Video: Leonard “Happy To Be Here” Cohen Performs So Long Marianne & First We Take Manhattan – Amsterdam 2012

Well, you know that I love to live with you
But you make me forget so very much
I forget to pray for the angels
And then the angels forget to pray for us

Highlights: Leonard skipping on and offstage, Alex Bublitchi’s solo in So Long Marianne, the enthusiastic audience reaction – but most of all, Leonard’s smiles.

Leonard Cohen – So Long Marianne & First We Take Manhattan
Amsterdam: Aug 22, 2012

Note: Originally posted Aug 26, 2012 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen’s 1988 Halloween Austin City Limits Show – Scary Concept, Eh?

The impending holiday prompted me to re-publish this Halloween tidbit as a reminder that an official version of Leonard Cohen’s 1988 appearance on Austin City Limits is now available online.

Halloween In Austin

In 2013, I pondered the sight displayed above in the screen capture and posted this plea:

Would someone (maybe someone like Roscoe Beck or Mitch Watkins who understands how Austin operates) explain to me why the gentleman in the middle of this screenshot, taken when the camera pans the audience just prior to the start of Take This Waltz during the 1988 Leonard Cohen Austin City Limits Show, seems to be wearing a watermelon helmet on his head? I realize there are some odd images in Take This Waltz (you’ve got your “chair with a dead magazine” and that “bed where the moon has been sweating,” for example) but I don’t recall “I’ll applaud with a watermelon for a hat” in the lyrics.

And, sure enough, a reader wise in the ways of Austin, Leorstef, responded:

So, why is the guy wearing a Watermelon Hat? Why is one lady dressed as a Nun? I asked that question myself the first time I saw the concert 24 years ago.

That concert was actually filmed on Halloween night in 1988, then aired on PBS in April 1989. So simply, many of the folks were just in Halloween costumes. Since Austin has always been a good place to party, I assume they were just getting ready ahead of time for the rest of the night.

Here’s the sad part: I was at the Leonard Cohen concert in Austin on Oct 31, 2012, and I recall seeing only one person that might have been wearing a Halloween costume (and I suspect it could have been the sort of thing she wore every day). So, is Austin getting less weird?

Note: More Halloween-related Leonard Cohen posts can be found at

Leonard Cohen On The Air In Austin

austindc
Leonard Cohen’s performance on the October 31, 1988 episode of Austin City Limits, which has become routinely designated as his “first major performance on American television,” is strong musically and a treat to watch. As ongoing readers know, this show has been intermittently available on various sites and then lost to copyright restrictions.

Now, however, it’s back – in an official version uploaded by AustinCityLimitsTV

The Intros

The 1988 Austin City Limits show1 is notable for Leonard Cohen’s idiosyncratic preludes to certain songs, including a description of the crucifixion of Christ that invokes the application of shaving lotion as an introduction to “Ain’t No Cure For Love” and a lead-in to “If It Be Your Will” that consists of Cohen’s complaint that his “hands are all sweaty with Tequila juice. It’s an impermeable oil that seeps through the membrane,” a scientifically baffling declaration that nonetheless seems to work in context as suggestive language to set the mood.2

Video: Leonard Cohen – Austin City Limits 1988

 

Set List

Continue Reading →

  1. Cohen also performed on Austin City Limits in 1993 []
  2. For a poet-novelist-sing-songwriter-icon, one supposes, poetic license trumps scientific principle. Still, “an impermeable oil that seeps through the membrane” does dispel the Leonard Cohen is a Renaissance Man cliche. []

Listen To Full 1972 Leonard Cohen Aix-En-Provence Festival Concert

As I’ve previously pointed out, the 1970 Leonard Cohen Tour was weird – and the 1970 Aix-en-Provence Music Festival in general, and Leonard Cohen’s role in it specifically, were uniquely weird.

The August 1-3, 1970 Aix-en-Provence Music Festival was Woodstock with a French twist, featuring an audience of 40,000 with an average age of 20, a ban against the Festival issued by the Prefecture of the Bouches-du-Rhone, Hare Krishna chants, battles between local politicians, nudity, Maoists, the President of the International (classic) Music Festival at Aix-en-Provence describing its rock festival counterpart as “devastating hordes of hippies in search of horseplay and scandal,” and demands that the Festival be made “open to the people” (i.e., free), along with, as one might expect, sex (exhibitionist-mode), drugs (used only slightly more discreetly), and rock and roll (by Johnny Winter, Mungo Jerry, Titanic, Majority One, …). And, of course, it was the only time Leonard traveled to a show through the the countryside to arrive on stage – on a white stallion.

More about this show can be found at Cohencentric: 1970 Aix-en-Provence Festival.

Setlist: 01. Les Propriétaires de la Révolution (speech in French) 1:35 02. Bird on the Wire 3:50 03. So Long, Marianne 2:24 04. You Know Who I Am 3:11 05. Lady Midnight 2:36 06. One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong 4:14 07. The Stranger Song 5:19 08. For No Reason At All (Improvisation) :40 09. Joan of Arc 5:02 10. The Partisan 3:34 11. Intro :38 12. Sisters of Mercy 3:30 13. Diamonds in the Mine 4:14

Thanks to Jo Meul, who alerted me to this video.

Up Close & Personal: Leonard Cohen Performs The Partisan – Marseille 2010

marseilleWhen they poured across the border
I was cautioned to surrender,
this I could not do;
I took my gun and vanished.
I have changed my name so often,
I’ve lost my wife and children
but I have many friends,
and some of them are with me.

This video was suggested by Linda-Lee Sturgess, who wrote “This video is not perfection – but a remarkable capture of Leonard ‘up close and personal.’”

Leonard Cohen – The Partisan
Marseille: Sept 21, 2010 (Leonard Cohen’s 76th birthday)
Video by cohenadmirer1

Note: Originally posted Nov 15, 2014 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen Doffs His Hat, Sharon Robinson Waves: 2008 Lucca Soundcheck Video

lsoundcThere is nothing extraordinary about this video of Leonard Cohen’s soundcheck before the 2008 Lucca show, but I always enjoy seeing the backup singers and the band in mufti (OK, I guess that technically, Leonard is in civilian clothes as well , but how do you tell his concert costume from his everyday outfit?), and I am taken by Leonard responding, in the midst of solving some issue with the sound system, to fans applauding the abruptly ended song by doffing his hat and smiling at the crowd — an event followed a moment later by Sharon flashing her own winsome smile and waving.  Consider my cockles warmed.

Leonard Cohen – Dance Me To The End Of Love
Lucca Soundcheck: July 27, 2008
Video by Todd Rongstad

Video: Leonard Cohen Talks About, Performs Chelsea Hotel #2 – 1979

I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel
You were talking so brave and so sweet
Giving me head on the unmade bed
While the limousines wait in the street

Leonard Cohen Talks About, Performs Chelsea Hotel #2
From Song Of Leonard Cohen by Harry Rasky
Video from messalina79

Note: Originally posted September 2, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric