Sat, 31 Jan 2009

Leonard Cohen Concert (28/01/2009).

[Leonard Cohen]
Photo : Jon Reid (SMH)

I was introduced to the magic of Leonard Cohen's music when I was fifteen years old. I have now been listening to that music for two thirds of my life and on Wednesday night I got to see him in concert at the Sydney Entertainment Center.

Although he is 74 years old, Cohen gave a amazing performance backed by a nine piece band of exceptional musicians. He even played acoustic guitar on a few tracks himself. The first set was an hour long and the second, including encores, was one hour and 40 minutes.

As long time fan, I knew the vast majority of the songs they played and more importantly the favourites were all there; from earlier songs like "Suzanne" through to a large slab of the album "Various Positions" the one I consider to be his best.

Highlights of the evening for me were "Suzanne", "Tower of Song", "Bird on a Wire", "Everybody Knows", "A Thousand Kisses Deep", "Take This Waltz" and "So Long Marianne". The most moving song of the night was a personal favourite of mine, "If It Be Your Will". Cohen started it by reciting the prayer-like lyrics and then handed it over to two of his backing vocalists, the Webb Sisters who completed it. The two women sang beautifully with a sparse backing of acoustic guitar, harp and organ. You can get an idea of how spellbinding this was from the video of a very similar performance at London's Royal Albert Hall.

The day after the concert I googled a bit and found that Cohen has been touring since mid 2008 and that the shows have been receiving close to universally rapturous reviews ( Dublin, Manchester, Italy, Berlin and many many more). Personally I am not surprised. This was a truly inspired and exhilarating performance.

Posted at: 16:34 | Category: Music | Permalink