LEONARD COHEN PRESENTS
Photo © 2007 Brooklyn Vegan
Joe's Pub, April 24 & 29, 2007
Text by Dick Straub & Richard Schulman
Photos by Brooklyn Vegan & Linda Straub
I went to the April 24, 9 P.M. show. I am still reverberating with the specialness of that evening. Seeing Leonard Cohen and Anjani turned a dark lit theater into a planetarium. I felt like I had just returned from the beach and I was going out with all my best friends. In fact I was with my best friends. We waited outside in line holding our tickets carefully. Wonderfull anticipation. Slow down time to appreciate every moment.
Inside the theater is small. Even if you are in the back you can make out the shining of their eyes. But I have played Anjani's CD and replayed Leonard's music during the past weeks and I am thrilled to be sitting 15 feet from the stage.Why is it that I travelled five hours to see these two? Looking at the audience I see their excitement, I feel their anticipation and pleasure of being there. I have a Jamesons on ice and absorb.
Connection, communion and Joes Pub turns into cathedral. Then Leonard is standing in front of all of us. He is so at ease. He recites a few lines from The Tower of Song and Anjani steps out. I believe her first song was Blue Alert. Her voice is smooth and so powerful much more so than her CD. Oh my this is going to be better than I expected. And her voice continued to find depth and nuances where all our hearts were.
The acoustics were unimaginably good. Her band and arangements the best I heard since some great concerts in the seventies. Everyone is silently listening. There is no talking just a hushed awe and clapping, and some standing ovations.
Anjani is so happy to be singing for us: she is thrilled to be singing Leonard's songs. Can this concert get any better? And then Leonard is on stage. His humour in his eyes and smile. Their love so strong as she rests her head on his shoulder. Love in our cultural ruins. Their duet a fine closing to their show. Oh yes Leonards voice was deeper and better than ever. But what a man. He allowed the celebration to be the love they shared; we were lucky enough to be part of the their
hope, their sadness. and their love. - Richard Schulman
Three photos © 2007 Linda Straub
April 29, 2007: They did it again. Anjani, her terrific new band, and Leonard Cohen entranced a packed Joe’s Pub for a third show in six days. I have rarely seen such a unanimously thrilled audience at the end of a concert.
Her new band, Mark McMillen - musical director and keyboards, Steve Gregory - guitar, Ron Suffredini - upright bass, Bryan Brock-percussion, along with backup vocalist Dominique Plaisant provide able assistance, but it is Anjani who dominates the moment.
The impact of most women’s beauty is highest on initial meeting, and diminishes some over time. But Anjani’s beauty illustrates the opposite phenomenon. She inexplicably seems sexier and more attractive with each repeated sighting. Her presence is amazingly soft, sultry, sensuous, and sexy, making putty of every man watching her.
Her voice and delivery are the primary appeal; her lovely face and lithe figure just add to the impression. During the audience hush while she is singing her wonderful Blue Alert songs, not even the number 6 train rumbling below the stage could break the spell.
The benefit show before the concert made it difficult for any sound check and delayed the show’s opening. It also resulted in Anjani getting off to two false starts. But she brought us immediately back into her spell with her opening song, “Innermost Door.” She next perfectly crooned “No One After You.” She briefly described the background of the album, joking that she was “probably the oldest new artist around,” and moved into “Blue Alert.” She acknowledged Esther in the audience, sitting with a childhood friend from Montreal, and made everyone feel special by praising how much they liked being in New York.
There was an extra thrill, since producer and co-writer on that album, John Lissauer, was in the audience. I believe the Friday Montreal show was the first time the song was added to the repertoire, so we New Yorkers were blessed with premiers of two new covers. I sincerely hope they will both find their way onto albums.
She cited the lyric “I Had to go Crazy to Love You” as leading of necessity to the song, and performed “Crazy to Love You” next, followed by band introductions. As she had on Tuesday, her percussionist led into her inspired cover of “The Gypsy’s Wife,” a definite crowd-pleaser. Anjani then sang “Half the Perfect World.” While Madeline Peyroux does a very acceptable interpretation, it can’t compare with hearing the true original live. Anjani did not disappoint. As if we weren’t pumped enough, she then delivered “The Smokey Life.” I was immediately convinced that she was born to cover that wonderful tune from “Recent Songs.”
After wondering if New Yorkers “had no jobs to get to in the morning,” perhaps momentarily forgetting we’re the city that never sleeps, Anjani closed the nearly 90 minute show with her exquisite rendition of “The Mist.”
Anjani acknowledged that her live performances are different from the record, and then brought the master on stage to accompany her on “one of Leonard’s favorites,” “Never Got to Love You.” It again brought tears. “Thanks for the Dance” led to standing applause, and she came back to do encores. After accepting roses from Linda and I, and a candle from another fan, she sang “Nightingale.”
A second encore included the now famous Biblical duet, “Whither Thou Goest,” elevating the audience to celestial realms.
If ever you have an opportunity to attend an Anjani show, do not miss it. The music puts you into an altered state of bliss and acceptance. No matter that they are wry and cynical at times, the lyrics end up being refreshingly uplifting when delivered by Anjani and her talented band. This is flat out unforgettable entertainment.
Oh, and did I mention how sexy Anjani is? - Dick Straub
Four photos on this page © 2007 Brooklyn Vegan. Used by permission.
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Three photos © 2007 Linda Straub. Used by permission.
Texts © 2007 Dick Straub and Richard Schulman. Used by permission.