Remembering The Roses

It is hard to believe it is four years today since I gave Leonard roses, and he put them on the stage for his final Kilmainham concert. It was a magical day, one forever etched in my heart, and one that will remain one of my most favourite days.
Read about this amazing day here:

https://myleonardcohenjourney.wordpress.com/2012/09/25/rose-story/

I’m blessed with having some special photographs from this day.

rose-01

Waiting, thank you Ed for this photo.

rose-02

Handing Leonard the roses, captured by Ed.

rose-03

Handing Leonard the roses, captured by James

rose-04

Overcome with emotion, and comforted by Paula. I can’t remember who took this photo.

rose-05

Leonard performing with my roses behind him. Such an amazing feeling to see them on the stage. Concert photos by myself.

rose-06

I love this photo, one of my favourites that I took during any of the concerts.

rose-07

The definition of cool. Doesn’t Leonard look great here!

rose-08

Intimacy, the kind that only Leonard could create with 10,000 people in attendance!

rose-09

I was blessed to meet Leonard again in 2013, and asked him to sign this photo. He told me  he really liked it. Yes friends, I know how lucky I am. How lucky not only for those magical days, but for the memories, and ability to relive them in my mind, and for the memories to come alive with these photos.

Advertisements

Special Mementos From Dublin 2013

I know I have been more than blessed when it comes to meeting Leonard but luck was on my side in Dublin again and I’ve now got a few more precious items signed. I’d have been happy with him just putting his name but ever the gentleman he personalised everything.

Dublin Momentos (1)

I was blessed to meet Sylvie in New York and for her to sign this book there so I made sure to have it with me in case I met Leonard. As we were talking Leonard was telling me it is a lot of money I spend on him and his concerts and that I really shouldn’t. I told him he is worth it and only for him would I spend that kind of money. He then added a very special unique few words to this dedication.

Dublin Momentos (2)

Close up of Leonard’s signature 🙂

Dublin Momentos (3)

Close up of Sylvie’s signature.

Dublin Momentos (4)

When I first saw this magazine and loving the photo of Sharon and Leonard I had a dream of getting it signed by both. Leonard signed it first and said I had to get Sharon to sign it too. The following day it was mission accomplished!

Dublin Momentos (5)

Close up of Leonard’s signature

Dublin Momentos (6)

Close up of Sharon’s signature

Dublin Momentos (7)

After the 2nd Dublin concert I was speaking with Hattie Webb and she said she had something for me. I was so touched when she produced this set list for me saying she thought I might like one and then proceeded to write on it for me and also asked Charley to sign it. I was and am so honoured with this gift as never in a million years would I ask any of the band for any favours so for this to happen really touched my heart.

Dublin Momentos (8)

Close up of Hattie’s wonderful dedication and Charley’s signature too.

Dublin Momentos (9)

Signed photo that I took of Leonard in Brussels.

Dublin Momentos (10)

A signed photo of the best moment of my life. Leonard really liked this photo too.

Dublin Momentos (11)

My initial plan when I got this bag was to use it for my course as I need a big bag for it but now it is signed it will only be used for special occasions. I was only showing this to Leonard and not asking for it to be signed as I didn’t think it would work on that type of material. Leonard after again telling me I spend too much money said it would work and he’d sign it. The ink bleed a bit and Leonard said to me I was right. I told him it was ok, there is a crack in everything. He loved the song reference and I love my unique bag!

Dublin Momentos (12)

A close up of the signed bag

Dublin Momentos (13)

Knowing how kind Leonard had already been with his time we asked for only one photo, one of the 3 of us together as we had no photos of the 3 of us but Leonard being Leonard said we could get photos together and separately. Yes we really are blessed!

Dublin Momentos (14)

Mandy, Leonard and Gwen………………………… Happiness is 🙂

Thank you Leonard, Sylvie, Sharon, Hattie and Charley for the memories.

One week to the Dublin 2013 Concerts

With one week to go to the concerts in Dublin I can hardly contain my excitement. I’ll never forget the precious memories from last year and especially when Leonard put the roses I gave him on the stage for the entire final concert. One year later and that act of kindness still brings tears to me eyes. I also get emotional thinking of all the amazing concerts I’ve attended since then. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I am forever grateful to be on this planet at the same time as Leonard Cohen.

These will be my last concerts of this tour which I am trying not to dwell on thinking about that too much as I remind myself that we all believed that the Las Vegas concerts in 2010 would be the last time we’d see Leonard in concert. We don’t know what the future holds and what will be will be. I will treasure these concerts though with every fibre of my being and will hopefully get some photos to share with you all next week. I will of course be writing a review, as always.

Leonard Kilmainham

Counting down the days to Brussels

While counting down the days to Brussels and seeing Leonard live again I’ve been editing a couple of photos to pass the time. Top photo edited using Paint.net and the bottom two using an on-line editor called Photogramio.

Giving Leonard Roses, Thanks James Nolan for the original photo.

Giving Leonard Roses, Thanks James Nolan for the original photo.

RCMH NYC

RCMH NYC

So Long Las Vegas. Taken the morning after the final concert of the 2010 World Tour.

So Long Las Vegas. Taken the morning after the final concert of the 2010 World Tour.

 

And then this morning while feeling depressed knowing loads of friends are going to the concert in London I instantly cheered up with these pendants arrived all the way from Toronto. Thanks to my friend Judy for the wonderful gift. My photos here don’t do them justice as they look great.

2 gorgeous pendants of me meeting Leonard in Ghent and Dublin. Bottom image is what the backs on both look like.

2 gorgeous pendants of me meeting Leonard in Ghent and Dublin. Bottom image is what the backs on both look like.

The story behind me giving Leonard the Roses and my reaction to his kindness.

