Video: Leonard Cohen’s More Country Version Of Diamonds In The Mine (Vietnam Version) – Warsaw 1985

“I haven’t been in such a beautiful dressing room since my bar mitzvah”

For an interesting comparison with another Leonard Cohen performance of the same song, see Vietnam Version Of Leonard Cohen’s Diamonds In The Mine – Montreux 1985

Leonard Cohen – Diamonds In The Mine
Video: messalina79

Note: Originally posted October 30, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Vietnam Version Of Leonard Cohen’s Diamonds In The Mine – Montreux 1985

I told you all about it in the days of Vietnam
when your poets marched for Uncle Ho
And your sons for Uncle Sam
But which side you’re gonna take now,
which song you’re gonna sing?
With the mega stench of corpses that is blowin’ in the wind

Diamonds In The Mine was released on the 1971 Songs Of Love And Hate album. By 1979, Leonard Cohen’s live performances featured additional lines referencing Vietnam. A version of the song that begins with verse shown above (with the reference to Bob Dylan’s Blowin’ In The Wind) became the standard in his 1985 concerts. Tom Sakic once told me the 1985 Montreux performance was Leonard’s best ever – and, that’s good enough for me.

Update: See Video: Leonard Cohen’s More Country Version Of Diamonds In The Mine (Vietnam Version) – Warsaw 1985

Leonard Cohen – Diamonds In The Mine
Montreux: July 9, 1985
The video should automatically begin with Diamonds In The Mine

For comparison, the album version can be played below.

Credit Due Department: Photo by Dominique BOILE

Video: Leonard Cohen’s Moving Performance Of Bird On The Wire – Amsterdam 2012

Featuring Mitch Watkins & Neil Larsen

I have tried in my way to be free

Leonard Cohen – Bird On The Wire
Amsterdam: Aug 22, 2012
Video by

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

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. []