First, loose ends: Gary never actually told anyone in his family he thought we were well enough to celebrate sister-in-law's birthday, so the event was in actuality much less "planned" than we thought. We are going today, Sunday, instead.
So, all of Saturday was spent planning for and resting up for and preparing for the Leonard Cohen concert.
"8 SHARP" demanded the tickets in a very demanding font. So, we were there at 7:15, and while I tried in vain to buy Eddie Izzard tickets (too early), Gary chatted with some Leonard devotees.
"Oh, yes, we love Lenny," they sighed. "He is a poet."
"Well," Gary chuckled, "Too bad I can't understand them because his voice is so bad and all the songs sound the same."
An elderly woman turned to Gary and stared him down, pointing a narrow finger at her ear. "Lissssteeeen," she advised knowingly.
A testament to how great the concert was, during the intermission, Gary asked me, "He sounds fine. What is wrong with our car stereo system? Something's wrong with our car!" (Seriously, this means the car will be in the shop soon to find out why the sound's so distorted, and they will find he has over-cranked the bass or something.)
So, that's it in a nutshell. Leonard was great. The fans were colorful.
First, Sir Leonard Cohen (I don't call him "Lenny" as some impudents do) and the Other Musicians
Up! Down! Up! Down! There must have been ten standing ovations, some at the start, some for specific songs, some at the end. It was like Mass. Only, people don't scream out "WE LOVE YOU JESUS!" at Mass.
Handsprings. Most of the time the backup singers just shifted their weight from one foot to the other, but then at one key point (I won't tell you what it was) they vaulted into a backward handspring. They may or may not have removed their fedoras first.
Standing Still. For about three songs (If It Be your Will is the one I remember) he just stood and recited the song. That was lovely. Plus, it made it easier for Gary to "Lissssteeeen."
And of course, he was witty. The song choices were even witty. I was sad not to hear Closing Time, but of course they saved that for one of the later encores. I think the very last song was I Tried to Leave You. When the house lights came up, I was so satisfied, Gary asked if I wanted to finally get dinner and I felt I didn't want to even eat ever again.
Second, The Fans
Even though the concert was sold out, Gary and I had empty seats on either side of us. This was an excellent buffer because we were surrounded by insane people.
In Front of Us. Look, the older guy in the beret and the woman in the shawl didn't bother me. But, at the intermission Gary turned and said, "Berets! Shawls! Who wears a beret?" I merely report this because of Gary's aghast tone; I didn't know it was so scandalous.
Behind Us. The guy right behind me made a point of continuing to clap well after everyone else stopped. We all paused to hear the next song but he just kept going all "I am Clappier Than Thou." So for one song I deliberately out-clapped him. (My clapping was not flawless; I regret to say I broke the silence after Who By Fire by being the first to clap.)
To The Right of Us. They came in late, the young couple in their twenties, and then they talked through two songs like they were at a nightclub. The man in front of them turned and hissed "Quiet!" They did not shut up. They did not behave respectably in the House of the Leonard. Then, during an early ovation I leaned to Gary and yelled, "See, now is the time for the girl to talk to the boy! Talk it up! There's no singing!" And they didn't talk after that.
Instead, they snapped, or rather, the boy snapped, his fingers. And not a beatnik "Groovy poetry, man" applause snap, but an extra track of loud jazzy here-I-am-jamming-with-you-lenny as if he was auditioning for the band.
It did give Gary the opportunity to snap his fingers and make me laugh.
And you know, even with the snapping and clapping and talking and testifying from the balcony I still loved it. Wonderful concert.