Many of my friends have asked me the story behind me giving Leonard the roses, and my reaction to his kindness after, when I was in floods of tears. It has taken me a while to process this in my own head and I only feel ready to share this with you all now. I hope I can explain this in a way that it makes sense and that I can convey just how much this all means to me.

Many of you will know that a very close friend of mine passed away last year and that it was the worst time of my life. I made a vow after she passed away that if I could, I was going to make 2012 a year to remember. When I made this vow it wasn’t even announced that Leonard would be going back on tour. I knew as soon as the tour was announced that my vow, regardless of whatever else happens this year, that Leonard’s concerts were going to make it one amazing year.

This tour came at a time I was in a position to attend multiple concerts. When I met Leonard in Ghent after previously meeting him in Las Vegas in December 2010 I was ecstatic! Leonard and his work means more to me than I could ever possibly put into words but I have to say for me to meet him here in Ireland, in my own country it was extra special, and of course I treasure every second I’ve spent in his company both here and abroad.

After meeting Leonard on the Wednesday I felt compelled to thank him with something special. I had given him gifts on the Wednesday but I wanted something which would mean something to him and hopefully convey how grateful I really am for his generosity towards me. I then had the idea to give him a single long stem red rose as I know he loves them. After a bit of thinking I decided to include my friend Mandy in my gift as Mandy was by my side every time I met Leonard before but would be gone home when I was giving Leonard the roses.

On the Friday before sound check while I was of course there, I didn’t approach Leonard as I wanted to not take the time he could spend talking to someone else, and for someone else to have the same treasured memories that I have. This was important to me. I instead approached Ed Saunders and asked him was it ok for me to give Leonard the roses on the Saturday. I asked permission as the last thing I’d ever want to do is come across as a nuisance. Ed told me of course I could and that I am never a nuisance. I know Leonard is so kind and would never refuse to speak with me but is important to me that those around him are comfortable with it too. I asked Ed would he mind taking photos for me as Mandy was gone home. I explained I wasn’t going to ask Leonard to pose or even take much time but that just a couple of photos would be appreciated. I also told Ed I’d wait until Leonard was finished speaking with anyone else there as I didn’t want to take any precious moments away from anyone else.

First thing Saturday morning I went to O’Moore Street in Dublin to buy the roses to be told that they don’t sell single red roses so I asked to see bunches of flowers with red roses and was shown one priced €10. I told the lady on the stall I’d pay the €10 for 2 roses from the bunch and when she replied she’d separate them and then give me the full bunch of flowers I told her I had no use for the rest that day and could she just give them to an old lady or someone who was going to a funeral. I hope that the rest of the flowers did go to someone who really needed them

On arriving at Kilmainham for the sound check I noticed a lot more people than there had been on the previous days. On meeting with some friends I was very surprised when given the large amount of people who were gathered that Leonard still choose to walk between the green room and sound check. While he was signing for other people I approached Ed and gave him my camera. I then waited for Leonard to speak with everyone else first. A couple of times he did turn to me but I told him I was ok to wait until he was finished with everyone else.

Then the moment when I felt I had died and gone to heaven, Leonard turned to me and said “Now, Gwen”. While I knew from Ghent Leonard does remember me I never realised he actually remembered my name. Recognition from Leonard is a feeling I can’t describe but suffice to say nothing else in my life has ever matched the moments I’ve spent in his company. I handed the roses to Leonard saying  these are from me and Mandy who had to go home to Scotland but that we would see him in Montreal. Leonard replied to me “Thank you darling”. At this moment my friend who had passed away came to mind and how I had made the vow to make 2012 a year to remember. I was overcome with emotion and while I tried to stop the flow of tears I put my arm around Leonard and thanked him for everything and apologised for getting emotional. He told me I was ok and that he really liked the roses.

When Leonard went into the venue I just couldn’t stop crying. It was a bitter-sweet moment while I remembered my friend, and how thanks to Leonard my vow had become reality. After a cup of coffee from a kind friend I went to listen to the sound check and was taking photos of the stage over the fence. When checking one of them I spotted the roses on the stage. I didn’t dare hope to think they would remain there for the concert. On discovering they were there for the concert, I was in a daze. It made for a very special day and night for me. I can never repay Leonard for his kindness to me. Even before I’d met Leonard in Las Vegas he had changed my life forever but that is a story for another day.

I hope friends that you enjoy reading this and that I have gone someway to describing my reasons and emotions on that magical day, September 15th 2012. Thank you to everyone who was there for all the support and the amazing photos took by various friends. Some of these are posted in other posts here and I don’t want to post the same images over and over again so I attach one here of the roses on the stage I took during the concert.

Meeting Leonard and Co in Dublin

While everytime I have met Leonard is precious to me and something I will treasure forever, meeting him in Ireland for me was the most magical of all and to meet him in his comfort zone before the sound checks for the concerts is very special for me. Here follows photos of those magical moments with Leonard and some of his band. I’d made a point of not asking those in the band I’d met in Ghent for photos as they had been more than generous to me there but I did have a few words with many of them in Dublin and will treasure those moments forever too.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Kilmainham Photos Night 4

I will never forget Leonard’s kindness to me when I gave him the roses and for him to have put them on the stage for the concert is something I will treasure forever.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“Let My Work Begin”…. A taster of The Roses of Kilmainham & Hallelujah

Ok friends I am home and am beginning to sort through the many photos. In the meantime here is a photo of giving Leonard roses at the sound check yesterday and then Leonard singing Hallelujah during the concert with my roses in the background. I will make a further post on this during the week explaining why I gave them to him.

Photo Credits:

Photo of Leonard and I taken by James Nolan

Photo of Leonard singing Hallelujah

© Gwen Langford