The first time I heard Cohen perform was on May 5, 1970. His sold-out concert was at the 2000-seat Jahrhunderthalle in Frankfurt, Germany, where I was a music-crazed eighth-grade student at the Frankfurt International School. His concert took place a day after four students protesting the Vietnam War were killed by National Guard troops at Kent State University in Ohio. The fatal shootings were a prime topic of conversation for many in the audience — and for Cohen, who lamented the tragedy at some length from the stage before performing a single number. Apparently taken aback by Cohen’s impromptu but carefully articulated words, a young American soldier seated in the front row called out: “We came to hear you sing, not talk.” “Well, then,” Cohen shot back, “you’ve got a real problem.” After doing a song or two with his band, Cohen invited as many audience members as would fit to come up on stage for the remainder of the concert. More than a hundred did, sitting cross-legged next to him and his musicians. Cohen promptly selected the prettiest young woman on stage and — faster than you could say “Suzanne” or “So Long, Marianne” — began making out with her. He engaged in a similar, spur-of-the-moment make-out session with another young woman on stage when he performed at the same Frankfurt venue a year later. (In 1987, I did a Union-Tribune interview with Jennifer Warnes, who had just released her superb album of Cohen’s songs, “Famous Blue Raincoat.” Since she had been a singer in his band in the early 1970s, I asked her if she recalled Cohen’s make-out sessions with very willing female fans at his pair of Frankfurt concerts. Warnes let out a knowing sigh. “He did that at every concert,” she said.)
How make-out artist supreme Leonard Cohen nearly got me kicked out of my 11th grade English class by George Varga (San Diego Union Tribune: No 11, 2016). The photo us a screen capture from Leonard Cohen – Bird On A Wire, Tony Palmer’s documentary of the 1972 Leonard Cohen Tour.