Top critical review
59 people found this helpful
Glimpses from everywhere do not connect
on September 18, 2010
I love Leonard Cohen! I am ashamed to admit how many times I've listened to and viewed his "Leonard Cohen in London." But this DVD, "Songs from the Road" is, in my view, much inferior to "Leonard Cohen in London." It does have new songs, but what is missing is Cohen's wonderful rapport with the audience, and with his players, which the "London" dvd exhibits. The sweetness of Leonard Cohen, mixed in with the darkness and shadows that accompany almost every song, is displayed in the London dvd, not only through the songs, but through his remarks to the audience, through his praise for each of the players in his band, and through the camera, which follows him and his band loyally and lovingly, punctuating the carefully planned rhythmic patterns. "Songs from the Road," by contrast, is uneven. Sometimes the stage is so far away that it is hard to discern the individual players. At times the audio quality is inferior. The "Hallelujah" song is much more inspiring and coherent in the London dvd. "Closing Time" is also much more grandly executed in the London dvd. Whereas the London dvd manifests deliberate variations in the tempo and themes of songs, "Songs from the Road" is mostly slow and dark. Indeed "The Partisan" is a great song, but it is an exception. What I am missing most in this dvd is the warmth and the exuberance of Leonard Cohen in London. Even the "Backstage Sketch" by Cohen's daughter, Lorca, is disappointing. It seems that as she followed the players around, no one particularly wanted to talk, except for Dino Soldo (a wonderful wind instruments player who is not given his due in this dvd). It is a "sketch" indeed, and a dull one at that. She does not even interview her own father--which is probably not her fault. So, in sum, the performances are uneven, the songs are not very exciting, and the brilliance of the London dvd is dimmed by shadows. If you can buy only one of them, buy the London dvd, without question.