Saturday, July 6, 2013

Leonard Cohen – one of the greats

Although I have lived in Geneva for 40 years now, I had never attended any of the Montreux Jazz Festival concerts. At least I picked a wonderful way to begin by attending Leonard Cohen’s concert last night. 
Stravinski Hall
It all started when I was on my USA trip this spring – whilst checking emails and various newspapers online I noticed that he would be singing to open and to open (his first concert was Thurs. night, but the MJF didn’t officially start until Fri. night… there has been a bit of fun by various journalists about that fact) so wrote my housemate to find out if she was interested, knowing that we were both fans. She said, of course, and could she bring her fiancé, to which I replied, of course, and she said o.k. go ahead and get the tickets: I had to then say, I can’t from here as don’t have all the access and am afraid I’ll forget when they open the sales, could you please… (we do have such a great “working” relationship!). She was able to get three tickets, then it was planning how to get there. Train seemed the logical answer so that is what we did.

After all the fun of the windowpane replacement in the morning, the day sped by and none of us were really ready on time. Had also forgotten the traffic element so by the time we got to Montreux, the doors were already open. I needed to get my ticket changed as we had used different machines in Geneva and my housemate and fiancé got 10% and their ticket was valid until the next morning: my machine didn’t offer that – neither the 10% nor the next morning and worrying that we might not make it back to Geneva before the midnight deadline I stood in line to see if I could change it, whilst they went to grab standing spots.
Thank goodness I did – as it turned out we didn’t pull into the driveway until 2:45 a.m.!

As luck would have it (imagine if you can: we had gone our different ways right out of the train station, walked a good half a mile, each of us had popped into a different store to get water, had had to exchange our tickets for a bracelet, then had accessed the Stravinski Hall by different doors, only for me to realize that when I went through to enter the concert premises itself, that I was right behind them!) we were able to get spots with our backs to one of the camera cages with a good view of the screen so were able to sit on the floor for a great deal of the time.

The local papers all reported what we experienced: a fabulous concert by a very talented, old guard singer. No, they have not all passed away, nor has his voice diminished: at 78 to sing for an hour and a quarter before the first break, then to have the second half be every bit as long, followed by encore after encore until we weren’t sure whether he would stop or we could. Such a gentlemen man too as all of his back-up musicians were given their chance to shine (and some several times), so many different nationalities, such grace in his intros of them, and such humor (“I can also sing three hours like Bruce Springsteen”).
Stars in our eyes and love in our hearts we left Montreux determined to return again and experience more of the atmosphere and talent another year.

They didn't always stay still.