Since Leonard started touring in 2008, this is the third time that he has come to Oakland’s beautiful Paramount Theatre, and this was my third time seeing him there. With each return, it seems like Leonard and his band are enjoying themselves even more, if that is possible, and it’s contagious! The show on Sunday night was the best ever – the most passionate, the longest, and most FUN. During Closing Time, people started dancing in the aisles and Leonard and the band seemed to love it – like it was contagious for them as well. They came back for 3 encores, playing until just before midnight.
As for meeting Leonard, I feel so fortunate – and meeting this extraordinary man truly is an “experience.” It’s hard to put into words. The man is so gracious and kind and my extreme nervousness evaporated with his calming presence. I was so grateful to have the opportunity to thank him in person for everything – the music, the poetry, the tours.
He was so humble – and thanked me too. Then he was kind enough to sign my denim jacket – while still on my back. Imagine – a Sharpie-massage from Leonard Cohen – an experience I could have gladly “tolerated” for several more hours. 😉 He took notice and seemed to really enjoy that I had a patch from the 2009 tour on the back of my jacket, and then took his time to do a beautiful job of signing his name above. [DrHGuy Note: Readers first saw that jacket in 2009: Esther Park’s DIY Leonard Cohen Tour Jacket]
I gave him a hug and his angel of an assistant, Kezban, took a photo of us. After we said goodbye, I watched the two of them leave and walk down the street. This is the image I keep remembering and love the most – Leonard Cohen walking down a Berkeley street through the rush of students and homeless people. Strolling along in his long black trench coat which is beautiful up close. Just as is he – beautiful, both inside and out.
The photo atop this post was taken by Kezban Özcan. The shots of the Oakland Paramount Theatre marquee and of Leonard Cohen walking away with his assistant, Kezban Özcan, were taken by Esther Park.
Note: Originally posted Mar 9, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric