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Live in London

OAP releases best live album ever?

Rating: 10 / 10

Jackie Hayden, 24 Apr 2009

Cohen’s concert in Kilmainham last summer was for me, a veteran of such affairs, one of the best ever. The man had for too long been stereotyped as the ultimate purveyor of bedsit morbidness. But he confounded such silly notions by turning out to be humorous, playfully self-deprecating – a true poet and prophet of the age.

Live In London is a fitting 2-CD memento of a tour that many foresaw as a wake of sorts, a fond farewell to an ailing soldier (Field Commander Cohen, as his 1979 album called him) but which instead turned out to be a triumphant, spiritual reaffirmation of the power of music to lift the human spirit. And with his resonant voice in extraordinary condition after 73 years, he breathed renewed life into such impeccible songs as ‘Who By Fire’, ‘In My Secret Life’, ‘Everybody Knows’, the hopeful, martial menace of ‘Democracy’ and the sheer exuberance of ‘Closing Time’.

Cohen raised special cheers with the line “I was born with the gift of a golden voice” in ‘Tower Of Song’, and repaired the damage done to ‘Hallelujah’ in recent times. The Canadian says he has studied many religions but that “cheerfulness kept breaking through”. It’s that blend of the zen poet and laconic wit that makes this album an extraordinary aural document.

Key track: 'Everybody Knows'

Rating: 10 / 10
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