Concert Report: Wellington, 1 November

As with the first Wellington show, this concert featured an abbreviated set list almost certainly due to curfew limitations posed by the venue. This time around, however, the trimming of the normal set list was done slightly differently — instead of cutting time from all sets more or less equally, the second show included a more-or-less normal length Set 1, an abbreviated Set 2 and a very much shorter encore set. Personally, I think this arrangement worked a lot better as it maintained a good flow to the performance without leaving the main sets feeling too brief. The show was about the same length as the previous night’s show (started 8:15PM, finished 11:15PM with a 20 minute break) this one felt — to me at least — longer.

Here’s the full set list. Notably the poem got moved back to Set 2 and there was a suprise additon of That Don’t Make It Junk (which, according to Maarten’s set lists has only been performed once on the 2010 tour to date as an encore at Sligo).

Set 1

01 Dance Me To The End of Love
02 The Future
03 Bird on the Wire
04 Everybody Knows
05 Who By Fire
06 The Darkness [spoken intro]
07 Chelsea Hotel #2
08 Waiting for the Miracle
09 That Don’t Make It Junk [spoken intro]
10 Anthem

Set 2

11 Tower of Song
12 Suzanne
13 Sisters of Mercy
14 The Gypsy’s Wife
15 The Partisan
16 Hallelujah
17 I’m Your Man
18 A Thousand Kisses Deep [recitation, extra stanza]
19 Take This Waltz

Encore 1

20 So Long, Marianne
21 Famous Blue Raincoat
22 First We Take Manhattan

Encore 2

23 I Tried To Leave You

The performances seemed a lot more relaxed and flowing throughout on Night 2 … there was a lot more spoken banter, and Leonard seemed to be taking his time a little more. That’s not to say that there weren’t places where the pace was ramped up — there were, most notably First We Take Manhattan — but these instances overall seemed to complement rather than detract from the performances. The song changes in Set 2 were extremely rapid with the technicians and roadies almost sprinting around to get the instruments changed over quickly enough — obviously they’d been told to make it snappy!

The audience response to this concert was sort of mixed … while the crowd were very appreciative and loud when it came to offering up applause, they otherwise seemed to abstain from any other kind of interaction with the band. There were a few folks who shouted out comments at a couple of spots, and a few pockets of fans who gave standing ovations early on. But overall it was a more muted audience response than at the first Wellington show. There were standing ovations at the end of each set, though, which were suitably loud and demonstrative, so I’m sure Leonard and the band got a good sense of the love that the Wellington audience holds for him (particularly since the venue put lights on the audience during these ovations, presumably so the band could see everyone on their feet).

[one minor gripe … and this is with the venue and/or ticketek. I bought my tickets as Gold class seats sold as presale for the touring company. I pretty much snapped these up within a few minutes of the presale coming online. How, then, did I end up sitting seven rows from the BACK of the venue? … do people really think these seats are Gold class. I’m sure I wasn’t the only person peeved by this. The only good thing about sitting so far back was the opportunity to snap some good photos of the crowd offering up their standing ovations to Leonard (photos to come)]

Some specific points I noticed:

  • The Future: When Leonard sang about the “White man dancing”, tonight it wasn’t LC doing the dancing but rather Roscoe giving a little twirl (while still playing)
  • Everybody Knows: Leonard continues to play around with his vocal delivery of this song. It’s good to see him comfortable enough to experiment like this.
  • Who By Fire: This song was played a little slower at this concert and more deliberately. Javier’s lengthy introduction got big bursts of applause at about 3 mini-climactic points (maybe because the crowd thought it was finished … maybe just because they recognized the technical brilliance of the performance).
  • The Darkness: In the spoken intro, LC said “This is a new song. Sometimes a songs like this begins at night and sometimes the night just won’t give up.”
  • That Don’t Make It Junk: For this unexpected addition, LC gave a spoken intro something along the lines of “Friends, you’ve been so kind and generous I feel that I can confide in you. Is there’s a lot of resistence to this confidentiality? Because I will not burden you with my deepest anxieties if that is the case. I want to tell you friends that I did have a drinking problem .. and I’m going to tell you how it was resolved. I confessed to Sharon Robinson — I said ‘Sharon I have the drinking problem’; she said ‘get a life.’ And this is what we came up with.”
  • Anthem: In the band intros … back by popular demand … Rafael is once again “cutting its toenails”.
  • Tower of Song: LC thanked everybody for coming back from the break … “I won’t keep you up too late …”, he said, “it’s a school night.”
  • Hallelujah: Lyrical elaboration: “It’s not a cry or complaint you hear tonight, it’s not the boast of somebody who claims he has seen the light”. The name check was again “I didn’t come to Wellington to fool ya.”
  • I’m Your Man: Lyrical elaborations … first time around we got “If you want another kind of love, ok I’ll wear a leather mask for you” … second time it was “If you want to try another kind of love, I’ll wear an old man’s mask for you”.
  • A Thousand Kisses Deep: The recitation again, as at one of the Auckland shows, included an added couplet towards the end: “Well That’s my story I admit it’s broken and it’s bleak, but all the twisted pieces fit A Thousand Kisses Deep.”
  • Take This Waltz: “Te Caro, Te Caro, Te Caro” is back.
  • So Long, Marianne: Due to a minor lyrical mis-step (I think), LC ended up singing a slightly different version of a couple of lines (which sort of changes their meaning a bit): “your fine spider web, your fine spider web is fastened to my ankle like a stone”
  • Famous Blue Raincoat: While LC played the intro, a man at the back of the auditorium cried out “Come to Picton!” For those who don’t know NZ, Picton is a (beautiful) small town just on the northern tip of the South Island. Now that would be an intimate venue for a concert :D
  • First We Take Manhattan: The band played a rendition of this song that was a reasonable amount faster than usual. It ended up being a kind of funky, almost dancey number … which I actually think worked pretty well.

The tour moves next to Christchurch on NZ’s South Island … but sadly I need to return home to Adelaide (to earn some more $$$ to pay for the next leg of the holiday). I will be rejoining the tour on Saturday in Brisbane.

Good luck Leonard and the UHTC for Christchurch on Wednesday …

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