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
‘Don’t Pass Me By,” Sings Cohen, But The World Passes Him by Mike Collins. Union News: 6/26/1970
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
Update: 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.
- The exact date of this concert is still disputed. Cohen Live lists it as taking place “May 19, 1970 (actually between May 15 & 17)” [↩]
- Denis Piggott first posted about the 1970 Leeds concert at LeonardCohenForum. [↩]
- 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. [↩]