Leonard Cohen Live At Leeds 1970: Photos & Reviews

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A Very 1970 Leonard Cohen Performance At Leeds University

Denis Piggott was a student at Leeds University in 1970 and was in the audience at Leonard Cohen’s May 19th concert.1 He is responsible for alerting us to the existence of photos and reviews of the concert as well as offering his own taping of the show.2

Update: The concert recording has been uploaded to YouTube. See Hear Leonard Cohen Playing Leeds 1970

A Note On Context: It’s helpful to keep in mind how early in Cohen’s career this concert occurred. At the 1970 Leeds concert, for example, Leonard Cohen was singing “So Long Marianne” only two to three years after that romantic relationship finally ended. It is also noteworthy that he dedicates “The Partisan” to “the students who were killed by the National Guard;” the Kent State Shootings had taken place only two weeks earlier (May 4, 1970).

Daily Telegraph Review

Denis noted this review “was published a few days” after the concert. Click on image to enlarge

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‘Don’t Pass Me By,” Sings Cohen, But The World Passes Him by Mike Collins. Union News: 6/26/1970

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Another review of the obscure 1970 Leeds show was published in the June 26, 1970 edition of the Leeds University Union News.3

While the review itself is a bit of a hodgepodge of uncited references to Cohen’s poetry, novels, and close but not quite correct quotations, it does provide a sense of era’s perception of the Canadian singer-songwriter. Click on image to enlarge
leeds-rev-l1600Update: See Leonard Cohen Live At Leeds 1970: Download Audience Recording

Credit Due Department: Photos: Copyright John Rettie – www.rocknrollphotographs.com

Note: Based on an Oct 3, 2009 post at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric.
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  1. The exact date of this concert is still disputed. Cohen Live lists it as taking place “May 19, 1970 (actually between May 15 & 17)” []
  2. Denis Piggott first posted about the 1970 Leeds concert at LeonardCohenForum. []
  3. Denis has made a copy available for download at MediaFire – Cohen 1970. I have discovered a somewhat larger, easier to read version can be had by downloading the entire June 26, 1970 Union News as a PDF from the Union News Digital Library. The Cohen review is atop page 11. []

4 Replies to “Leonard Cohen Live At Leeds 1970: Photos & Reviews”

  1. G Beck

    Thanks for posting, the set list is wrong, the Partisan is track 10 in the 1st set. haven’t listened to the 2nd set yet.

    Thanks HOAG for your persistence. I hadn’t read Denis’s posting on LCForums. Can’t wait to see LC again in San Jose.

  2. lorraine luff

    I mis-remember this so well. In my memeories it was just me and Leanord Cohen in a small room with just a few other people at Leeds University. I stayed up the night before listening to Famous Blue Raincoat and reading Beautiful Losers. I am 98% sure I am the second girl to the right of the guy clapping his hands in the air in the audience photo-dark hair, parted in the middle. I remember when the audience called out for him to sing Famous Blue Raincoat he said how very sad he was when he wrote that song. I can’t believe I’m seeing this. Thank you so very much.
    Lorraine Luff