Concert Report: Auckland, October 29

Another spirited performance last night from Leonard and the band, maintaining the very high musical standard of the Thursday show (Oct 28). The audience this time around seemed a fair bit more buzzing. Down in the forward section where I was sitting (row 15, right hand side … not as lucky this time around) the band received its first of several standing ovations mere seconds after setting foot on stage. Lots of huge applause — in all the usual kinds of places, and some others as well — and some rather nice audience singing during the later choruses of Hallelujah and pretty much all the choruses of So Long, Marianne. Interestingly enough, the singers were almost exclusively women …

Vector Arena — a big sports arena / entertainment dome thingy — was packed to the rafters … literally. After his first song, LC made one of his few spoken comments of the night, thanking everyone from coming and (looking up at those in the very back, very very high-up seats) climbing these heights. “Just one caution”, he quipped, “In the upper realms, please do not lean too far forward … we don’t want an Avalanche of able-bodied Aucklanders!”

I’ve posted the set-list elsewhere, but it was basically identical to that of the October 28 show with one significant change — the substitution of Night Comes On for Avalanche in the second set. This was performed pretty much solo by LC on guitar … there may have been some very subtle backing from Neil and the girls (as is the case on some of the other ‘solo’ songs), but it was really just Leonard.

The other notable absence was a third encore — I’ve already noted my guess as to why.

Some specific things I noticed on the night:

  • Everybody Knows: the lyric “take one last look at this mighty heart” replaced “sacred heart”. As before, Leonard sang some other lyrics under a couple of the choruses — pretty loudly, but away from the mic, so as to be inaudible to the audience. Maybe he’s singing to the rest of the band? :D
  • The Darkness: over the bass-heavy intro to this song, LC played his flamenco-style guitar picking pattern (the same one he plays at the beginning of Suzanne to disguise it so the audience doesn’t immediately go nuts as soon as he starts playing) — I hadn’t noticed that before, so it could be new.
  • Who By Fire: A really big applause for Javier’s long intro. One interesting thing I noticed for the first time — while he is playing this, Dino plays a single long drone note on the Sax … because the solo intro is about four and a half minutes now, that’s a continuous single note which is 4.5 minutes. Almost certainly the longest note of the concert :D Not to mention some nice circular breathing, I imagine.
  • Chelsea Hotel #2: A minor lyrical mis-step, ably covered. Right at the beginning, when starting on the line “You were talking so brave and so sweet”, LC skips some words, actually singing “talking so sweet” (omitting the brave). Because, I guess, line can’t have anything after “sweet” (otherwise it wouldn’t rhyme with “limousines wait in the street” later, he just padded it out with silence. Nice recovery.
  • Band Intros in Anthem: There seems to be a bit of a running joke going around the increasingly convoluted introduction LC gives to Rafael — last night Leonard described his contribution to the band as “laying it down, bringing it home, putting it to bed, tucking it in and kissing it goodnight”. Tonight he added “clipping its toenails” to the list (which is an odd image). This got a good laugh (as referred to in Joey’s photo blog). In the intro, LC also described Rafael as a “connoisseur of silence.”
  • Tower of Song: Leonard’s keyboard solo got a healthy applause which made him stop for a moment, smiling and seemingly just about to say thank you. But his smile brought about an even longer and louder applause before he could thank us for being “too generous”.
  • Boogie Street: Sharon’s performance was particularly well rewarded with a big response from the crowd … lots of applause, cheering and a couple of shouts of affirmation.
  • Hallelujah: This time around the obligatory name check was: “didn’t come to Vector Arena to fool ya”.
  • I’m Your Man: As with the previous show, it was “I’ll wear this old man’s mask for you”
  • Second Encore: A minor moment of slight panic as LC bounded on stage .. and almost tripped on something. He righted him self and got to his spot, but there was a bit of a smile of relief between him and some of the band
  • Closing Time: I don’t know what exactly LC sang in the place of “The Holy Spirit’s crying where’s the beef” … it was something different, but maybe just a jumble of syllables caused by getting tongue-tied

The tour heads south to Wellington now … next show on Sunday!

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