Photos: Leonard Cohen Shaving During Concert Break – 1972


In Jerusalem, at the Yad Eliahu Sports Palace, there was pandemonium when Cohen stopped mid-performance and left the stage, agitated and in tears, saying that he could not go on and that the money should be refunded to the audience. Drugs and the pressure of performing the final concert of the tour in the holy city of Jerusalem had contributed to his state. In the dressing room, a distraught Cohen rejected the pleas of his musicians and manager to return to the stage. Several Israeli promoters, overhearing the conversation, walked out to the crowd and conveyed the news: Cohen would not be performing and they would receive their money back. The young audience responded by singing the Hebrew song, “Zim Shalom” (“We Bring You Peace”). Backstage, Cohen suddenly decided he needed a shave; rummaging in his guitar case for his razor, he spied an envelope with some acid from years ago. He turned to his band and inquired: “Should we not try some?” “Why not?” they answered. And “like the Eucharist,” Cohen has said, “I ripped open the envelope and handed out small portions to each band member.” A quick shave, a cigarette, and then out to the stage to receive a tumultuous welcome. The LSD took effect as he started to play and he saw the crowd unite into the grand image of “the Ancient of Days” from Daniel’s dream in the Old Testament. This image, “the Ancient of Days” who had witnessed all history, asked him, “Is this All, this performing on the stage?” Deliver or go home was the admonition. At that moment, Cohen had been singing “So Long, Marianne” intensely and a vision of Marianne appeared to him. He began to cry and, to hide his tears, turned to the band—only to discover that they, too, were in tears.1

Also see Leonard Cohen Animation: Shaving



Note: Originally posted Aug 3, 2014 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric


  1. Various Positions: A Life of Leonard Cohen by Ira Nadel []

Exhibition Of Claude Gassian’s Photos Of Leonard Cohen – Paris, May 3-20, 2017

Dominique BOILE alerts us that, in celebration of the release of the French version of Tony Palmer’s Bird On A Wire DVD on May 2, 2017, Galerie A in Paris is organizing an exhibition of Claude Gassian’s photos of Leonard Cohen. A loose translation1 of the information on the posters follows:

On the occasion of the release of the DVD, Leonard Cohen – Bird on a Wire by Tony Palmer, A.Galerie and the editor Blaq Out present a retrospective of the meetings of the photographer Claude Gassian with the Canadien Errant: a selection of portraits showing the flow of time on the face of a folk singer become crooner while remaining a poet.

Preview: Thursday May 4, 2017 at 7 pm
-Free entry-

Exhibition: May 3 – 20 2017
A.Galerie – 4 rue Léonce Reynaud – 75116 Paris France

Update: 20 of these photos can be viewed online at

Léonard Cohen by Claude Gassian


  1. Dominique’s English translation of the original French edited by me into colloquial English []