Monday, 30 December 2013

Sincerely, Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen in concert. Brisbane, Queensland. 30 November 2013.

Against the backdrop of the star of David, an elderly guy of slight build jogs, nay sprints (I knew it was him then) to the microphone. If I had not seen images of Leonard Cohen, I would have thought it was a roadie on some last minute checks... The spotlight centred on the dark suited and hatted singer-songwriter, musician, poet, and novelist. Then he started to sing, inviting his friends, us, to dance. And how the evening danced- from beginning to end. We were treated to a once-in-a-lifetime performance.
1. Dance Me to the End of Love
He was apologising for something- I didn’t quite get what for. Then he professed his love for the tunnels, oh yes the great airport link tunnels of Brisbane. Good to hear someone else who 'appreciates' those tunnels. Get this premier Newman.
2. The Future
3. Bird on the Wire
He introduces his band, and will do so again a few more times during the evening. One thing about Cohen is that he never takes all the credit to himself for the music. Although this is his concert, he generously shares the concert spotlight with the band.
4. Everybody Knows
5. Who by Fire
6. Darkness 

7. Amen
8. Come Healing
9. Lover Lover Lover
10. Anthem 
Second Set
11. Tower of Song
12. Suzanne 
There’s great applause after every song. He kept thanking us for our generosity.
13. Chelsea Hotel #2 
14. The Partisan 
He subtly moves to the shadows as his supporting singers take centre stage.
15. Alexandra Leaving  (performed by Sharon Robinson)
16. I'm Your Man
Then he bows and genuflects and then recites his poetry.
17. A Thousand Kisses Deep (recitation)
18. Hallelujah 
19. Take This Waltz
And so the little elderly gentleman bowed deep and skipped off the stage to sustained applause. At this stage I was quite contented and ready to leave after a couple of hours of great artistic entertainment.

But if I thought that was the main course, i was in for a surprise because what followed was another concert in itself. We were treated to another hour of more of the great classics from the Leonard Cohen high tower of song. Three encores followed before the legend skipped off again. Sincerely I thought. The audience reciprocated with a prolonged standing ovation, perhaps wondering as the man himself thought out loud at the start of the show, if this was the last time they will see the man. We thought that before, but if it indeed proves the last time, well he gave everything he got, and that’s more than enough to cherish for a lifetime or ten, from the man Leonard Cohen.
20. So Long, Marianne
21. Going Home
22. First We Take Manhattan
Encore 2:
23. Famous Blue Raincoat
24. If It Be Your Will (performed by the Webb Sisters)
25. Closing Time
Encore 3:
26. I Tried to Leave You
The show started with an invitation to dance. Fittingly it concluded with another, saved for last.
27. Save the Last Dance for Me (The Drifters cover)

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