Video: Leonard Cohen’s Priestly Blessing – Belfast 2009

The Priestly Blessing

Leonard Cohen’s final blessings were an integral part of his 2008-2013 shows. The best known of these, the Priestly Blessing, was a highlight of his historical Sept 24, 2009 Tel Aviv, Israel concert. (For another special Cohen blessing, see Video: 2009 Leonard Cohen Barcelona Blessings “May your life be sweet as apples dipped in honey”)

As this post, originally published July 28, 2009 at,1 a predecessor of Cohencentric, indicates, however, the Tel Aviv show was not the only – or even the first – time Leonard invoked the Priestly Blessing. The Tel Aviv Blessing was more dramatic with the formal “lifting of the hands” and Leonard Cohen’s recitation of the Blessing in Hebrew. More information about the history of the Priestly Blessing and its manifestation at the Tel Aviv show an be found at The Legacy Of Leonard Cohen’s 2009 Tel Aviv Priestly Blessing With Video Of The Event.

Leonard Cohen’s blessings, his final address to the audience at the July 26, 2009 Belfast concert, varied from the benedictions he has used at most of his performances, including  his most recent shows in Dublin a few days earlier.

The Belfast blessings were taken from The Priestly Blessing found in Numbers 6:24-26, the prayer to be used by Aaron and his sons for the blessing of the children of Israel. Many synagogues continue to use this prayer in their services. In Protestant churches, it has come to be known as The Benediction and often closes church services as a blessing upon the congregation. It is similarly used at weddings as a blessing upon the bride and groom.

The King James version follows:

The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

Leonard Cohen – Blessings
Belfast: July 28, 2009


For comparison, the blessings from the Aug 4, 2009 Lisbon concert, which reflect Cohen’s most frequently used comments,2 are offered in the video below.

Leonard Cohen – Blessings
Lisbon: Aug 4, 2009



  1. Note the final video has been updated because the video used in the original post is no longer available []
  2. Cohen’s blessings are rarely identical but typically take the form of permutations consisting of 2 or 3 comments drawn from 4 or 5 possibilities. []

Hear Feb 2, 1985 Leonard Cohen Wiesbaden Show aka “Songs of a Serious Old Man”


Songs of a Serious Old Man is a two-disk  vinyl unauthorized album recorded at the Leonard Cohen concert in Wiesbaden on February 2, 1985. Sound quality is acceptable.


1. Bird On The Wire
2. Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye
3. The Law
4. Coming Back To You
5. Who By Fire
6. There Is A War
7. Night Comes On
8. Dance Me To The End Of Love
9. Diamonds In The Mine
10. The Gypsy’s Wife
11. So Long, Marianne
12. Avalanche – solo
13. Talking
14. Talking and Chelsea Hotel #2 – solo
15. The Stranger Song – solo
16. Story Of Isaac
17. Famous Blue Raincoat
18. Lover Lover Lover
19. Band Introduction
20. Sisters Of Mercy
21. Passin’ Through
22. Suzanne
23. I Tried To Leave You
24. Memories
25. The Guests
26. Bird On The Wire (2)

27. Unidentified Song, Probably Improvised
28. Tennessee Waltz
29. Bird On The Wire
30. Joan Of Arc
31. Hallelujah
32. There Is A War
33. There Is A War
34. If It Be Your Will
35. If It Be Your Will
36. Avalanche

Listen To Dec 10, 2010 Caesars Palace Leonard Cohen Show

Note: While the YouTube description indicates this concert is “The End of the World Tour,” this bootleg is from the Dec 10, 2010 show; Leonard Cohen’s final 2010 Tour appearance was the Dec 11, 2010 concert.

Leonard Cohen – Live at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas
Dec 10, 2010



01. [06:28.12] Dance Me to the End of Love
02. [07:34.52] The Future
03. [04:16.73] Ain’t No Cure for Love
04. [06:59.34] Bird on the Wire
05. [05:35.65] Everybody Knows (Leonard Cohen/Sharon Robinson)
06. [05:04.44] In My Secret Life (Leonard Cohen/Sharon Robinson)
07. [09:49.02] Who by Fire
08. [06:17.37] Darkness
09. [06:57.05] Democracy
10. [04:35.06] Chelsea Hotel #2
11. [10:36.22] Waiting for the Miracle (Leonard Cohen/Sharon Robinson)
12. [14:00.16] Anthem
13. [06:55.22] Tower of Song
14. [04:10.29] Suzanne
15. [03:25.49] A Singer Must Die
16. [05:00.21] Sisters of Mercy
17. [06:33.74] The Gypsy’s Wife
18. [05:26.66] The Partisan (Anna Marly/Emmanuel d’Astier de la Vigerie/Hy Zaret)
19. [06:24.55] Boogie Street (Leonard Cohen/Sharon Robinson)
20. [07:22.45] Hallelujah
21. [05:51.51] I’m Your Man
22. [03:33.40] A Thousand Kisses Deep (poem)
23. [08:52.04] Take This Waltz (Leonard Cohen after Federico Garcia Lorca)

Encore #1:
24. [04:42.39] So Long, Marianne
25. [07:19.47] First We Take Manhattan

Encore #2:
26. [05:47.20] Famous Blue Raincoat
27. [05:04.47] If It Be Your Will
28. [07:08.56] Closing Time

