Introduction: Christof Graf has a long history of producing respected books, articles, photos, and online sites dealing with Leonard Cohen see Celebrating The 20th Anniversary Of Christof Graf’s Online Leonard Cohen Resources). And Christof has been a generous and valued contributor to this site.1 Now, Christof offers the story behind his photo of Leonard Cohen and Rebecca De Mornay, taken at the 1993 Rock Am Ring Festival.
I Remember You Well At The Rock Am Ring Festival
Leonard Cohen live at Germany`s biggest Rock Festival – 1993
On May 29, 1993, Leonard Cohen performed at the Rock am Ring Festival, Germany`s biggest Rock Festival, held at the Nürburgring Formula One Race Course. Because of the festival schedule, the set comprised only ten songs, beginning with Dance Me To The End Of Love and ending with Democracy.2 I was on stage taking photos.
Leonard`s gig in front of 50.000 people was amazing, but it was not his best fit with an audience. He played after Brian May of Queen and before Melissa Etheridge. On same weekend program were Led Zeppelin`s Robert Plant, Def Leppard, The Black Crowes, Danzig, Ugly Kid Joe and other heavy rock musicians. Because of the Festival’s rockesque atmosphere, Leonard was forced to play and sing somewhat louder and faster than usual. He did a great job, but it was clear that the audience had come for and preferred the heavy rock performers.
After my live shots, I was invited by Festival promoter Marek Lieberberg to join Leonard Cohen backstage. That was when I took the shot him with Rebecca De Mornay, who accompanied Leonard on most of that European Tour. During his Rock Am Ring gig, she was on stage and I saw her at each concert of the 1993 Germany Tour, which I covered. I published the account, first as newspaper-articles and, in 1996, in the book “Leonard Cohen – Un Hommage – A Leonard Cohen Tour Documentation in Germany 1993.”
After Leonard left the stage about 6.30 p.m. he was relaxing backstage with Rebecca when: the late Michael Hutchence from Australian rock band INXS joined Leonard in conversation. I took also a shot of that moment. In the background was Melissa Etheridge, who told me in an interview years later that she “did not dare to disturb that holy moment.” After 15 minutes of talk, coffee, and cigarettes, Mr. Hutchence left to prepare for his show that evening.
The same time the next day, Led Zeppelin founder Robert Plant was backstage looking for Leonard Cohen. He was quite disappointed, when he discovered that “the great Leonard Cohen,: as he called him, one of his favorite singer-songwriters, had performed the day before. .
Photo Key For Image Atop This Post
From Top To Down & Left To Right:
- Cozy Powell (Drummer for Brian May Band)
- Christof Graf On Stage Photographing Leonard Cohen
- Leonard Cohen
- Melissa Etheridge
- Leonard Cohen On Keyboards
- Julie Christensen, Leonard Cohen, & Perla Batalla
- Leonard Cohen (Fish Eye Lens)
- Rock am Ring Promoter Marek Lieberberg (left) backstage with Rebecca De Mornay, Leonard Cohen and Michael Hutchence (INXS)
Source: Der Cohenpedia – Christof Graf`s Leonard Cohen Blog. All photos: Christof Graf.
Note: The story about the entire Festival, including Leonard`s show, is published in my 2015 book: Rock am Ring – 30 Jahre sind nicht genug: Alle Bands, alle Skandale, alle Fotos.
- See, for example, Christof Graf’s Multi-Media Walk Through The Montreal MAC Leonard Cohen Exhibition With Curator John Zeppetelli and Montreal After – Celebrating Leonard Cohen On The Eve Of The First Anniversary Of His Passing By Christof Graf [↩]
- The full setlist follows:
Dance Me to the End of Love
Ain’t No Cure for Love
Bird on the Wire
First We Take Manhattan
Sisters of Mercy
There Is a War