Saturday, September 22, 2012

LEONARD COHEN (London Wembley Arena, 09/09/12)

Due to a heavily-undersold second night at Wembley Arena (well, what do you expect if the cheapest tickets are £74?), the promoters decided to give away thousands of free Leonard Cohen tickets on the day of the gig. Hence I unexpectedly found myself seeing the legendary singer-songwriter perform what turned out to be one was undoubtedly one of the best shows I've seen in a very long time. Cohen freely admits that he only returned to touring after his ex-manager screwed him out of his fortune, but unlike his contemporary Bob Dylan, there's absolutely no sense he's phoning these shows in – indeed, his energetic showmanship would be impressive from someone much younger than his 77 years. For over three hours he left the audience spellbound, unleashing hit after hit with his superb backing band, and although I wasn't previously au fait with his material, his gloriously gravelly bass voice and wonderful turn of phrase made me an immediate fan. An absolute joy of a performance, and if he ever returns to these shores, I think I'd be more than willing to shell out the ridiculous prices he charges to see him again.

(Photo: John Gleeson)

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