Leonard Cohen, Bard Of Bedsits Boffo In Boston – 2009

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Cohen Wonderful At The Wang:
Photos & Review

Images
Once again, a striking shot of the marquee at a venue for a Cohen concert  anchors the Heck Of A Guy post about that performance.

cohen-kneel-wang9I’m unsure why there are only one or two other photos (at least, that I’ve found) taken from this perspective (otherwise known as the balcony) of Cohen kneeling, but I am grateful for these few instances of that classic image.

The final two photos capture the physicality of Dino Soldo’s style of playing the woodwinds.cohen-wind-wangcohen-wind2-wang9

The Words
While a number of reports of the Boston show competently describe the performance and some nicely evoke the experience of watching the concert, I am especially taken with the review at Neo-neocon: Leonard Cohen comes to Boston, which offers a perspective not only of Cohen’s work place within the context of the lives of those in the cohort Neo-neocon and I share but also of the significance of his music on our consciousness. Excerpts follow:

As I’ve written before, Leonard Cohen is not for everyone (although he’s certainly for me). Some find him boring, some find him droning, some find him hard to tell apart from Dustin Hoffman until he opens his mouth (although as they’ve both aged, they look a lot less alike than they used to). But I find him to be one of the most compelling and hypnotic singer-songwriters, poet-musicians—whatever sort of hyphenated descriptive term you prefer—in the world.

Cohen spent a lot of time last night with his hat on and his eyes closed and his legs bent or even in a full kneel (try doing that when you’re seventy-four), facing his backup singers or his musicians and singing to them. It sounds as though this would distance him from the audience, but it didn’t; it’s his way of reaching deep within himself to give the greatest emotional power to each song. The words are neither more nor less important than the music, and although he’s probably sung each composition hundreds or even thousands of times, he never seems to be just going through the motions.

For example, when Cohen sang “Suzanne,” one of his earliest songs, he brought thick layers of memory to those of us who had first heard it back in high school or college in the 60s, from a Leonard Cohen who seemed mature at the time but was only in his mid-thirties. How did he make it seem so fresh now, singing it as an old man? His voice is far deeper (deeper even than I’d heard it sound recently in You Tube videos from the current tour—how deep can a man’s voice get and still be heard by the human ear?) But that’s not the only thing that’s deeper; you can hear all the ache of the intervening years—the hard-won wisdom and the hard-fought pain—in his phrasing and tone, and as you listen you nod and think of all that you’ve been through in those same passing decades.

… it is a tribute to the extraordinary musicality of Cohen and everyone else on the stage that none of the new variations is ever a disappointment no matter how deeply entrenched in one’s head a beloved original might be. Each new phrasing, each new riff, is a revelation.

I have just used the word “revelation,” and it points to another characteristic of Cohen’s work: there is a religious undercurrent to it, even when he’s singing about sex (or maybe especially when he’s singing about sex). How he manages to combine the worldly and even the world-weary with the ecstatic and the numinous is a mystery, but his music is permeated with this sense.

The full review cam be read at Neo-neocon: Leonard Cohen comes to Boston.

Credit Due Department:

The great shot of the marquee at the Wang Theatre was taken by Avi Elkoni, The other  three photos were taken by xrayspx, who has generously licensed these pictures for uses such as this.

Note: Originally posted Jun 1, 2009 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Signs Of Leonard Cohen: “100,000 Tickets Sold” 2012 Ghent Concerts Ad

gent_-_1000ksold-scaled1000Ad for the 2012 Leonard Cohen Old Ideas World Tour concerts to be held in Ghent on August 12, 14, 15, 17, & 18 with declaration that “Since 2008, Cohen sold 100,000 concert tickets in Belgium.” Originally posted August 10, 2012 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

2013 Leonard Cohen Winnipeg Show: Video, Photos, Review, George Jones Tribute

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Review & Photos From Winnipeg Free Press

First he takes a Juno. Then he takes the ’Peg.

Leonard Cohen may be at the top of the Canadian musical mountain, but he still knows his place in the universe.

The 78-year-old Montrealer kneeled on his prayer bones at the MTS Centre Friday night, pleading for redemption from a higher power and begging for forgiveness from an adoring crowd.

He was supposed to perform here on March 11, but the flu swept its way through his exceptional band, so the gig was rescheduled until Friday night.

