Video: Leonard Cohen Performs I Can’t Forget With Lines From “Dover Beach” & “À La Claire Fontaine” – Ghent 2012

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“I Can’t Forget” – The Ghent Version

The 2012 Ghent concerts have produced a bounty of delectations that have surprised even long-time followers of Leonard Cohen. To this set of delights that have included a new and powerful arrangement of “Dance Me to The End Of Love,” a cover of the 1960s Drifters’ hit, “Save The Last Dance For Me,” and Leonard Cohen’s first live performance of “Light As The Breeze,”  can now be added this version of “I Can’t Forget” with verses from two poems, one in English and one in French, expertly woven into the music to produce a rapturous effect.

Leonard Cohen – I Can’t Forget
Ghent: Aug 14, 2012
Video by

Yep, just another Leonard Cohen masterpiece.

The Recitations

While Cohen has frequently incorporated poems, both his own work and those written by others into his act, they are typically spoken as stand-alone pieces (such as “A Thousand Kisses Deep”) or as introductions to songs. This excerpt from a post about the October 7, 2010 Moscow concert, provides some examples of Cohen’s use of poetry:

“The Darkness” is, by my assessment, especially striking and is significantly enhanced by Leonard Cohen’s recitation of “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley as prologue. This is at least the third time Leonard Cohen has quoted from the works of other poets on the 2010 Tour. At Lissadell House, where Yeats, who spent his childhood in Sligo, lived and wrote during his stay there in 1894 and 1895, Cohen quoted the opening verse of “In Memory Of Eva Gore-Booth And Con Markiewicz” by William Butler Yeats.1 In Stuttgart, apparently in response to civil unrest triggered by protests over the destruction of an area of trees, Cohen introduced “Born In Chains” with words from Matthew Arnold’s “Dover Beach.” … Cohen recited “Dover Beach” prior to “Born In Chains” at the Moscow concert as well.

In this case, Cohen recites a verse of “Dover Beach” in this rendition of  “I Can’t Forget” – but the words of the poem are interlaced with the song itself rather than serving as its prologue.

Cohen also weaves into “I Can’t Forget” words from “À La Claire Fontaine” [At The Clear Spring], a classic French children’s song.  The lyrics, in French and in English, can be found at Wikipedia. I’ve included the first lines (the line spoken by Leonard Cohen) below:

À la claire fontaine m’en allant promener
J’ai trouvé l’eau si belle que je m’y suis baignée.
(refrain) Il y a longtemps que je t’aime, jamais je ne t’oublierai

As I was walking by the clear fountain,
I found the water so lovely I had to bathe.
(refrain) I’ve loved you for so long, I will never forget you

Note: Originally posted Aug 17, 2012 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Video: Evocative, Intimate Performance Of “Whither Thou Goest” By Leonard Cohen & Anjani Thomas – 2007

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Whither Thou Goest, was often used by Leonard Cohen, who sang it a capella with other band members, as a concluding benediction to many of the concerts of his 1988 and 1993 tours.

Written by Guy Singer in 1954, the lyrics of Whither Thou Goest are derived from Ruth 1:16-17, which is the loving vow Ruth, a widow, makes to follow Naomi, who had been her mother-in-law, even though that meant leaving her own country and family. The King James Version of that scripture with Ruth’s pledge follows:

16 And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:

17 Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.

This canticle, its intonations a particularly good fit with Cohen’s voice and phrasings, was resurrected for the Blue Alert concert tour with Cohen joining Anjani on stage for this final song.

And, although Whither Thou Goest continues to serve as a farewell blessing to the audience [at time of original posting], now it is also a strikingly tender and intimate song as performed by these two musicians.

Leonard Cohen & Anjani – Whither Thou Goest
Joe’s Pub, NYC: April 24, 2007

Note: Originally posted Apr 2, 2007 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Hear Complete April 11, 1972 Leonard Cohen Munich Concert + The Munich Poster Mystery

Note: While the poster used in the video (see below) does promote a 1972 Leonard Cohen concert at Circus Krone in Munich, it doesn’t promote an April 11, 1972 show. Note the dates at the left top corner. For more information, see The Leonard Cohen Munich Concert Poster Mystery.

 

Setlist

1. So Long, Marianne
2. Bird On The Wire
3. You Know Who I Am
4. Lady Midnight
5. Joan Of Arc
6. The Stranger Song – solo
7. One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong
8. Tonight Will Be Fine
9. The Partisan (aborted)
9a. I Always Sing Alone (improvisation)
9b. The Partisan (continued, Take 2)
10. Sing Another Song, Boys
11. Famous Blue Raincoat
12. Take The Girls Down (improvisation)
13. Story Of Isaac
14. Chelsea Hotel [#1]
15. Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye
16. Passin’ Through
17. Short Improvisation / Sisters Of Mercy
18. Avalanche – solo
19. Kevin Barry
20. Suzanne
21. As Time Goes By
22. Sing Another Song, Boys
23. Bird On The Wire

High Quality Video: Leonard Cohen, Featuring Webb Sisters Performing If It Be Your Will – Amsterdam 2013

Leonard Cohen, Featuring Webb Sisters – If It Be Your Will
Amsterdam: Sept 20, 2013
Video by Sharon Erde

Also see Video: The Extraordinarily Poignant Final Minutes Of Final Leonard Cohen European Concert – Amsterdam 2013

Video: The Extraordinarily Poignant Final Minutes Of Final Leonard Cohen European Concert – Amsterdam 2013

Crew Joins Leonard Cohen & Musicians Onstage

The final 17 minutes of the Sept 20, 2013 Amsterdam Concert, the last European show given by Leonard Cohen.

Leonard Cohen – I Tried To Leave You, I’ve Got A Little Secret, Save The Last Dance For Me
Amsterdam: Sept 20, 2013
Video by cohenadmirer1

Thanks to Vicki Woodyard, who recommended this video