Cohen’s intensity and joy onstage were evident—he would skip on and offstage, kneel and doff his fedora in tribute to his musicians and visibly tear up at climactic moments. Not only were the marathon, three-hour-long concerts received rapturously by critics and fans, but the tour was also a commercial juggernaut. According to Billboard Boxscore, Cohen grossed $85.7 million from 147 dates he played in North America, Europe and Australia from 2008 to 2010 (about 60 percent of the tour’s itinerary); and from 2012 to 2013, his Old Ideas Tour grossed $63.4 million from 87 dates (approximately 70 percent of his total performances). In 2010 alone, Cohen’s tour was bigger than outings by Elton John, Carrie Underwood and Rod Stewart, with an average nightly gross higher than that of John Mayer or Justin Bieber.
From Remembering Leonard Cohen: Close Friends, Collaborators & Critics on How He Changed Music Forever by Sasha Frere-Jones (Billboard: November 17, 2016).
DrHGuy Note: Alan Light is the author of The Holy or the Broken: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, and the Unlikely Ascent of “Hallelujah”