We’ve kept this tape for 34 years and have been waiting for the opportunity to share it with everyone if only for the violin solo on One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong. But it comes down to the tempo which is just right for moving about slowly while wearing a fedora and a suit made of snow.
– Rick Williams, Audience Taper1
Premiere: Audience Recording Of Leonard Cohen Live At The Brighton Dome – Dec 15, 1979
This posting is the first publication of a hitherto unknown private taping of 14 songs and a poem performed by Leonard Cohen on Dec 15. 1979 at the Dome Theatre in Brighton.
Another recording of the 1979 Brighton Dome show does exist and is, in fact, especially well known. To provide perspective, a succinct discussion of the earlier specimen follows, after which a description of the new recording (The Story Of The Leonard Cohen Live At The Brighton Dome Audience Recording) and information for downloading it (Incredibly Obsessive Step By Step Download Instructions) are offered.
The Fate Of The Songs From The 1979 Leonard Cohen Brighton Dome Concert
Field Commander Cohen – Tour of 1979 Album
Thirteen songs selected from those recorded live at the Dome Theatre, Brighton Leonard Cohen concert on December 15th, 1979 and the Hammersmith Odeon, London Leonard Cohen concerts on December 4th, 5th, and 6th, 1979 were, more than 20 years later, released in February 20, 2001 as the Field Commander Cohen – Tour of 1979 album.2
Field Commander Cohen – Tour of 1979
1. Rum And Coca Cola
2. Field Commander Cohen
3. The Window
4. The Smokey Life
5. The Gypsy’s Wife
6. Lover Lover Lover
7. “Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye”
8. The Stranger Song
9. The Guests
11. Why Don’t You Try
12. Bird On The Wire
13. “So Long, Marianne”
Field Commander Cohen – The Other Tapes Bootleg
Six songs from the December 15th, 1979 Brighton Dome Leonard Cohen concert soundboard, none of which appear on the Field Commander Cohen – Tour of 1979 album, are available as a bootleg known by various names, including Field Commander Cohen – The Other Tapes.
Field Commander Cohen – The Other Tapes
- Billy Sunday
- Joan of Arc
- I Tried to leave you
- Silent Night
Other than the speculation that a soundboard recording of the complete 1979 Brighton show may be stashed somewhere in Sony’s archives, the preceding information about the Field Commander Cohen – Tour of 1979 album and the Field Commander Cohen – The Other Tapes bootleg constitutes all that is known about the recordings of that concert.
The Story Of The Leonard Cohen Live At The Brighton Dome Audience Recording
I recently received this email:
I saw Leonard Cohen at the Brighton Dome in 1979 with a friend. My friend recorded the concert, but unfortunately the batteries ran out so he never got Billy Sunday, Silent Night etc. The quality is not great but also not really bad.
I have heard the concert many times over the years and am aware that some tracks went on to Field Commander Cohen and that tracks such as Silent Night are available.
However the version of One of Us Cannot be Wrong is outstanding with a superb violin solo.
I could get this to you if you are interested. I feel that it needs to ‘go out into the world’!
Yeah, you could say I was kinda interested.
Hearing the recording confirmed that, as my correspondent had it, “the quality is not great but also not really bad.” Even listening to those songs that I’d heard before on the Field Commander Cohen – Tour of 1979 album and the Field Commander Cohen – The Other Tapes bootleg (made from superior audio recordings) was enjoyable, but hearing those performances from the 1979 Brighton Dome concert that are simply not available elsewhere was out-and-out exciting.
Leonard Cohen Live At The Brighton Dome 1979
- Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye
- Who By Fire
- Passing Through
- The Gypsy Wife
- The Smoky Life
- One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong
- So Long, Marianne
- Stranger Song
- Two Quatrains From The Old Automat On 23rd Street3 and Intro to Chelsea Hotel #24
- Chelsea Hotel #2
- The Singer Must Die
- The Partisan
- Famous Blue Raincoat
- Lover, Lover, Lover
At the end of Lover, Lover, Lover, the batteries were totally expended, ending the recording.
Incredibly Obsessive Step By Step Download Instructions
Please don’t be intimidated by the surfeit of words and graphics in this section. If you have downloaded files before, it’s likely all you will need is the download link in Step 1. I include the other instructions to assuage the anxieties of a number of my Cohen-admiring colleagues who are uncomfortable with the technology or wary of encountering computer catastrophes.
