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. Leonard Cohen on Becoming a Monk, Why His Opinions Don’t Matter by Mark Binelli. Rolling Stone: Nov 8, 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 []

Video: 2013 Pula Soundcheck Fun – Leonard Cohen & Band Rehearse Save The Last Dance For Me & Choices

pulachoices

Baby, don’t you know I love you so
Can’t you feel it when we touch?
I will never, never let you go
I love you, oh so much
And don’t forget who’s takin’ you home
And in whose arms you’re gonna be
So darling, save the last dance for me 

Featuring The Naked Knees Of Alex Bublitchi & Mitch Watkins

This marvelous video by Roman Gavrilin aka Hermitage Prisoner captures the spirit of Leonard Cohen’s soundcheck. See band members in casual duds and Leonard Cohen – in slacks, shirt, tie, & hat – but sans jacket. The performances of the two songs are indistinguishable in quality from concert renditions. Great fun to watch

Leonard Cohen – Save The Last Dance For Me & Choices
Pula Soundcheck: August 1, 2013
Video by Roman Gavrilin

Note: Originally posted July 23, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Best Videos Of 2013 Leonard Cohen Tour: Choices – Mannheim

choices

I’ve had choices
Since the day that I was born
There were voices
That told me right from wrong
If I had listened
No I wouldn’t be here today
Living and dying
With the choices I made

Leonard Cohen – Choices (George Jones Cover)
Mannheim: June 29, 2013
Video by Sweetmelody2011

Best 2013 Leonard Cohen Videos: Cohencentric.com is featuring selections from the current Best Of 2013 Leonard Cohen Tour Video Setlist, which comprises the best available video of each of the songs performed during the 2013 Leonard Cohen Old Ideas World Tour

About Those Songs On Leonard Cohen’s Can’t Forget Album: Choices

choicesAbout Those Songs On Leonard Cohen’s Can’t Forget Album

About Those Songs On Leonard Cohen’s Can’t Forget Album is a series of posts offering background and historical context for songs on Can’t Forget: A Souvenir of the Grand Tour, the Leonard Cohen live album scheduled for release May 12, 2015.1  Most of the following content originally appeared at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, the previous incarnation of Cohencentric, in two posts, one dated Mar 10, 2012 and the second dated Apr 27, 2013; this material is being republished now in anticipation of the new album’s release.

Leonard Cohen’s First Performance Of Choices By George Jones

Leonard Cohen’s April 26, 2013 Winnipeg show included a 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 concert. In honor of Jones, Cohen played Choices, a ballad by Jones.

Video: Leonard Cohen Performs Choices

Leonard Cohen – Choices
Mannheim: June 29, 2013
Video by Sweetmelody2011

Leonard Cohen – Choices From The Can’t Forget Album

Taped at the 2013 Christchurch soundcheck

Leonard Cohen On George Jones: “I love to hear an old guy laying out his situation”

Long before the 2013 Winnipeg concert, however, Leonard Cohen had repeatedly praised George Jones. In 2001, for example, he told interviewer Mark Binelli,2

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.3 He has the best voice in America.

On another occasion, Cohen was asked “What music would you have played at your funeral?” His reply follows:

The Grand Tour by George Jones. He’s showing somebody round this empty house and he’s saying here’s the nursery, she left me without mercy. 4

In his February 24, 2009 New York Times article, On the Road, For Reasons Practical and Spiritual, Larry Rohter, describes Leonard Cohen’s response to an interviewer’s inquiry into the music in his laptop’s iTunes:

He [Leonard Cohen] played a klezmer-style Hebrew hymn, then followed it by singing along with one of George Jones’s weepy country morality tales.

“I’ve had choices since the day that I was born,/There were voices that told me right from wrong,” Mr. Cohen crooned in his stern baritone. “If I had listened, no, I wouldn’t be here today,/Living and dying with the choices I’ve made.”

That song identified as “one of George Jones’s weepy country morality tales” was, of course, Choices.

Choices By George Jones

gj-choices

Choices was written by Mike Curtis, Billy Yates, and Rob Lyons and was first recorded by Yates on his 1997 self-titled album.  George Jones covered Choices in 1999, releasing it that year on his Cold Hard Truth album. Jones won a Grammy for Best Male Country Vocal Performance for the song.

The personal background of the song is elaborated in this excerpt from  the CMT George Jones biography:

Famed for excessive drinking throughout most of his career, Jones set something of a record in 1979 when he missed more than 50 concerts and picked up the nickname “No Show Jones.” He battled his addiction with varying degrees of success throughout the 1980s and appeared to have conquered his drinking problem in the 1990s. Then, in 1999, he was seriously injured when he wrecked his car near his Nashville-area home. Police called to the scene found a partly empty bottle of vodka in the car. He was convicted of impaired driving, fined and sentenced to undergo treatment. There have been no such incidents since. In the wake of that final car crash, Jones released a powerful ballad called “Choices” …

Video: George Jones Performs  Choices
At the beginning of this video, Jones says “We’re gonna do this one all the way through.” This is a reference to the refusal of the CMA to allow Jones to sing the entire song, which received a CMA nomination for single of the year, on the broadcast of the awards show, citing time constraints. Rather than comply, Jones boycotted the event. During that show, Alan Jackson cut his performance of his own song short and broke into a full version of “Choices,” earning a standing ovation from the audience and gratitude from Jones.5

Other Posts About Those Songs On Leonard Cohen’s Can’t Forget Album

All posts in this series can be found at About Those Songs On Leonard Cohen’s Can’t Forget Album

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  1. See It’s Official – Leonard Cohen “Can’t Forget” Live Album: Tracks, Sources, Pre-Order Info, & More []
  2. Q&A: The New Leonard Cohen –  by Mark Binelli. Rolling Stone. Posted Oct 19, 2001. []
  3. 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 []
  4. “Q Questionnaire – Leonard Cohen.” Q Magazine, September 1994. []
  5. CMT George Jones biography []