Saturday, February 16, 2013

Leonard Cohen - Live at The Wang

Picture as seen at
Decked out in his tailored dark suit and signature fedora hat, Leonard Cohen dazzled his audience at the Wang Theatre in Boston on 12/15/12.  A seasoned man of intrigue and intellect, Leonard delivered a landmark performance that can’t be touched. 

He was surrounded by a score of talented musicians who he openly admired several times throughout the night, showing humble appreciation with gentle words, nods, bows, and gestures during their performances.  He also acknowledged every person involved in the production, from the roadie to lighting person, by name.  For a rebel, he is a gentleman. 

The set-list dug deep into his expansive body of work, including songs off his new album Old Ideas.  His songs, rich in verse, often explore a range of philosophies that illustrate powerful, raw, provocative, and sometimes taboo imagery.    He is no stranger to darkness, and he makes no bones about it.  He was also funny, with a self-deprecating sense of humor that slipped in his dialogue between songs.    He would probably make a hilarious stand up comedian.

He received several standing ovations throughout his three plus hours on stage, and there were constant cheers bubbling up from the audience as they identified with his lyrics.  He sang on bended knee during many songs, as if in honor or out of respect.   A simple act that was profoundly moving. 

He started the evening with “Dance me to the End of Love” and worked his way through about thirty songs with one intermission.  He had two encores, the final song obviously being “Closing Time.”   I enjoyed every minute of every song, but give special recognition to: “Amen,” “Bird on a Wire,”  “Tower of Song,” “So Long, Marianne,” “Alexander Leaving” sung by Sharon Robinson (Leonard’s longtime friend and musical collaborator.)   Perhaps one of the most electrifying songs of the evening was “First We Take Manhattan.”   It was as if a flame had ignited and spread rapidly through the crowd.

Poetic and poignant, moody and sublime; that’s the Leonard we know.   As an artist, he does not hold back, he burns with creativity.   He knows what needs to be done, and he goes for it.  He does it with style.  He is 78 years young and is still at the top of his game.  In an industry that is hell-bent on only producing over packaged auto-tuned pop stars, Leonard has risen above the media blackout perpetrated against him throughout the years.  The man’s a mad genius; a troubadour.  I bet he drinks only the finest scotch and reeks of expensive cigars.  

Check out his official website here

Touring Band:

Roscoe Beck - bass & vocal (Musical Director)
Sharon Robinson - vocal
Charlie and Hattie Webb - vocal, guitar, harp
Neil Larsen - keyboard, accordion, brass instruments
Javier Mas - acoustic guitar, oud & misc string instrument
Rafael Gayol  - drums & percussion
Alexandru Bublitchi - violin

Dance Me to the End of Love, The Future, Bird on the Wire, Everybody Knows, Who by Fire, Darkness, Ain’t No Cure for Love, Amen, Come Healing, In My Secret Life, A Thousand Kisses Deep (Recitation), Anthem, Tower of Song, Suzanne, Chelsea Hotel #2, Waiting for the Miracle, Show Me the Place, Lover Lover Lover, Democracy, Alexandra Leaving (performed by Sharon Robinson), I’m Your Man, Hallelujah, Take This Waltz, Encore 1: So Long, Marianne, Going Home, First We Take Manhattan, Encore 2: Famous Blue Raincoat, If It Be Your Will (performed by the Webb sisters), Closing Time.

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