1. Click on this link
Download: Leonard Cohen Live At The Brighton Dome
to bring up a page that will look something like this (specifics may vary):
2. Click ONLY on the green bar of the center box shown below (Note: the details of the box may vary. Look for the label “lc-lstbd2.zip” just above the left side of the “Download” bar). Do not click on other items labeled “Download” on the same page – they are links to other software.
3. Clicking on the “Download” bar will allow you to save the file “lc-lstbd2.zip” to a location on your computer. Note that location so you can find the file after it is downloaded.
4. Unzip (extract) the downloaded file, lc-lstbd2.zip. Windows XP and later versions of Windows have a built-in mechanism for extracting zip files. Right-click on the file labeled “lc-lstbd2.zip.” Click on “Extract All” in the pop-up menu and follow the instructions from there. The extracted zip file will produce a group 15 MP3 files with names corresponding to the 15 tracks on the above track list.
5. The MP3 files can be used in iPods and other MP3 players. The files can also be burned onto an audio CD. If loaded into an iPod or any standard MP3 player, each file will display certain data embedded in it as tags: title of the song, artist (“Leonard Cohen”), album name (“Live At The Brighton Dome – Dec 15, 1979”). and art (the graphic atop this post)
6. Play. Enjoy. Repeat.
- Rick Williams is a little known painter of pomegranates and beautiful women and knows only one thing for certain – that one day she will come to him in a vision of beauty fresh from some fountain of tears. He knows this because he heard it in a song once in Granada in the olive groves above the town where you can hear gypsy music in the wind only when the moon is full and if you are a failed communist. [↩]
- The musicians who toured with Leonard Cohen in 1979 follow:
The Backup Singers:
• Sharon Robinson
• Jennifer Warnes
• Roscoe Beck – bass guitar
• John Bilezikjian – oud, mandolin
• Bill Ginn – keyboards
• Raffi Hakopian – violin
• Steve Meador – drums
• Paul Ostermayer – wind
• Mitch Watkins – electric guitar [↩]
- “Two Quatrains” contains the following dialog:
That was written in a brown Hotel room, in the Penn Terminal Hotel. That’s outside of the Bus Terminal on the 34th Street in NYC. The Penn Terminal Hotel, the very last place. There was a really lovely room there, you couldn’t open the windows. The elevator… the elevator was a lovely place,not so good as the Chelsea Hotel’s, which was quite a social venture, the elevator in the Chelsea Hotel. A tiny room that you never left alone. It was on 23d Street. On 23d Street there was an automat. That’s a fast food establishment. You put a coin in the wall and piece of pie comes rushing out at you …… extremely high velocity. I wrote a quatrain about that automat. It’s extremely undistinguished. And I’m afraid I’m going to inflict it on you. It goes like this “I wandered into the automat – Wearing a kind of religious hat – The peas were round and the pancakes were flat – I pray God in Heaven to keep it like that” That’s not very good but …. It’s not good … (applause) … I do not think you are discriminating … but from the same poem there’s another quatrain, equally irrelevant. It goes << I was arrested for kissing a broom – The Judge said “Were you the bride or the groom?” – I thought for a while – And I finally spoke – “Judge I don’t have to listen to that kind of joke, that’s not funny”.>> … Anyhow, forgive me for indulging myself with these timeless verses. – Source: Diamonds In The Lines [↩]
- Chelsea Hotel #2 is preceded by this dialog:
In the Chelsea Hotel, there were a lot of musicians who used to stay there. I remember Phil Ochs … lot of musicians who aren’t with us any longer … and there was Jimi Hendrix, there was Tim Buckley. A lot of great men and women. And in the elevator one night, I met an extremely beautiful kind and compassionate young American singer. She was actually looking for Kris Kristofferson. But through some process of elimination, we fell into each other’s arms. And after she died – that didn’t have anything to do with my embrace; my embrace is poisonous but not fatal – but anyhow. I loved the attitude in relationship she had with the people she sang for. And when she left, she left for good. I wrote this song for her. It was Janis Joplin at the Chelsea Hotel. – Source: Diamonds In The Lines [↩]