Leonard Cohen Video: Energetic Performance Of First We Take Manhattan – Ghent Aug 12, 2012

I’m guided by a signal in the heavens
I’m guided by this birthmark on my skin
I’m guided by the beauty of our weapons
First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin

Leonard Cohen – First We Take Manhattan
Ghent: Aug 12, 2012
Video by Thomas Delbecque

Note: Originally posted Aug 13, 2012 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Video: 2009 Leonard Cohen Barcelona Blessings “May your life be sweet as apples dipped in honey”

Yesterday’s post about Leonard Cohen’s Priestly Blessing – Belfast 2009 called to mind another special Cohen blessing. At the Sept 21 2009 Barcelona show, Leonard incorporated a reference to the Rosh Hashanah custom of eating a slice of apple dipped in honey to express hopes that the upcoming year will be sweet and fruitful. An enlightening exposition of the origins and meaning of this Rosh Hashanah tradition can be found at Aish.com.

Leonard Cohen – Blessings
Barcelona: Sept 21 2009
Video by TallMan3rdRow


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

Video: Leonard Cohen’s Priestly Blessing – Belfast 2009

The Priestly Blessing

Leonard Cohen’s final blessings were an integral part of his 2008-2013 shows. The best known of these, the Priestly Blessing, was a highlight of his historical Sept 24, 2009 Tel Aviv, Israel concert. (For another special Cohen blessing, see Video: 2009 Leonard Cohen Barcelona Blessings “May your life be sweet as apples dipped in honey”)

As this post, originally published July 28, 2009 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com,1 a predecessor of Cohencentric, indicates, however, the Tel Aviv show was not the only – or even the first – time Leonard invoked the Priestly Blessing. The Tel Aviv Blessing was more dramatic with the formal “lifting of the hands” and Leonard Cohen’s recitation of the Blessing in Hebrew. More information about the history of the Priestly Blessing and its manifestation at the Tel Aviv show an be found at The Legacy Of Leonard Cohen’s 2009 Tel Aviv Priestly Blessing With Video Of The Event.

Leonard Cohen’s blessings, his final address to the audience at the July 26, 2009 Belfast concert, varied from the benedictions he has used at most of his performances, including  his most recent shows in Dublin a few days earlier.

The Belfast blessings were taken from The Priestly Blessing found in Numbers 6:24-26, the prayer to be used by Aaron and his sons for the blessing of the children of Israel. Many synagogues continue to use this prayer in their services. In Protestant churches, it has come to be known as The Benediction and often closes church services as a blessing upon the congregation. It is similarly used at weddings as a blessing upon the bride and groom.

The King James version follows:

The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

Leonard Cohen – Blessings
Belfast: July 28, 2009


For comparison, the blessings from the Aug 4, 2009 Lisbon concert, which reflect Cohen’s most frequently used comments,2 are offered in the video below.

Leonard Cohen – Blessings
Lisbon: Aug 4, 2009



  1. Note the final video has been updated because the video used in the original post is no longer available []
  2. Cohen’s blessings are rarely identical but typically take the form of permutations consisting of 2 or 3 comments drawn from 4 or 5 possibilities. []

Video Interview: Leonard Cohen On Edith Piaf, Dominique Issermann, Israel, Terrorism, Monastery Life, Songwriting … (1988)

Leonard Cohen The Incorrigible Poet

This gem of an interview first appeared online in 2009 but has never received the attention it deserves. The video was translated and uploaded by Thelma Thelma Blitz.  The original description (from YouTube) follows:

1988 interview on French TV with journalist Patrick Poivre d’Arvor, popular newscaster known for his appreciation of literature. Cohen is just on the verge of present “First We Take Manhattan” through a video clip by Dominique Issermann. The interview shift from fantasy terrorists to politics in the Middle East where Leonard tells the TV audience that’s what goes on there is everyone’s problem, not just the Israeli’s or the Jews’ problem. Thanks to Margaret of the Leonard Cohen files for sending me this interview ( maybe she hoped I’d translate and share it) and to Jarkko Arjatsalo , webmaster of the Leonard Cohen files for sending it to her. Also, the philipchek of YouTube and Paris for checking my transcript, adding words I missed , and insuring the accuracy of my translation.

Leonard Cohen The Incorrigible Poet, Part 1


Leonard Cohen The Incorrigible Poet, Part 2

Note: Originally posted Aug 21, 2009 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric