Monday, November 14, 2016

And the Night Comes On

I went down to the place
Where I knew she lay waiting
Under the marble and the snow
I said, "Mother, I'm frightened
The thunder, the lightning
I'll never come through this alone."
She said, "I'll be with you
My shawl wrapped around you
My hand on your head when you go."
And the night comes on
and it's very calm
I wanted the night to go on and on
But she said, 
"Go back.
Go back to the World."
 We were fighting in Egypt
When they signed this agreement
That nobody else had to die
There was this terrible sound
And my father went down
With a terrible wound in his side
 He said, "Try to go on
Take my books, take my gun.
Remember, my son, how they lied."
And the night comes on
and it's very calm
I'd like to pretend that my father was wrong
But you don't want to lie
not to the young
 We were locked in this kitchen
I took to religion
And I wondered how long she would stay
I needed so much
To have nothing to touch
I've always been greedy that way
 But my son and my daughter
Climbed out of the water
Crying, "Papa, you promised to play!"
And they lead me away
To the great surprise
It's "Papa, don't peek! Papa, cover your eyes!"
And they hide
they hide in the World
Now I look for her always
I'm lost in this calling
I'm tied to the threads of some prayer
Saying, "When will she summon me?
When will she come to me?
What must I do to prepare?"
 When she bends to my longing
Like a willow, like a fountain
She stands in the luminous air
And the night comes on
And it's very calm
I lie in her arms and she says, "When I'm gone,
I'll be yours.
Yours for a song."
Now the crickets are singing
The vesper bells ringing
The cat's curled asleep in his chair
I'll go down to Bill's Bar
if I can make it that far
And I'll see if my friends are still there
 Yes, and here's to the few
Who forgive what you do
And the fewer who don't even care
And the night comes on
and it's very calm
I want to cross over, I want to go home
But she says
"Go back.
Go back to the World."
Leonard Cohen

Casino de Montreux
Montreux, Switzerland

01 intro
02 Bird On the Wire
03 The Law
04 Hey, That's No Way to Say Goodbye
05 There Is a War
06 Who By Fire
07 Dance Me to the End of Love
08 Diamonds In the Mine
09 Night Comes On
10 The Gypsy's Wife
11 Hallelujah

01 Avalanche
02 A Singer Must Die
03 The Stranger Song
04 Chelsea Hotel #2
05 Story of Isaac
06 Famous Blue Raincoat
07 Lover Lover Lover
08 Tennessee Waltz
09 The Partisan
10 Sisters of Mercy
11 Memories

01 Passin' Through
02 If It Be Your Will
03 Heart with No Companion
04 I Tried to Leave You
05 Suzanne
06 Coming Back to You
07 Joan of Arc
08 Dance Me to the End of Love (2)

Total time: 2:48:46

Leonard Cohen - guitar & vocals
Richard Crooks – drums & percussion
John Crowder – bass, Vocals
Ron Getman – guitar, pedal steel guitar, vocals
Anjani Thomas – keyboards, vocals
Mitch Watkins – guitar, keyboards, vocals

the band introductions and the comments that begin and end the concert are by Claude Nobs

reel-to-reel master tape -- possibly the pre-FM master reel -- from the mixing desk, smoothed for volume consistency and slightly repaired by EN
983 MB FLAC/November 2016 archive link
"Austin City Limits"
Studio 6A
Communications Building B
University of Texas
Austin, Texas

01 First We Take Manhattan
02 Tower of Song
03 Everybody Knows
04 Ain't No Cure for Love
05 The Partisan
06 Joan of Arc
07 Jazz Police
08 If It Be Your Will
09 Take This Waltz

Total time: 58:11

Leonard Cohen – vocals, keyboards, guitar
Bob Metzger – guitar, pedal steel guitar
Bob Furgo – keyboards, violin
Steve Meador – drums
Steve Zirkel – bass, trumpet, keyboards
John Bilezikjian – oud
Tom McMorran – keyboards
Julie Christensen – vocals
Perla Batalla – vocals

Region-free TS file of a 1080p HD webstream
from the PBS site
1.1 GB TS here

Obviously the Maestro, who changed the DNA of this world, is gone. There are no words to express the void that leaves, so I won't try. All I did to this amazing tape, which seems to get to 20Ghz in the spectral analysis, with what could be a MiniDisc in the lineage somewheres to explain the reduction above 15Ghz, is modify it slightly. It sure sounds more pre-FM-ish to my (ugly but fairly experienced) ears than an off-air recording -- if it were an FM capture, the acoustic songs would have been way louder and up-compressed and there'd be DJ patter over the long sections between sets, IMO -- so all I did was adjust the volume between tracks as subtly as I could to make it play like a more balanced broadcast.
Following the law of Do The Least Alteration To What's Already Awesome, other than smoothing the piano intro to Coming Back to You, which came in super hot, and maybe the fades between discs I applied (the end of CD2 and start of CD3 had repeating applause passages) and fixing the dropout mentioned above in the previous notes (and another in Diamonds In the Mine) to play more naturally and less noticeably... oh yeah, and the titling and tagging of the files -- nada further was done. This came with gorgeous artwork so I left the titles the same as featured there.
This (complete, almost 3-hour) concert is UNBELIEVABLE, and this source of it is the best that may ever be, especially after I tweaked it a little bit to be more consistently audible track to track. I also included an HD webstream capture of LC's Austin City Limits tour de force TV appearance from 1988, just for good measure.
I am sad the man has left us but joyous for his long and beautiful life led by example. No one who ever heard or read him with any degree of honest attention will ever forget the depth and the height of some the greatest Art and most revealing and incisive Music ever produced by any human being in any era. The world may be going to hell in a handbasket of disinformationables, but we'll never be able to say this guy didn't tell us, in 60+ years of output, a great deal about why love can and should still win. Thank you forever, Mr. Leonard Cohen. --J.
9.21.1934 - 11.7.2016