krewechief wrote:by request
If It Be Your Will
how did you hear my prayer krewechief?
First he took Toronto
By JANE STEVENSON
For over two-and-a-half-hours on Friday night at the Sony Centre, Leonard Cohen was our man.
Charming, funny, poignant, smart, sharp and sexy, -- yes at 73, decked out in a grey fedora, grey shirt and black double-breasted suit he is still a lady killer -- the Montreal poet-singer-songwriter easily seduced a sold-out crowd during the first of four back-to-back shows at the venue which wrap up tonight (some tickets are still available).
And that was no easy feat given he is touring for the first time in 15 years -- "I was a 60-year-old kid with a crazy dream," he quipped of the last time he was on the road.
Friday night's show was previously billed as the kick-off of his world tour, but in reality Cohen and his nine-piece band of master musicians and singers have been touring small venues in Atlantic Canada since the middle of May.
He opened on Friday night with his classic Dance Me to the End of Love, and the songwriter's songwriter, inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year by Lou Reed, kept the gems from his lengthy repertoire coming --The Future, In My Secret Life, There Ain't No Cure For Love.
While never a great singer, his deep, rumbling voice has only improved with age, in terms of his recital of words -- a poetry reading of A Thousand Kisses Deep towards the end of the show was so powerful you wanted to weep openly. (Well, maybe if you were a girl.)
And the standouts of the night possessed genuine passion and flair -- Bird On a Wire, Everybody Knows, Who By Fire, Tower of Song (which featured Cohen playing keyboards in such an elemental fashion that he joked, "You're very kind," after the audience applauded) Hallelujah (which prompted a standing ovation), Suzanne, Democracy, I'm Your Man, Take This Waltz, Waiting For the Miracle, First We Take Manhattan, That Don't Make it Junk and Closing Time.
As for his backup singers, the lovely Sharon Robinson and sisters Charley and Hattie Webb, provided a warm bedrock onto which Cohen placed his low, sexy register and the innocent flirtation between him and the trio of women was fun to watch.
For example, as Tower of Song was winding down, Cohen begged the three singers to keep singing. "Don't stop. Don't stop. That's what I want to hear. That's all I want to hear," he said.
Often he sang directly to them and made Robinson his duet partner on Boogie Street, or let the Webb sisters take over completely and beautifully on If it Be Your Will.
He was also gracious to his band, taking off his fedora whenever someone performed a solo and introducing them to the audience numerous times.
Special mention should be made of Javier Mas on bandurria, laud, archilaud and 12-string guitar, and Rafael Gayol on drums and percussion, both of who excelled in their playing and respective solos.
If this is, in fact, Cohen's swansong in terms of being a live performer, there are much worse ways he could go out.
But I'm here to say he still has a lot of life left in him.
Sun Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5
The concert was, in a word, unforgettable. I was awestruck. One of the best concerts I have seen and probably ever will see.leonardmtl wrote: Lastly, could someone tell me approximately what the final words were, when the concert was ending and Leonard was holding hands with Sharon Robinson et al, facing the audience....(just before the statement of "farewell and Peace").... if I am not mistaken, it sounded biblical , and I would love to check out the reference.
Walking into the Sony Centre for Leonard Cohen’s Toronto concert on June 6th people had plenty of reasons to think the show might be a disappointment. The 73-year-old songwriting legend hadn’t performed a single concert in 15 years before this tour kicked off a few weeks back. He’s rarely been seen in public since then, and when he showed up at his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction earlier this year he looked pretty meek and refused to perform. Also, it’s quite clear the only reason he agreed to do this tour was the fact his manager stole nearly all his money during his five years Buddhist retreat on Mount Baldy in California and he needed a nest egg for retirement. Yet, like a master bank robber forced out of retirement for one last gigantic score, Cohen poured everything he had into a stunning performance.
Cohen walked onstage with a nine-piece band promptly at 8:00, wearing a dark, double-breasted suit and a fedora — he looked like he just stepped out of the Dick Tracy retirement home. From the first seconds of “Dance Me to the End of Love” it was apparent that his deep baritone hadn’t deteriorated a bit since the 1993 tour. It’s a far cry from the tender voice that sang “Suzanne” 40 years ago, but he’s sounded husky for a while now and it suits his dark material perfectly. The band — featuring an amazing Hammond B3 organist and his longtime back-up singer Sharon Robinson — re-created the spooky atmosphere of his albums down to the smallest detail.
Cohen played a handful of his 1960s/early-1970s classics such as “Suzanne” and “Bird on a Wire,” but the set list was heavily tilted towards material from the second 20 years of his career. He featured six of the eight songs from 1988’s I’m Your Man, along with five from 1992’s The Future and four from 2000’s Ten New Songs. It was a drag not hearing “Famous Blue Raincoat” or “So Long Marianne,” but the later songs have always sounded better live. A double shot of “Waiting for the Miracle” and “First We Take Manhattan” towards the end of the night were clear highlights and “I’m Your Man” remains one of the horniest songs ever written — though delivered with the class and wit only Cohen can bring.
The biggest applause of the night came in the early part of the second set when he launched into “Hallelujah.” Since his last tour, the 1984 tune has been covered by just about everyone on the planet (including American Idol hopeful Jason Castro) and has become his most famous composition. John Cale, Rufus Wainwright and (of course) Jeff Buckley all managed to eclipse the original, and tonight Cohen sang it like he was trying to reclaim it for himself. The lines “Even thought it all went wrong I stood before the Lord of Song with nothing on my lips but Hallelujah” were belted out with stunning force and conviction. Equally powerful was the title track to The Future, though for some reason “Give me crack, anal sex” has become “Give me crack, careless sex.” “Democracy” took on new meaning during the weekend Hillary Clinton suspended her campaign, and the line “Democracy is coming to the USA” earned huge cheers from the Canadian crowd.
“My friends are gone and my hair is grey,” Cohen sang in “Tower of Song.” He wrote those when he was merely 53, and 20 years later those words are truer than ever. But the Leonard Cohen onstage didn’t seem anything like an old man pining for the past. After two and a half hours, he still returned for the encores with a huge grin on his face. The man may be older than Jerry Lee Lewis and John McCain, but other than the times he sang verses while awkwardly squinting at the ground (presumably at a teleprompter) that was very easy to forget. His touring schedule is brutal (this was night one of a four-consecutive-night stand) and pretty soon he’ll be bouncing around Europe like a madman. When it’s done he’ll probably return to Los Angeles with a dump truck full of money and never perform again. Still, it’s a hell of a way to go out.
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