Video: Leonard Cohen Live (Unofficial Soundboard Recording) At Reykjavik 1988

1988-06-24-reykjavik-frontAlan Mawhinney points us to a new YouTube upload of an outstanding unofficial recording of a great Leonard Cohen performance:  Reykjavik June 24, 1988. For a sample of the quality of this show, view the video Leonard Cohen’s Gorgeous Performance Of Hallelujah – Reykjavik 1988

1 Dance Me To The End Of Love
2 Ain’t No Cure For Love
3 Who By Fire
4 Bird On A Wire
5 I’m Your Man
6 Sisters Of Mercy
7 Heart With No Companion
8 First We Take Manhattan
9 Avalanche
10 Chelsea Hotel #2
11 Tower Of Song
12 Stranger Song
13 Everybody Knows
14 Joan Of Arc
15 Story Of Isaac
16 Hallelujah
17 Passin’ Thru
18 Take This Waltz
19 The Partisan
20 If It Be Your Will
21 Coming Back To You
22 Suzanne
23 So Long, Marianne (Includes Morning Boat verse)
24 I Can’t Forget
25 A Singer Must Die
26 First We Take Manhattan (reprise)
27 Famous Blue Raincoat
28 I Tried To Leave You
29 Whither Thou Goest

Best Bootlegs: Leonard Cohen Live At Royal Albert Hall 1988

Because I may not know music, but I know what you should like
lclondonfrf… and where to find it

BBC Records Leonard Cohen 1988 London Show

On May 30, 1988, Leonard Cohen gave the first of three consecutive sold out concerts at the Royal Albert Hall. The BBC recorded the concert (from their own soundboard) but did not broadcast it. That recording later surfaced as this outstanding bootleg.

To place this show in context, the Cohen album, “I’m Your Man” was released April 19, 1988. “Famous Blue Raincoat,” the Jennifer Warnes album  that was instrumental in extending Cohen’s audience, was released November 1986,  Cohen’s next album, “The Future,” would not be issued until  November 24, 1992.

The photo below is from January 1988. 1

Leonard Cohen 1988, photo by Roland Godefroy

Much of the tracklist (see below) comprises songs played during the 2008-2009 Leonard Cohen World Tour. This makes for interesting comparisons. The lyrics and arrangements of many of the songs (e.g., “Everybody Knows”) have shifted and Cohen, in 1988, seems suspended between the younger, more confrontational Leonard Cohen, who once walked off the stage during a concert and sometimes engaged in arguments with audience members, and his current incarnation as diplomatic icon.


01 Dance Me To The End Of Love
02 Ain’t No Cure For Love
03 Who By Fire
04 Bird On The Wire
05 I’m Your Man
06 Sisters Of Mercy
07 Coming Back To You
08 First We Take Manhattan
09 Chelsea Hotel
10 Tower Of Song
11 The Stranger Song
12 If It Be Your Will
13 Everybody Knows
14 Joan Of Arc
15 Hallelujah
16 There Is A War
17 Take This Waltz
18 The Partisan
19 Suzanne
20 Passin’ Through

21 I Tried To Leave You
22 Whither Thou Goest
23 So Long, Marianne

Missing from the concert’s original set list is Avalanche” (performed before “Chelsea Hotel” in the show) and the final fragment of  “Hallelujah.”  The remainder of the concert, however, is intact on this recording as are the song  introductions.


Leonard Cohen – vocals, acoustic guitar, keyboards
Perla Batalla – vocals
Julie Christensen – vocals
Bob Metzger – guitars, steel guitar
John Bilezikjian – oud
Bob Furgo – keyboards, violin
Tom McMorran – keyboards
Steve Zirkel – bass, keyboard, trumpet
Steve Meador – drums, electric drums

Download Leonard Cohen At Royal Albert Hall 1988

The Files:

Sound quality is rated “Very Good.” The recording is stereo and the 320 kbps MP3 files are available for download directly from the site, thus avoiding the need to enter codes, decompress the files, or deal with the hassles of services such as Rapidshare. The files are also tagged (correctly, as far as I can determine) with the name of the song, the artist, and “Leonard Cohen – London 1988” listed as the album name. Only the cover art, available on site, need be added post-download.

The artwork incorporates my own home-brewed graphic (shown below) created in 2009 when this bootleg was available from a different site but lacked cover art.

This bootleg can be downloaded at Roio – Leonard Cohen – London 1988


Note: The description of this download was originally posted Dec 24, 2009 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric


  1. Does the 1988 photo of Leonard Cohen remind anyone else of Mickey Rourke in Diner (middle photo) and in 9 1/2 Weeks (right)?


This Time It’s Official: 1988 Leonard Cohen Austin City Limits Concert Is Back Online


Leonard Cohen On The Air In Austin

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. []

Video: TV Broadcast Of Complete Leonard Cohen San Sebastián Concert – 1988

sansebThe 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. The first segment of the video comprises a Leonard Cohen interview taped at San Sebastian.

Update: This broadcast, sans interview, is now available without the subtitles, at Video: Watch Complete 1988 Leonard Cohen San Sebastián Concert TV Broadcast – Without Subtitles

Musicians: Leonard Cohen, vocals, guitar, keyboards. John Bilezikjian, oud. Bob Furgo, keyboards and violin. Tom McMorran, keyboards. Steve Meador, drums/electric drums. Bob Metzger, guitar, steel guitar. Steve Zirkel, bass, keyboard, trumpet. Perla Batalla, vocals. Julie Christensen, vocals.

Leonard Cohen San Sebastián Interview & Concert
May 20, 1988


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Leonard Cohen & Philadelphia Orchestra Account For 803+ Carnegie Hall Appearances – Both Leonard Cohen Shows Were Sell-outs

Carnegie-hall-isaac-sternBrowsing through her music magazine of choice, Barron’s, Mel Joss came upon this reference to Leonard Cohen in the concluding line of Breguet’s Debut at Carnegie Hall by Christiana Cefalu (Barron’s: Feb 8, 2013), an article about a newly installed centerpiece clock in Carnegie Hall’s Morse Lobby. I’ve placed the Leonard Cohen reference in bold print in this excerpt:

The just installed clock was modeled after the pocket watch of the 18th century firm’s own founder,  Abraham-Louis Breguet. It has a backlit bright white dial and a one-minute tourbillon, a cage that rotates to counter gravity, at six o’clock.

So next time you’re on a break from listening to Leonard Cohen or the Philadelphia Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, look up and appreciate the clocks ticking down the intermission.

Dr Heck Note: While we’re always happy to see our favorite the Canadian singer-songwriter receive positive mention in the press, the pairing of his Carnegie Hall concerts with those of the  Philadelphia Orchestra is a tad odd.  Here’s Dr Heck’s fun fact of the day:  While the Philadelphia Orchestra has returned to Carnegie Hall over 800 times since their first appearance in 1902, Leonard Cohen has appeared only thrice – once each in 1979, 1985, and 1988.

Credit Due Department: Photo by Wholtone – Own work, Public Domain, via Wikipedia

Note: Originally posted April 22, 2013 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric