Leonard Cohen’s 2010 Back Injury & Sharon Robinson’s Sick Leave

76 Year Old, Post-Back Injury Canadian Icon, Leonard Cohen, Sprints Onto Stage

Posting the above heading and photo, taken by J..S. Carenza III at Tui Arena in Hannover, Germany Sept 27, 2010, elicited two medical questions from fans.

1. What back injury?

In Feb 2010, Leonard Cohen, who was scheduled to perform a European tour in March, announced that as a result of a compression injury in his lower back he suffered while exercising, those shows would be delayed by six months while he underwent a four to six month course of physical therapy recommended by his physicians.

Cohen’s manager Robert Kory issued this statement:

Doctors have confirmed that Mr Cohen is otherwise in terrific shape, thanks to years of exercise and careful diet, and simply needs appropriate time to recover from the lower back injury.

At that point, Mr. Cohen has played 191 sold out shows around the world since his return to the stage in May 2008.

2. Where is Sharon Robinson?

Sharon Robinson is indeed absent from the photo. Flu symptoms and an ear infection caused her to miss the last concerts of the recently completed European leg of the Tour and, resulted in her early return home to recuperate. In Sept 2010, Sharon, who was MIA from the Caen, France concert, wrote me that

I’ve come down with the flu. I’m hoping to be back on stage very soon.

On September 25, 2010, J.S. Carenza posted

Morning in Paris. Seeing Sharon off to to the airport. Then back on the train to Lille for load-in. [emphasis min]

I asked Hattie Webb about dealing with Sharon’s absence. She wrote

There are some adjustments on the vocals, a shift of parts and arrangements.  Focusing on keeping our two voices in close harmony in 3rds versus having spaces of fifths and sixths.

We miss Sharon every concert and look forward to being back together as a three for New Zealand.

On Sept 29, 2010, Sharon Robinson posted this on her Facebook page:

Hi Friends,

Many people have inquired about my absence from the concerts. Basically, a stubborn flu turned into an ear infection. Nothing terribly serious, but enough to cause me quite a bit of difficulty in doing the show. I was unable to resolve it on the road, so we thought it best that I take a break, get the proper care at home, and re-join the tour for the next leg.

My sincere thanks to everyone who has expressed their concern and sent their good wishes. I’m already feeling better and can’t wait to get back out there! See you in New Zealand!2

Sharon

Then, on October 26, 2010, J..S. Carenza III  posted this photo (I superimposed the yellow oval) showing Sharon Robinson returning to her place, alongside the Webb Sisters, backing up Leonard Cohen as the Unified Heart Touring Company prepares for the October 28 Auckland concert.

The caption follows:

Rehearsal day one and the band’s all here.

________________________

Leonard Cohen Back Injury References:

Photos: Leonard Cohen – “A Real Gentleman” At Ease In London Ontario 2009


These photos were taken May 23, 2009 in London, Ontario by Bill Birtch, who writes about the event:

Leonard Cohen was playing the John Labatt Centre that evening. I was on my way downtown for a coffee and passed by Scotts Corner, a small bar on the main street, and as I rolled by (I use a power wheelchair to get around) I realized that I’d just passed within a few inches of Leonard Cohen.

My first thought was of my camera which I’d neglected to grab on my way out the door. I stopped down the street a ways and called my daughter, also an avid photographer, to tell her of my find but she was unable to get away to take advantage of this opportunity. So, I continued on, had my coffee and headed home after an hour or so. Much to my surprise Mr. Cohen was still sitting on the patio of the bar.

I stopped briefly, said “Welcome to London.” He thanked me, at which point I decided to rush home, grab my camera and come back, a 20 minute round trip, in the hopes that he would still be there.

Obviously, and much to my delight, he was. I caught the eye of one of his companions, a band member I believe, and held up my camera with a questioning look on my face – my way of asking permission to take some shots. He nodded so I snapped a dozen or so shots from a distance of a three of four meters.

At one point Leonard looked at me and removed his glasses to accommodate my picture taking. When I was done I nodded, mouthed the words “Thank you” and returned home to process my images.

I should add that he was most gracious and accommodating to people who stopped to talk, a real gentleman.

Note: The description of the first shot in the above series (the photo of Cohen with his glasses in hand) included this explanation: “The lighting was less than ideal so it took some serious photoshopping to come up with this.”

Note: Originally posted Jan 6, 2012 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Photo: 76 Year Old, Post-Back Injury Canadian Icon, Leonard Cohen, Sprints Onto Stage

.. to perform So Long Marianne at Tui Arena in Hannover, Germany Sept 27, 2010. This exactly right photo taken by J..S. Carenza III. Originally posted Sept 29, 2010 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Note: Information about the back injury referenced in the title can be found at Leonard Cohen delays Europe tour after back injury (Reuters: February 6, 2010)