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 Just Says No To Julie Christensen

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Julie Christensen’s Political Anatomy

Among many other musical accomplishments, Julie Christensen has performed as vocalist on two of Leonard Cohen’s tours as well as on his albums. So, it is not surprising to find that she went to him for assistance with songwriting. Christensen recounts this exchange with Cohen:

One of the first songs that came was the one that eventually became the title track. I started writing it a few years back around the time of Independence Day. I asked Leonard Cohen to help me write because he was the only person I knew who could give it the weight that it deserved. But when I told him the opening line, which goes “Between my thighs / Is all my country,” he responded,

I can’t help you there, darling. You got yourself into this one, so you’re on your own.1,2

From The great leap forward: Julie Christensen takes us to Where the Fireworks Are by Brett Leigh-Dicks (VC Reporter: May 17, 2007), reprinted at Stone Cupid. Photo from Stone Cupid

Note: Originally posted May 19, 2007 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

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  1. It is disconcerting to realize that Leonard Cohen saying “No” to a beautiful woman is more seductive than me saying “Yes” – or “Yes, yes yes, a million times yes.” []
  2. One needn’t worry about Ms Christensen’s song; she reports that “… in the end, that [song] just propelled itself forward.” []

“The prospect of an affair with Leonard Cohen, who understood everything about love, alarmed me so much that I declined. I didn’t want to be seen that clearly.” Joan Juliet Buck

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One night, during the intermission at the London premiere of a musical about Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, I thought I saw Leonard Cohen in the bar. ‘Are you really Leonard Cohen?’ I asked. Against all odds, he was. He asked me out; the boyfriend was away, so I said yes. Across the table in a Chinese restaurant, Leonard spoke about yearning with the same piercing precision that I heard in his songs; I was tongue-tied, and apologized for my Yves Saint Laurent suit. ‘I love girls of the bourgeoisie,’ he said. A week later, he invited me to Greece with him. The prospect of an affair with Leonard Cohen, who understood everything about love, alarmed me so much that I declined. I didn’t want to be seen that clearly. He sent me a dozen brown chrysanthemums on stems five feet long, and a poem that ended, ‘Never lie to a great poet, or even a minor one.’quotedown2

Joan Juliet Buck

 

From A Fast Life by Joan Juliet Buck (Bazaar: Mar 9, 2017). More about this relationship at the link

The Guitar Behind Dylan & Cohen By Ron Cornelius: Review + Unpublished Dublin Candles Story

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Ron Cornelius on guitar backing Leonard Cohen

The Guitar Behind Dylan & Cohen By Ron Cornelius

Ron Cornelius, who was guitarist and musical director for the 1970 and 1972 Leonard Cohen tours as well as playing with a multitude of other stars, including Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Chubby Checker, Charlie Daniels, Willie Nelson, Little Anthony, Smokey Robinson. Al Kooper, and Flatt & Scruggs, has written The Guitar Behind Dylan & Cohen, a book of stories about his experiences in music.

guitarronAnd Ron Cornelius has stories to tell. Some – but not all (see below) – of the best are found in The Guitar Behind Dylan & Cohen, a collection of tales about Ron’s adventures and misadventures in the music industry, especially those featuring Messrs. Dylan and Cohen.

The perspective is candid,1 the style is conversational, and the tone is respectful. This book is a treat for music fans.

I’m not going to reveal the punch lines from the book; instead, I will offer some hitherto unpublished tidbits that Ron shared with me in a couple of fascinating phone conversations. Today’s sketch hearkens back to the first day of the 1972 Tour.

Another Leonard Cohen Candles-Caused Accommodation Conflagration

Fans may already know about Edie Sedgwick’s room at the Chelsea Hotel burning down the day after Leonard Cohen, in his role as self-appointed “Expert in The Candle,” warned her and her guests that “this display of candles [in Edie Sedgwick’s room] is extremely dangerous.” (Leonard’s account of this episode is found under the heading, The Expert in The Candle Hypothesis, at  An Illumination Of Leonard Cohen’s Thin Green Candle.) It turns out that Leonard Cohen was involved in a second candle catastrophe.

The 1972 Leonard Cohen Tour opened in Dublin and, as Ron points out, the troupe stayed at the Gresham Hotel, a city landmark and the preferred lodging for politicians, celebrities, and, occasionally, royalty. Before the show, Leonard gathered his musicians in his hotel room, which was illuminated by an impressive number of candles, for vocalizing. Once that exercise was complete, Leonard, the band, and the backup singers left for the venue.

The sharp-eyed reader may have noted the absence of a vital step in that sequence.

Yep, Leonard Cohen, Ron Cornelius, et al left the Gresham Hotel without extinguishing those flaming candles.

And, yep, there was a huge bill awaiting Bill Donovan, the Tour Manager, for damages to the hotel room caused by the ensuing fire.

The good news is that the incident apparently didn’t cause any long-term problems (or perhaps the Gresham was used to dealing with even more spectacular musician high jinks). Over the ensuing years, the Leonard Cohen Tour routinely stayed at the Gresham. In fact, as Jim Carroll noted in Leonard Cohen RIP (Irish Times: Nov 11, 2016), “it often felt as if he’d [Leonard Cohen had] moved into the Gresham Hotel.”

Next Unpublished Ron Cornelius Story:
Leonard Cohen stands As Time Goes By on its head

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The Guitar Behind Dylan & Cohen
By Ron Cornelius
Gateway Entertainment Inc., USA
2016
ISBN 9781943157297

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  1. E.g., illicit drug use and easy sex are common motifs []

“For our moment, for our time, Leonard Cohen looked into the deepest abyss of the self and reached back for all of us”

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It’s not fun to talk about death. None of us want to consider a world without ourselves, or worse, without someone we love or look up to. That’s alright: you’re not supposed to because you have to get up in the morning and go to work and keep with the grand task of moving forward so that there is a world beyond us, one to inherit one day by someone who you’ll never meet, whose experiences will be so foreign to you that you might not recognize them as being like you. But there is Leonard Cohen. I use the present tense because, even though he has died at age eighty-two, neither we nor him are done with one another. There are hard lessons about aging and dying and living on You Want It Darker that we’re not going to ever be done with until we either cure death or forget Leonard Cohen. At the moment, neither seems likely.quotedown2


 

From Sound Takes: You Want it Darker by Amish Trivedi (The Rumpus: March 9th, 2017). The entire review is available at the link. Highly recommended.

Adam Cohen On His Father, Leonard Cohen: “The guy is hilarious”

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The guy is hilarious. I’ve gone into the family business, and we get a tremendous amount of laughter out of that. Hanging out with him is the best, whether it’s over a tuna sandwich or on the front stoop of his house.quotedown2

Adam Cohen

 

Adam Cohen on his father, Leonard Cohen, quoted in My Old Man: Tales of Our Fathers, edited by Ted Kessler,   Canongate Books; 26 May 2016.

Credit Due Department: Photo from Adam Cohen Facebook Page