Only Known Photos Of The First Concert Of Leonard Cohen’s First Independent Tour – Hartford April 8, 1970

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Leonard Cohen & The Army Open 1970 Tour At Trinity College

George Tunick, the fellow in glasses in the above shot, was a student at the University of Connecticut when he took these photos at the concert held at Trinity College in Hartford that opened Leonard Cohen’s 1970 Tour.1 The show took place April 8, 1970 before a crowd of a few hundred.

As far as I can determine, these are the only known photos (click on images to enlarge) from that 1970 Hartford show, which carries special significance as Leonard Cohen’s first concert of his first fully organized, independent tour.2

Update: See Photo: Leonard Cohen: “I left my suit home in honor of this occasion” – “My first concert ever” Hartford 1970

The final photo in the series (see below) is the earliest known photo of Leonard Cohen performing in concert with his 1970 band, the group later to be known as The Army.

Update: Less than two weeks after posting these photos, I serendipitously discovered the following reference to this event in Life On The Ledge With Leonard Cohen by Jon Marlowe (The Miami News: Nov 9, 1977):

Interviewer: “You did a concert in Connecticut and you walked out in this long trench coat and jeans and said ”I left my suit home in honor of this occasion’”

Leonard Cohen: “That was my first concert ever. I remember it. It was Hartford, Connecticut. You’re right. The trench coat and everything.”

I asked George about any memories he had of the event. His response (ellipses his) follows:

I’ll never forget..as he was walking by..(when I got the close shots..and for the one with me)..he was like chanting as he walked..like a cantor saying prayers to himself ..beautifully “ haunting”

George goes on:

1970..I was “obsessed” with the first album..especially..”One of us Cannot be Wrong ‘..( l  lit  a thin green candle..to make you jealous of me. But the room just  filled up with mosquitoes……..and on)..saw the 1975 show in NY..later  1988 and  1993 Wiltern theater in LA (pretty sure-2)……bought every vinyl  …    .Favorite songs….I’m Your Man..Anthem..Tower of Song . The  Stranger  .. The Future ..Famous Blue Raincoat..Dance Me to the End of Love

The concert “blew me away”…it was overpowering to meet him…they sang everything at that time…and obviously memorable..as I remember so much…and have these Photo Memories to “keep the experience alive”

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Earliest known photo of Leonard Cohen with his 1970 band (later known as The Army) in concert. Note Cohen's coat draped across a folding chair in front of him on the stage.

Earliest known photo of Leonard Cohen with his 1970 band (later known as The Army) in concert. Note Cohen’s coat draped across a folding chair in front of him on the stage.

Credit Due Department: Thanks to Sylvie Simmons and Jugurtha Harchaoui, who provided data about and perspective on the pre-1970 Leonard Cohen concerts.

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  1. George recalls that the concert took place at the auditorium of a college in Hartford in late 1969 or early 1970. After we exchanged a few emails, it became clear that the concert was the 1970 show at Trinity College. []
  2. Leonard Cohen performed a number of concerts prior to 1970. The 1970 tour, however, was the first sequence of concerts organized as a tour from a business perspective with Leonard Cohen, along with his own band and backup singers, promoted as a full-blown headline act rather than piggy-backing off of some other existing ticket-selling dynamic such as festivals such as Newport, York, and Mariposa. []

3 thoughts on “Only Known Photos Of The First Concert Of Leonard Cohen’s First Independent Tour – Hartford April 8, 1970

  1. D"Arcy

    I am breathless.
    At at time in our culture in which every move in monitored by papparazzi or tabloids, this remerbarnace of such a critically historic time in music history is sacroscant. This is vital and should be preserved in LC’s archives.
    I hope someone essential to this process views this comment.
    I cannot imagine anyone who appreciates LC and his vital fanbase will not understand that.

    This is THE THING about genuine LC fans: they love poetry, they love music; they are musicians and they are people who take LIFE full on: beautiful, messy, crazy, wonderful!
    Thank you for this! xoxo