- 09 Oct 13
The first half of Cohen’s performance simmered along nicely, without ever really coming to the boil.
The first half of Cohen’s performance simmered along nicely, without ever really coming to the boil. The stage, filled with colours, shadows and silhouettes, certainly looked the part; Cohen’s band were on form, most notably the great Spanish guitarist Javier Mas, whose intro to ‘Who By Fire’ was truly, and I mean truly, haunting. This one remarkable moment apart, the first half seemed light on the brilliance we have come to expect from a Leonard Cohen show.
However, after a 20-minute interval, the gig came alive in the second half. Crowd favourites ‘Suzanne’ and ‘Chelsea Hotel No. 2’ were both in their own way godly, holy portrayals of womanhood. Leonard then went on to make a claim for the title of greatest poet alive today with his beautifully articulated, spoken intros to both ‘Alexandra Leaving’ and ‘One Thousand Kisses Deep’, both aching with poetry, the beauty of which was captured superbly in his deep baritone voice.
As the set developed, it got better and better. It is a measure of Leonard’s innate courtesy and egalitarianism that each one of his nine-piece ensemble was afforded the space to illustrate their virtuoso talents. ‘I’m Your Man’ and ‘First We Take Manhattan’ were brilliant as always. But really it was during ‘Famous Blue Raincoat’ – a powerful tale of love and deceit – in the second encore that, in the darkness of the theatre, Leonard found his sixth gear and made this a night, which will live long in the collective memory.
‘Closing Time’ signalled the end. ‘I Tried To Leave You’ marked it, with Cohen waltzing out of our lives the way he always does, with a smile and an exaggerated skip.
Hopefully, he’ll make another journey to an island which has fallen in love with his music. To quote the man himself: “I’m not quite ready to hang up my boxing gloves just yet... but let’s just say, I know where the hook is.”