Video: Leonard Cohen’s 1988 Icelandic Hallelujah – Most Moving Performance Ever?


In Video: Leonard Cohen’s Gorgeous Performance Of Hallelujah – Reykjavik 1988, I wrote

For a fleeting moment in 2009, YouTube blessed us with a live video of Leonard Cohen performing Hallelujah at the June 24, 1988 Laugardalshöll, Reykjavik, Iceland concert. It was a particularly lovely version that impressed many viewers, inducing me. As we have experienced many times, however, YouTube giveth, and YouTube taketh away. All traces of Leonard Cohen’s 1988 Icelandic concert, including the performance of Hallelujah, have disappeared from YouTube and similar sites.

I have serendipitously come across another YouTube posting of the same video, albeit of lesser quality. Although it’s described on YouTube as having taken place in 1985, this appears to be a segment from the June 24, 1988 concert in Reykjavik, Iceland, which was used in a program broadcast on Icelandic TV. Included are bits of an interview, an Icelandic cover of “Hallelujah,” and, most importantly, a version of “Hallelujah”  sung by Cohen (with backup singers Perla Batalla and Julie Christensen) that is not only distinct from every other rendition of that song I’ve heard before but perhaps the most moving performance of  “Hallelujah” by anyone, anywhere, anytime.

Make no mistake – the color is distorted, the editing clumsy, and the subtitles distracting, and we don’t get our first vision of Leonard singing until just past the 2 minute mark, but the live scenes of Leonard Cohen and backup singers, Perla Batalla and Julie Christensen, performing are overwhelmingly moving. (For the record, I believe my own version of this performance at Video: Leonard Cohen’s Gorgeous Performance Of Hallelujah – Reykjavik 1988 has its own merits and urge you to take a look if you haven’t seen it before.)

Leonard Cohen – Hallelujah
Reykjavik: June 24, 1988

Note: Originally posted Dec 18, 2009 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen Live On Air – New Unauthorized CD


Dominique BOILE has spotted yet another bootleg of that November 9, 1988 concert at Massey Hall in Toronto, broadcast live on CBC radio and rebroadcast on March 11, 1990. Live On Air (due for release March 24, 2017) was found on the German Amazon site.

  • Audio CD (24. März 2017)
  • Anzahl Disks/Tonträger: 1
  • Label: Laser Media (SPV)
  • ASIN: B06WD3P4BX

Also see

1. Ain’t No Cure For Love
2. Bird On The Wire
3. I’m Your Man
4. Heart With No Companion
5. Take This Waltz
6. Interview
7. Tower Of Song
8. Joan Of Arc 9
9. Jazz Police
10. First We Take Manhattan
11. Suzanne
12. I Tried To Leave You

Leonard Cohen – Live In San Sebastian 1988 Unauthorized DVD To Be Released

91gmwk0pmsl-_sl1500_Dominique BOILE alerts us to an unauthorized DVD of the RTE recording of the entire May 20, 1988 Leonard Cohen San Sebastian concert, the only full-length live Leonard Cohen show ever broadcast on TV, will be released on April 7, 2017.

More about this TV broadcast, including a video of the concert, can be found at at Video: Watch Complete 1988 Leonard Cohen San Sebastián Concert TV Broadcast – Without Subtitles,

From Amazon:

Leonard Cohen only toured three times during the 1980s; in the decade s opening year he performed a couple of shows each in Australia and the US, plus a handful of dates in Europe. In 1985 he followed a near identical itinerary, while 1998 was witness to a more extended European jaunt, plus a few dates in North America. The show featured on this DVD comes from a TV broadcast of Cohen s gig in San Sebastian, Spain, on 20th May 1988, one of five performances he gave in the country in as many days. Touring in support of his I m Your Man album, this delightful appearance in the Basque region, released here on DVD for the first time, features a superb array of Cohen classics and a fine selection of tunes from his then current record. 1. Intro 2. Dance Me To The End Of Love 3. Ain’t No Cure For Love 4. Who By Fire 5. Bird On The Wire 6. Avalanche 7. Chelsea Hotel #2 8. Tower Of Song 9. Sisters Of Mercy 10. One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong 11. First We Take Manhatten 12. Everybody Knows 13. Joan Of Arc 14. Hallelujah 15. Take This Waltz 16. The Partisan 17. Suzanne 18. Heart With No Companion 19. Coming Back To You 20. I Can’t Forget 21. So Long, Marianne

Listen To 1988 Leonard Cohen Amsterdam Concert

Amsterdam 1988-3Jo Meul alerts us to a recording of the complete April 18, 1988 Leonard Cohen concert at Het Muziektheater, Amsterdam, Netherlands now available as an audio-only YouTube video. Jo rates the audio quality as “great.”

Setlist April 18, 1988 Leonard Cohen Amsterdam Concert

  1. Bird on the Wire
  2. Dance Me to the End of Love
  3. Who by Fire
  4. Ain’t No Cure for Love
  5. The Law
  6. Heart with No Companion
  7. I’m Your Man
  8. Coming Back to You
  9. First We Take Manhattan
  10. Chelsea Hotel #2
  11. Tower of Song
  12. One of Us Cannot Be Wrong
  13. Everybody Knows
  14. There Is a War
  15. Take This Waltz
  16. Hallelujah
  17. Sisters of Mercy
  18. Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye
  19. I Can’t Forget
  20. Suzanne
  21. So Long, Marianne

Credit Due Department: Photo by Pete Purnell.

Video: Watch Complete 1988 Leonard Cohen San Sebastián Concert TV Broadcast – Without Subtitles

88ssOn , I posted that “the RTE recording of the entire May 20, 1988 Leonard Cohen San Sebastian concert, the only full-length live Leonard Cohen show ever broadcast on TV, is now online.” Now, the same broadcast is available without the annoying subtitles. (Note: This video does not include the interview that was part of that broadcast. For that interview see the first portion of Leonard Cohen San Sebastián Interview & Concert.)

Leonard Cohen San Sebastián Concert
Velodromo De Anoeta: May 20, 1988

Credit Due Department: Thanks to Jo Meul & Alan Mawhinney, who alerted me to this video.