Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Best Concert I've Ever Seen

Leonard Cohen was amazing Saturday night.

“I don’t know when we’ll be back through this way, so we’re going to give you everything we’ve got tonight.”

And they did, from 8:10 to 11:30, with one 10 or 15-minute break. Moody, atmospheric, sexy, sprightly, and 75 years old. He performed "If It Be Your Will" as a poem, before Sharon Robinson and the Webb Sisters took over and gave us some gorgeous harmonies. It was his third encore. The extremely moving movement was marred by a group of women at the top of the seating area who were used to the hockey games at Bank Atlantic Center. They were shushed, hushed, screamed at, and heckled on numerous occasions, but they could not stop blathering drunkenly on about nothing. They could not shut up long enough to allow beauty in. They will miss all the lovely things life has to offer and die confused, fearful, and angry.

Leonard Cohen did another poem, A Thousand Kisses Deep. He is a world-class writer. I have a blog. Still, the stab of jealously over that refrain, repeated in his trademark rumble, a thousand kisses deep… I want to have written that line. It perfectly describes being consumed by love, and in only three words.

His music is so complete, so fully-formed, it’s like it’s being drawn from the air. It was odd seeing a man on stage. I was glad for the distance, so he could still remain more force than person. He is also undeniably a man. “You handled me like meat,” he said, “you’d have to be a man to know how good that feels, how sweet.” He is vulnerable and sensitive without being weak, he is weak without being cowed, he is lustful without being vulgar, he is funny without being glib. Seeing him live has long been a dream. That concert fed my soul. I wanted to waltz into the night.

I would be remiss if I didn’t thank JC and Laura Moya for bringing me with them. Laura’s brother-in-law gave them seven passes to the ADT VIP lounge. Rather than inviting me and three other friends, the Moyas gave me four tickets to invite whoever I wanted for my birthday. I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve friends like them, but I’m grateful. The Moyas have been supportive and loving, as everyone has been during this difficult time in my life.

I survive, and thrive, by the grace of those close to me. Daily, their generosity of time, spirit, and warmth humbles me.

It’s the cracks which let the light inside.


  1. Hullo AJC,
    I saw Leonard Cohen in Glasgow last year and as a lifelong fan had the same reaction as you. It was just the best concert I have ever been to. All the better as it was actually a fairly small venue and we were only about 50ft from the man himself.

    I was amazed at the energy of the man. His presence was all the more powerful too for his humility. He was very engaging and spent lots of time talking. His band was individually very special too. It was a perfect mix. I understand what you mean about the works all being fully formed and pulled from thin air.

    I too walked away feeling that my life was better for just having been there. More than a simple entertainment.

    I'll never forget it.

    Cheers for bringing the memories to the fore again this morning. As a result I found myself and my lovely G reminiscing while I drove her to the railway station this morning.


  2. Hullo again,

    Typical, so busy reminiscing forgot to say....

    You should take care of friends like that. What a gift. Not about the money, more the moment, cos if they knew you then they must have realised what saturday would mean to you.

    Bloody fantastic!


  3. Leonard Cohen was indeed a good time. So glad we helped you scratch one fantasy off your list! We love you too.


  4. Beautiful... and thanks for the link at the end.

  5. I read a lot of breakdowns of his concerts after I posted this and found many similarities. I'd pay top dollar to see him again.

    I find my circle of friends reforms every few years. When you're younger, you think every night will be fun with a group of people you love. As you age, you realize it isn't, but when it happens you really step back and savor those moments.

    Thanks for reading, folks.