Encore #3:
29. [10:25.17] I Tried to Leave You

Credit Due Department: Photo by J.S. Carenza III

Listen To Leonard Cohen Live At Edinburgh Castle – July 16. 2008


“Sounds like an excellent audience recording to me. No chit-chat, no noisy applause, very good balance between Leonard’s voice and the music,… I like it! “

Jo Meul


01. [06:18.68] Dance Me to the End of Love
02. [07:01.72] The Future
03. [05:05.13] Ain’t No Cure for Love
04. [06:27.32] Bird on the Wire
05. [05:46.23] Everybody Knows (Leonard Cohen/Sharon Robinson)
06. [05:12.45] In My Secret Life (Leonard Cohen/Sharon Robinson)
07. [06:33.63] Who by Fire
08. [04:23.42] Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye
09. [10:46.65] Anthem
10. [07:13.25] Tower of Song
11. [04:13.25] Suzanne
12. [06:47.13] Boogie Street (Leonard Cohen/Sharon Robinson)
13. [07:33.20] Hallelujah
14. [06:41.30] Democracy
15. [05:50.19] I’m Your Man
16. [03:28.43] A Thousand Kisses Deep (poem)
17. [09:03.13] Take This Waltz (Leonard Cohen after Federico Garcia Lorca)

18. [05:32.55] So Long, Marianne
19. [06:38.71] First We Take Manhattan
20. [05:43.24] Sisters of Mercy
21. [05:31.48] If It Be Your Will
22. [07:14.52] Closing Time

Elton John: Leonard Cohen Fan + Elton & Leonard Duet Born To Lose

Sir Elton Is A Leonard Cohen Fan

Here, Elton John echoes Leonard Cohen’s turtle pose
Embed from Getty Images

Elton appeared in these Cohencentric posts:

Elton John also performed “I’m Your Man” on Tower Of Song: The Songs Of Leonard Cohen tribute album.

Update: On the death of Leonard Cohen, Elton John tweeted

Elton John Does Duets

In 1993, Elton John released Duets, an album comprising 15 songs, each performed by Elton John and a different duet partner, including such notables as Kiki Dee, whose 1976 duet with Elton John, “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,” marked the zenith of her career, Gladys Knight, with musical accompaniment by Stevie Wonder, George Michael, Tammy Wynette, Bonnie Raitt, Tammy Wynette, RuPaul, and – most pertinently for our purposes – the Canadian singer-songwriter (but not yet icon) Leonard Cohen.

Born To Lose

“Born To Lose”  was written and first performed by Ted Daffan in 1942. Daffan’s songwriting skills surpassed Cohen’s in at least one category: velocity.  While Cohen labored over songs like “Hallelujah” for a year or two, Daffan observed,

If I have to fool around with a song for a day or two, I might as well forget it because it won’t be any good anyway.1

“Born To Lose” has been incredibly popular with music fans and other artists. In 1982, “Born to Lose” went platinum and Daffan himself noted

“Born To Lose” [was] my main money support most of my life. I have 141 singles and albums with ‘Born to Lose’ and I don’t have them all.2

Elton John And Leonard Cohen Sing Born To Lose

While not a classic in either John’s or Cohen’s repertoire, “Born To Lose” does, to my ear, does fit especially well with Cohen’s voice and style and this joint performance qualifies as at least a guilty pleasure for this listener (How could a Cohen fan not appreciate his final camped up line, “Born to lose, and now Elton, I’m losin’ you?”) and a reminder of the debt both singers acknowledge owing to country music.

Elton John & Leonard Cohen – Born To Lose
Duets Album: 1993


Photo of Elton John atop this post By Ernst Vikne [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons. I was alerted to this video by Sally Hunter. Originally posted Mar 16, 2011 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric


  1. Daffan’s biography at Nashville Songwriters Hall Of Fame []
  2. Daffan’s biography at Nashville Songwriters Hall Of Fame []

Hear Oct 17, 1979 Falkoner Teatret (Copenhagen) Leonard Cohen Show


01. (8:21.50) Bird on the Wire
02. (8:22.20) Who by Fire
03. (4:27.04) Field Commander Cohen
04. (4:28.12) Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye
05. (6:54.26) Ballad of the Absent Mare
06. (5:48.66) Suzanne
07. (6:23.44) //Iodine (Leonard Cohen/Phil Spector) / (band introductions)
08. (6:18.35) Joan of Arc
09. (5:44.48) The Stranger Song
10. (8:10.73) Chelsea Hotel #2
11. (3:22.17) A Singer Must Die
12. (2:54.63) Un as der Rebbe Singt (trad.)
13. (3:14.50) The Partisan (Anna Marly/Hy Zaret)
14. (8:29.15) Story of Isaac
15. (6:09.17) The Gypsy’s Wife
16. (3:42.49) Why Don’t You Try
17. (6:47.60) I Tried to Leave You

Encore #1:
18. (8:40.14) So Long, Marianne

Encore #2:
19. (5:34.22) Tonight Will Be Fine
20. (7:00.61) Memories (Leonard Cohen/Phil Spector) (band introductions)

Encore #3:
21. (6:34.04) Lover, Lover, Lover