“The roar of the [2008 Fredericton] crowd was… ferocious adoration… Up until that moment it was just another job to me.” Leif Bodnarchuk On Working For Leonard Cohen

Your experience of working with him

In 2008 the tour was savage. Even by the final rehearsal in S.I.R., nerves were frayed. But the very first gig in Fredericton was special, and set the tone for the challenges ahead. Leonard took to the stage for the first time in years, and the roar of the crowd was… I don’t know… ferocious adoration. Deafening like a jet engine, warm like a campfire. Up until that moment it was just another job to me, but that reception made me realise how much pressure we’d be under to help Leonard live up to the expectations put on him.quotedown2

Leif Bodnarchuk


Leif Bodnarchuk served as guitar technician on the 2008-2013 Leonard Cohen tours.

From Leonard Cohen – a few memories by Leif Bodnarchuk (Leif Bodnarchuk: Nov 16, 2016). Photo taken at the Sept 20, 2013 Leonard Cohen Amsterdam Concert by Leif Bodnarchuk.

Update: A remarkably similar description of the Fredericton show from a different perspective can be found at Charley Webb On Leonard Cohen’s 2008 Fredericton Show.

Find more about the Fredericton concert at In The Beginning … Photos & Videos Of Leonard Cohen’s First 2008-2013 Tour Show: Fredericton, May 11, 2008.

2 Replies to ““The roar of the [2008 Fredericton] crowd was… ferocious adoration… Up until that moment it was just another job to me.” Leif Bodnarchuk On Working For Leonard Cohen”

  1. Peter Krijgsman

    We forget how much hard work goes into this stuff. Am reminded of Bird on the Wire (the film) – the point where he stops because the sound system has blown for some reason. Offers everybody their money back, big arguments…. The show at Cardiff in the was perfect in so many ways, but the sound was faultless. Next day (Nov 2008) I wrote in my journal:

    This morning I woke late, the songs and images still running through my head. We went to bed around 4.00am, having got home just after 2.00. I feel in a state of grace. Watching the 74-year-old for three hours was like achieving a lifetime ambition. As Jos said this morning, there are 3000 people around the country feeling the same way. This feeling is similar to the irrational joy that once followed wild parties – a happy tiredness, only this time without the nagging hangover (I drove both ways.) He was humble, acknowledging his musicians and the audience with a practised (but no less genuine for that) grace. The songs were the songs – mostly familiar. The musicians were impeccable. The hall overcame its municipal origins and hopeless lack of organisation to become a big box of joy. Irritations at the queues and lack of food, the preposterously expensive programme (£10) evaporated in the heat.

    Afterwards in the bar of The Ibis Hotel, where we sat out the 45 minutes of waiting for the car park to clear, a black waiter was being abused by a prosperous, middle-aged drunk – a salesman in the closing stages of an entertainment marathon with his colleagues (there had been a rugby international in Cardiff that day). As the waiter came to the till, only slightly flustered, I registered his name tag and addressed him: “You are doing very well…”. He said thank you, in the sweetest, politest manner. It seemed, for a second or two, in this week that the world’s most powerful nation had elected a black man to lead them, that the middle-aged drunk was part of a shrinking tumour.

    The musicians delivered their solos precisely and beautifully. Outstanding amongst them was the drummer, who stopped drumming for a few bars, stood up and instructed the audience to clap. It was a complex double beat, a waltz, not the usual speeded up slow hand clap to accompany a pop anthem. Astonishingly, the audience kept the rhythm. The soloist caught the wave and surfed home. The energy of surprise shot out of our heads, infused the room like a morphine gas.

  2. Joan King

    Brilliant…….just brilliant plus wonderful photo of Leonard in action and his adoring fans…Let his music and the sheer brilliance of him never be forgotten