an excellent listen.Published 2 months ago by Mr. G Brown
Super compilation, but does duplicate some songs already available on Live from London O2 album, albeit they are from other venues.Published 12 months ago by Pb