Photos: Leonard Cohen & Anjani Perform Blue Alert Music
Dominique BOILE offers these striking photos he took during Leonard Cohen Presents Anjani at the New Morning club in Paris on July 11, 2007, when Anjani performed in support of the Blue Alert Album.
Anjani & Leonard Cohen, Live In Paris – The Experience
Maarten Massa, who also attended that 2007 Paris performance, issued this very personal report of the event, Leonard Cohen and Anjani Thomas: Live in Paris:
I’m from Belgium and Anjani will be performing in Ghent next week, but since I’ll be in Greece by then, I decided to go to Paris for a few days and combine a small city trip with Anjani’s gig.
Perhaps some of you remember me from Berlin where I took my dad along. This time, I was able to convince my wife and mother as well to go to Paris (although I’m a bit suspicious about their real purpose to go to Paris – they love shopping…).
So we were at the New Morning Club with a small group of 5 (a friend from Paris joined us there). I wasn’t at all expecting Leonard Cohen to appear, although of course I was hoping he’d show up somehow…
My ticket said “Start at 20:00h”, but the website mentioned Anjani’s gig would start around 21:30h. To make sure we’d be there on time, we arrived about a quarter to eight. I didn’t know what to expect, but The New Morning Club turned out to be a small jazz club in the middle of Paris. A small stage in front and seats for about a hundred people maximum, set in 1 middle area with some small tables and one “ring” around this middle part which was 1 step higher.
We took a place in “the pit” and went for a drink. Only a few minutes later, someone wearing a (homemade?) t-shirt with the Order of the Unified Heart symbol on it came to sit just beside us. I got into a small conversation with the man and said that he shouldn’t get his hopes up to see Leonard Cohen appear, since The Forum (read: Jarkko) reported that Leonard wouldn’t be at Anjani’s concerts…
After a short talk, we watched the artist who was programmed before Anjani… After that there was a small pause and suddenly I saw Leonard and Anjani pass the bar and disappear backstage (later I heard there was only 1 way in, so I knew I had to wait there to see them again…). I quickly turned to the guy I spoke with earlier, but I’m not sure he believed me when I said I saw LC pass us by… Especially since I told him before that Leonard wouldn’t be there…
Anyhow, at that point in time, I started getting a minor headache from all the excitement! Luckily, it went away when Anjani got on stage. She introduced herself and the band and played most songs from Blue Alert. Her voice sounded superb and very jazzy in a great setting. She also brought 2 Cohen-covers which are not on the album: “The gypsy’s wife” and “The smokey life”, both from Recent songs.
She made some nice introductions for a few songs. I remember her talking about “The mist”: a poem Leonard wrote when he was about 18 years old and it’s the kind of poem every young poet should write in his journey to become a great poet in time (something like that).
On “Crazy to love you”: “I think this song is written for me personally. I saw this one line in one of Leonard’s notebooks and asked him to write a whole poem/song around it. And so he did….”.
After I had given up the hope of seeing Leonard Cohen on stage with Anjani (she had already sung “Never got to love you” of which they did a duet at the Indigo Store in Toronto, remember), she announced the last song and finished the show. As an encore, she chose “Nightingale”, solo on piano. Really great!
Then it happened: in the beginning of the evening, there was an extra microphone on stage, just in front of her piano. But when she wanted to play her first song on piano (the first few songs, she only sang and later she took place behind the piano), she asked to remove the microphone because it was a bit in the way… So now she asked the microphone back and said “shall we ask Leonard to come and join us for a song?”. Everybody went “Yeah!!!” (of course!) and so she looked at the door from where he would come. But he didn’t… Anjani joked about Leonard already being outside, in need of a smoke and so she encouraged the crowd to call for him.
A minute later, Leonard Cohen appeared! He gently nodded and took his place on stage, right next to Anjani. They sang “Never got to love you”, sometimes holding hands and looking into each others eyes. Very touching! (I almost cried, but don’t tell my wife that!).
I must admit his voice was not great, but I didn’t expect it to be. It sounded heavenly for me! The moment itself was magic. I never thought I’d be able to see my hero live and certainly not singing.
After the song, both left the stage and the band played on for half a song.
After the show, Anjani came out to talk to the fans and sign some stuff. I think there was only about 20 men in line, which was great. Anjani let us make some photos as well. I wasn’t sure whether to expect Leonard to come out and sign, but since it was the only way out I had to wait to see him again. Later on, he did show up and gave away some signatures as well. I even got a picture together! Then they left the club and got into a car which drove away into the night.
Later that night, in the subway on my way back, I had to take medication because my headache welled up again, probably because of the emotions and the decompression…
Video: Leonard Cohen & Anjani – Never Got To Love You
As far as I can determine, no video of the New Morning club performance is available. This recording of “Never Got To Love You,” the song Leonard Cohen and Anjani sang as a duet in Paris, was shot during their appearance at Joe’s Pub in New York on April 24, 2007.
I am republishing selected posts from my former Leonard Cohen site, Cohencentric, here on AllanShowalter.com (these posts can be found at Leonard Cohen). This entry was originally posted Sept 23, 2011 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric