On April 6, 2013, Leonard Cohen performed the first of two shows at Radio City Music Hall in New York. To say his show is amazing is an understatement. Some people treat Bob Dylan as their god of singer/songwriter/poetry, but my god is Leonard Cohen. At age 78, Cohen is not only on a world tour for his latest album “Old Ideas,” but his shows last for over 3 hours! He went on stage approximately at 8:20 PM and ended just before midnight (with one 20 minute break in the middle).
He announced at the beginning of the show (and addressed the audience as “friends”) that he and his band may not be the best and who knows when our paths will cross again, but he promised that they would give us everything they had. Both Leonard and band made good on that promise.
Leonard Cohen performed many of the songs on his knees and generously gave each member of his band a solo or two and was more than happy to share the spotlight as he introduced the band to us many times throughout the night. He has so many great songs with so many great lyrics that you could hear a pin drop in the 5,000 seat venue as he sang. He performed songs such as “Suzanne,” “I’m Your Man,” “Everybody Knows,” “Bird on a Wire,” and the heavily covered “Hallelujah” in his staggering 28 song set! When he recited “A Thousand Kisses Deep,” the audience practically held its breath as he delivered line after brilliant line. The last time I saw him, that was one of the many highlights of the show and once again, it stands out as one of my favorite moments.
To think that his career has seen format in the the way we listen to music change from Vinyl to 8-Track to Cassette to CD and now to digital and streaming, it’s clear more than ever that his music is timeless. Whether singing about asking forgiveness from a lover, taking Manhattan and then Berlin (which received some of the biggest cheers of the night) or democracy coming to the USA, the poetry he uses in his lyrics are beyond inspirational.
If you’ve never seen Leonard Cohen perform, I urge you to check him out on this tour because he will blow your mind.
Mr. Cohen, thank you for an amazing night, one that I will not be forgetting for a long time.
The setlist was: Dance Me To The End of Love / The Future / Bird On A Wire / Everybody Knows / Who By Fire / Darkness / Ain’t No Cure For Love / Amen / Come Healing / Democracy / A Thousand Kisses Deep (recited) / Anthem.
2nd Set: Tower of Song / Suzanne / Waiting For The Miracle / Show Me The Place / Anyhow / Lover Lover Lover / Alexandra Leaving (performed by Sharon Robinson) / I’m Your Man / Hallelujah / Take This Waltz.
First Encore: So Long Marianne / Going Home / First We Take Manhattan
2nd Encore: Famous Blue Raincoat / If It Be Your Will (performed by the Webb Sisters) / Closing Time.