Don’t Miss The Spectacular 1985 Leonard Cohen Kalvøya, Norway Concert Videos


The Leonard Cohen Kalvøya Videos

After years of now you see them, now you don’t availability, the NRK TV broadcast of the June 30, 1985 performance by Leonard Cohen at Kalvøyafestivalen (Isle of Calf Music Festival), near Oslo, Norway has consistently online at the same site for the past two years.1

kbannerThe NRK offering comprises the entire broadcast of the festival, including  four Leonard Cohen songs: “Memories,” “Heart With No Companion,” “Story of Isaac,” and “I Tried to Leave You,” and a brief interview with the Canadian singer-songwriter.


The color and clarity of these recordings are outstanding and the performances, with Anjani Thomas on the keyboards and vocals, are solid. Most importantly, watching these videos is moving, exhilarating, and fun.
1985anjaniAnd, with his hair slicked back, his beard stylishly scruffy, a cigarette in one hand, and a microphone in the other (note the dramatic microphone dip at 1:58), Leonard Cohen’s matinee idol persona, typically used in the performance of “Memories,” has never been more enjoyable.


Good Afternoon, My Darling
I Tried To Leave You

While all the songs are interesting and well worth watching, the most entertaining and intriguing of the lot is “I Tried To Leave You.” Then as in the 2008-2013 tours, “I Tried To Leave You” is used as a showcase for the band members’ talents. Unlike the more contemporary rendition of “I Tried To Leave You,” however, the 1985 version is performed as a blues number, featuring, for example, …

Anjani’s Mean Streakin’ Pearl of the Pacific Blues


Also Starring …

The video of “I Tried To Leave You” also features an impressive display of guitar skills by band members, Leonard Cohen in stylishly scruffy mode2 improvising lines and being crowned with a wreath of laurels, and a huge crowd of incredibly wholesome-looking, uniformly well-behaved Norwegians.

The Boys In The Band

“I Tried To Leave You” also serves as background for Cohen’s introductions of the band members, which are as generous and laudatory as those he has performed in more recent concerts. He creates a couple of titles congruent with those he has used for band members in the most recent World Tours. His 1985 drummer, for example, is designated the “Master of Surfaces” while his 2009 counterpart, Rafael Gayol, is labeled the “Prince of Precision” or “Our Timekeeper.”

In addition to Anjani Thomas on keyboards, fans are likely to recognize Mitch Watkins, the guitarist on the recent Cohen tours.

Only The Lonely

norwegfedoraAnd then as now, Leonard Cohen expresses a special concern for those alone. Since 2008, it has often taken the form of this blessing, “May you be surrounded by friends and family, and if none of these is yours, may the blessings find you in your solitude. ” In 1985, however, he urges his audience to remember him and his band “… even when you find yourself alone in your room making passes at yourself.”

The Video

The video cannot be embedded here but can be viewed at Det er fest på Kalvøya igjen (Kalvøyafestivalen 1985)

norwaycontntThe video cannot be embedded here but can be viewed at Det er fest på Kalvøya igjen (Kalvøyafestivalen 1985)

Note: The contents of the entire video are displayed below the viewing screen.  One can access the desired sections by clicking 0n those headings (see highlighted “Leonard Cohen – I Tried To Leave You” section in above screen capture)

Credit Due Department: I was alerted to this video by a Facebook post authored by Gordana Stupar


  1. On Aug 8, 2009,, a predecessor of Cohencentric, posted Baby, Baby, Baby – Leonard Cohen & Anjani Sing The Blues In Norway celebrating the YouTube appearance of three videos, “I Tried to Leave You,” “Heart With No Companion,” and “Story of Isaac,” extracted from the TV broadcast of the June 30, 1985 performance by Leonard Cohen in Kalvøya, Norway. Then, the videos were removed, then  reappeared, and then disappeared again. In 2013, some of the Kalvoya performances, including “Memories,”  a performance not previously available, were uploaded to Daily Motion. Sadly, “I Tried To Leave You” is missing. []
  2. Think “Miami Vice,” a 1986 episode of which featured Cohen. See Leonard Cohen Guest Stars On – And Is Fired From – Miami Vice (1986) []