The wait was worth it.

From Review: Cohen still a musical, lyrical force by Alan Small. Winnipeg Free Press: April 27, 2013. The full review, which ranked the Cohen concert “4 1/2 stars out of five” is available at the link as is a slide show of nine photos by Trevor Hagan.

Poster promoting 2013 Leonard Cohen Winnipeg concert

Poster promoting 2013 Leonard Cohen Winnipeg concert

Leonard Cohen – First We Take Manhattan
Winnipeg: April 26, 2013
Video by bigcanadiano

Tribute To Fallen Workers In Song

The review includes a description of Leonard Cohen’s tribute to recently deceased Canadian folk & country singers, Stompin’ Tom Connors and Rita MacNeil and to country legend George Jones, who died the same day as the Winnipeg show, April 26, 2013.

In a 2001 interview with Mark Binelli, Cohen talked about Jones:1

I listened to country as a kid. I could get WWVA from West Virginia, late at night. Have you heard George Jones’ last record, Cold Hard Truth? I love to hear an old guy laying out his situation.2 He has the best voice in America.

In honor of Jones, Cohen played “Choices,” a ballad Jones wrote in 1999 following a car wreck attributed to drinking, his final alcohol-related incident. “Choices”won a Grammy for Best Male Country Vocal Performance.

“Choices” is one of three George Jones songs posted as selections at Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox, a series which features songs the Canadian singer-songwriter has specifically named and lauded in interviews.

Update: Video

There is no known video of Choices from the Winnipeg show. The performance below took place a couple of months later.

Leonard Cohen – Choices (George Jones Cover)
Mannheim: June 29, 2013

 

Note: Originally posted Apr 27, 2013 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

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  1. Q&A: The New Leonard Cohen –  by Mark Binelli. Rolling Stone. Posted Oct 19, 2001. []
  2. I also love to hear an old guy laying out his situation. Incidentally, George Jones was born September 12, 1931, making him only 3 years older than Leonard Cohen, who was born September 21, 1934. It was because Jones began his professional career at 16 and was singing on Texas stations in the 1940s that his songs could possibly have been available on radio while Cohen was still an adolescent. I haven’t been able to track down when Jones began singing at WWVA, but, according to allmusic, the first George Jones recording (a single called “No Money in This Deal”) was released in early 1954, just after Jones returned from a stint in the Marines, on a local Texas label where it received no attention. At that time, Leonard Cohen would have been 19 years old []

Leonard Cohen – There Once Was An App For That: Review Of The 2012 Leonard Cohen iPhone App

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While this app is no longer available, Cohencentric is reposting the Aug 24, 2012 1HeckOfAGuy.com review so that old fans can relive those heady days and newer fans can have a taste of the way it used to be.

Leonard Cohen – There’s An App For That

The Leonard Cohen iPhone app by DKB Productions was released Aug 23, 2012 and is available for installation1 at the App Store. My report on the app’s features based on my test drive of it follows.

Leonard Cohen’s Golden Voice

Opening the app triggers a quote recited by Leonard. The presumptive favorite is the Canadian singer-songwriter murmuring “Hello, Darling.” Other offerings derive from his lyrics, poetry, and interviews, including The Sweetest Little Song from Book of Longing:

You go your way
I’ll go your way too.

 News

The News page appears to be linked to the news page of the official Leonard Cohen site and, is, as can be seen above, fairly limited.

Tour –  And Hidden Bonus

Continue Reading →

  1. Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS []

Video By Dominique Issermann: “Moments of” Leonard Cohen’s Old Ideas

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Leonard Cohen’s Music – Dominique Issermann’s Images

This video is a sequence of vignettes, all shot and directed by Dominique Issermann on her iPhone, for  eight of the songs on the Old Ideas album. These range from slideshows of Leonard Cohen photographs taken by Issermann to video sequences over which Leonard Cohen sings but in which he does not appear. The vignettes themselves are in black and white although the title inserts are in color.

There is, as well, the occasional product placement.

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This video is also available on  the Leonard Cohen iPhone app and was discussed in the Leonard Cohen – There Once Was An App For That: Review Of The 2012 Leonard Cohen iPhone App/

Leonard Cohen “Moments of” Old Ideas
By Dominique Issermann

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Note: Originally posted Aug 30, 2012 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric