Two highlights of Leonard’s three-and-a-half hour-plus tour-de-force performance in Halifax on April 13 came from songs on Old Ideas. He played six of the ten songs from that record, by my count. The performance of Come Healing, featuring England’s Webb Sisters, Leonard’s modern-day sisters of mercy, was one of the most uplifting musical experiences of my 35 years. The Webbs are angels at the gates of Heaven, and Leonard is an old, battered sinner hoping his penance will gain him admission. Sort of A Singer Must Die (from New Skin for the Old Ceremony, 1974) played straight, there were surely tear-stained cheeks in the almost-sold out crowd following it. Anyhow represents what he’d like to say to a former love he’s wronged (Have mercy on me, baby/After all I did confess/Even though you have to hate me/Could you hate me less). It’s preceded by a darkly funny monologue which has our hero lying in a hospital bed at 80 – two years hence – with a nurse offering him a cigarette, the smoking of which transports him back to the time in his life when he hurt this particular lady. The contrast between these two songs represents quite handily the experience of this Leonard Cohen concert, with the Metro Centre being transformed at turns into a church and bordello, a monastery and seedy nightclub at Closing Time.
From Leonard Cohen, Halifax, April 13, 2013 by Andrew Douglas. Frank Magazine: April 14, 2013
Note: Originally posted April 16, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric