Mysterious Ticket Clue To Phantom 1974 Leonard Cohen Concert?

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Did Leonard Cohen Play Ludwigshafen On Oct 16, 1974?

I was initially attracted to this ticket on sale at eBay because of the charm of its rugged, worn appearance.  Checking the exact date of the concert for which the ticket was issued, however, turned up a mystery.

The text on the ticket, at least by my reading of it, indicates the concert took place in Ludwigshafen, Germany on Wednesday, October 16, 1974. The problem is that no record of Cohen concerts I’ve reviewed1 lists any show taking place anywhere on October 16, 1974. Nor do any of these records list any Leonard Cohen concert taking place in Ludwigshafen in 1974.2

The October 1974 Leonard Cohen concerts, according to CohenLive (no longer online), follow:

1974/10/01   Rotterdam, Nederland – (De Doelen)
1974/10/02   Amsterdam, Nederland – (Jaap Edenhal)
1974/10/04   Heidelberg, Deutschland (1) – (Stadthalle)
1974/10/04   Heidelberg, Deutschland (2) – (Stadthalle)
1974/10/06   Frankfurt, Deutschland – (Jahrhunderthalle) ¶
1974/10/07   Wien [Vienna], Österreich – (Stadthalle) ¶
1974/10/08   Strasbourg, France – (Hall du Trivoli)
1974/10/12   Barcelona, España – (Palau De La Musica Catalana) ¶
1974/10/13   Barcelona, España – (Palau De La Musica Catalana)
1974/10/14   Madrid, España – (Teatro Monumental)
1974/10/19   Paris, France (early) – (Olympia) ¶
1974/10/20   Paris, France (late, 1 a.m.) – (Olympia) ¶

The only reference to a 1974 Cohen appearance in Ludwigshafen I’ve found (other than the ticket) is a 2008 LeonardCohenForum post, which reads, in part,

I saw Leonard Cohen 1974 in Ludwigshafen/Germany, the second time in 1993 in Zürich, the third time 2008 in Montreux and … 25th october in Zürich. [emphasis mine]

Potential Solutions

1. The October 16, 1974 was somehow left off the indices of Cohen concerts.  A five day gap exists between Madrid (Oct 14) and Paris (Oct 19) so a show on the 16th in Ludwigshafen is certainly possible. Even by road, the distance from Ludwigshafen to Paris is only 516 km (321 miles).

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2. The ticket was intentionally misprinted, either as a prank or as a means to profit by fraud. This seems dubious and I have no reason to believe nor any evidence to indicate that this is a counterfeit ticket. I raise it only as a theoretical possibility included for completeness. Creating such believable text and printing a ticket seems an extravagant effort for a joke, and if an unscrupulous seller wished to foist a fake ticket onto a buyer, using a legitimate concert date on the ticket would require little effort and would be less likely to raise suspicion.

3. The ticket is for a show which was planned but never took place. I suppose this could be a ticket printed for a concert that was scheduled but was then cancelled. During the 2008-201-Leonard Cohen World Tour, for example, shows scheduled for Honolulu and Cambodia were cancelled. It seems statistically unlikely, however, that a full complement of tickets was printed for a cancelled show and only a single ticket survived to be sold almost 40 years later. And there is that LeonardCohenForum poster who recalls being at a Cohen concert in Ludwigshafen in 1974.

OK, this is not an exhaustive list of possibilities. It does not, for instance include a time-space warp.  There may well be a simple solution that isn’t apparent to me but is obvious to others. Or perhaps the key to this apparent discrepancy is well known to everyone but me. In any case I encourage readers to offer personal or documented information about the concert, explanations, hypotheses, speculations, …

Note: Originally posted July 16, 2012 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

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  1. Including Is This What You Wanted by Jim Devlin, CohenLive (no longer online), and LeonardCohenFiles []
  2. CohenLive, Is This What You Wanted by Jim Devlin, and LeonardCohenFiles do list Cohen concerts at Friedrich-Ebert-Halle  Ludwigshafen, but only on April 27, 1976 and November 26, 1979. []

9 Replies to “Mysterious Ticket Clue To Phantom 1974 Leonard Cohen Concert?”

  1. Sylvie Simmons

    Watson here. A site on google.de that claimed to list all of Leonard’s German shows since creatures first walked the earth, had no record of it either. Since Ma-Ma were involved with the promotion of at least the German part of Leonard’s 1972 European tour, maybe more, it’s not unimaginable they might call him up with a last-minute job on a quiet Wednesday night. Just as possible that the tickets were printed for a concert that was cancelled at the last minute…

  2. Andrew

    I can’t offer any help regarding the veracity of the ticket or not, just that if I was making the journey now from Madrid to Ludwigshafen I would not go that way, but to the right of Andorra then via Lyonand Strasbourg, but then the roads in France would have been different in 1974. I doubt Googlemaps was able to slip back through a timewarp to give the best 1974 route!

    1. DrHGuy Post author

      Today’s Google Maps application is indeed an anachronism for 1974 and I should have pointed out that its use may have introduced an error in the distance calculations. My use of the map was only to show that geographically, traveling between the three cities within the given time span was possible, and the approximation offered by Google Maps seems adequate for that purpose.