Quality Video: Leonard Cohen Performs Lover, Lover, Lover – Brooklyn 2012

And may the spirit of this song
May it rise up pure and free
May it be a shield for you
A shield against the enemy

Leonard Cohen – Lover, Lover, Lover
Barclays, Brooklyn: Dec 20, 2012
Video by Wirebirds

Note: Originally posted Dec 23, 2012 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen Takes Berlin But Not Without Struggle – Tour Tales 2009

But love is not a victory march,
it’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah!

Leonard Cohen’s Battle For Berlin

As noted by concert-goers, Leonard Cohen’s July 2, 2009 Berlin concert was not an automatic triumph. This report from LeonardCohenForum by brinberlin limns the situation:

… the Webbs and Sharon Robinson came on unsmiling, stony-faced, morose, and despite the obligatory standing ovation LC looked ill at ease to say the least. One problem must have been the audience. What a lack of vibe. Mostly over 50 (as I am, but not like them!) and looking as if they just came for an evening out, provincial in the most pejorative sense of the word, they could have been watching anyone really. They marched up and down the aisles with wines and beers as he sang, talked amongst themselves, clapped and whooped each time they (wrongly) thought a song had ended… really embarrassing. … They were only waiting for Suzanne, and the rest seemed to pass them by as they hysterically took mobile phone footage of each other and the screens…

While others who attended disagree about the appearance of the performers and the extent of the philistinism rampant in the crowd, the consensus is nonetheless that the Berlin show was challenging in a way that many other stops on the World Tour have not been.

Many previous Tour concerts (including the one I attended at the Beacon Theatre) have been as much worship services of gathered Cohen  acolytes as they are entertainments.  The greatest risks posed in such circumstances has been competitions by audience members to demonstrate who is most appreciative of, knowledgeable about, and emotionally intimate with Cohen and crew.

From both the reports of those in attendance and the press, there is little doubt that, by the end of the Berlin show, Cohen had won over the audience. What is striking is that this was a victory accomplished by the overwhelming display of professionalism and grace by Leonard Cohen, the backup singers, and the band.

Keep in mind that this is the grown-up version of the Leonard Cohen who walked off the stage in frustration in a 1972 concert. Of course, this is also the Leonard Cohen who thoughtfully considers his responsibilities as a performer:

You definitely go into a concert with a prayer on your lips. There’s no question about that. I think that anything risky that you do, anything that sets you up for the possibility of humiliation like a concert does … you have to lean on something that is a little better than yourself I feel I’m always struggling with the material, whether it’s a concert or a poem or a prayer or a conversation. It’s very rarely that I find I’m in a condition of grace where there’s a kind of flow that is natural. I don’t inhabit that landscape too often. … Well, I mean this in a kind of lighthearted way. When you walk on the stage and 5,000 people have paid good money to hear you, there’s definitely a sense that you can blow it. The possibilities for disgrace are enormous.1

Leonard Cohen’s 2009 Strategy For Taking Berlin

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  1. From An Interview with Leonard Cohen” by Robert Sward. A Side. Montreal, Quebec. 1986 []

Video: Leonard Cohen Performs Bird On The Wire – German TV 1979

Leonard Cohen’s October 31, 1979 performance of a set at the ZDF-TV Studio in München, Deutschland was taped for later broadcast. Many, if not all, of the songs he played that day have been previously posted individually. Eight of the songs are available at Dec 2, 1979 ZDF-TV Rock-Pop Special

Bird On The Wire, however, was broadcast on the November 10, 1979 edition of the same show.

Thanks to Milan Zivancevic, who alerted me to this video.

Video: Who By Fire – Listen To Leonard Cohen’s Prayer

Tamar offers these points from Who By Fire: Listen To Leonard Cohen’s Prayer [via Google Translate] (Ynet: Sept 18, 2017):

  • “78 years ago (lacking one week) the 5 years old Leonard Cohen stood at the Yom Kippur service in Sha’ar Shamayim synagogue in Montreal, a synagogue that his grandfather established. He stood and heard the words of the Unetanneh Tokef prayer, and the impression must have been grand. Years later, after vising here [Israel] during the Yom Kippur War, he gave his version to the words of “Rabbi Amnon of Mayence.”
  • According to the news site, this version is going to be performed on stage for the first time on September 27 as part of a show called “Broken Prayer” which they describe as a journey in LC’s prayer world, and it will be a part of a “Piyyut” festival in Jerusalem.

 

“I am not the one who loves; It’s love that seizes me” Leonard Cohen – You Have Loved Enough Video

quoteup2
‘You have loved enough, now let me be the lover.’ You could say that God is speaking to you – or the cosmos, or your lover. It just means, like, forget it. Lean back and be loved by all that is already loving you. It is your effort at love that is preventing you from experiencing it.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From “Leonard Cohen’s Thoughts On You Have Loved Enough,” a Ten New Songs promotional video at LeonardCohen.com (no longer online).

Leonard Cohen – You Have Loved Enough

I swept the marble chambers,
But you sent me down below.
You kept me from believing
Until you let me know:
That I am not the one who loves
It’s love that seizes me.

Video by Blaze8674

Thanks to Vicki Woodyard, who alerted me to this video.

“I really loved thinking about him celebrating this new journey by dancing around in the clouds and … playing around with all the weird and cool stuff you could probably do, once you ‘cross over’ into another plane.” Christopher Mills On Making The Leonard Cohen-Leaving the Table Video

“I really loved thinking about him celebrating this new journey by dancing around in the clouds, and visiting his old haunts, playing around with all the weird and cool stuff you could probably do, once you ‘cross over’ into another plane. It just kind of made me warm inside to take this song, which could be about passing on to another place, and figuring out what it could look like in a world of lightness, new adventures, and whatever great memory you could come up with. I mean – I’d watch that channel…”

Watch Leonard Cohen’s Posthumous Music Video ‘Leaving The Table’ by Karen Bliss (Billboard: 9/19/2017) offers information about the making of the Leonard Cohen – Leaving the Table video that premiered at the Sept 18, 2017 Polaris Music Prize Gala.

Video: Variations In Leonard Cohen’s 2012 Performances Of Darkness

 

With Tour Manager Mike Scoble On Harmonica

In searching for information bout Mike Scoble stepping in to play harmonica on performances of Darkness on the 2012 tour, I happened upon this composite video put together by alanm5049 to illustrate the variations in the live versions of that song.

The YouTube description follows:

The) Darkness was initially presented in concert in Nashville in 2009 and has been performed many times since. It is included on the “Old Ideas” album, performed by the touring band. In 2012 there were changes in band personnel resulting in different arrangements for the song. Tour Manager Mike Scoble plays harmonica, and in the first concert of the tour (Ghent) Cohen appears surprised to hear and see him. The instrumental solos between the second and third verses have been altered appreciably over time. Even the guitar playing of Mitch Watkins varies considerably between the early concerts and the later ones in 2012. Initially Leonard Cohen played guitar, but late in the North American leg of the tour, he just sang with a hand-held microphone. Also in the last few concerts Rafael Gayol was featured in a drum solo while LC chanted to him. This is a mix of several videos posted by others, to whom I am very grateful, namely – opaglabijn1 (Ghent 12/8/12), Albert Noonan (Helsinki 2/9/12 & Boston 16/12/12), Arlene Dick (Portland 8/12/10) & leonardcohenvideo (Montreal 28/11/12).