***** (of *****)
Dance me to the end of, erm, the Greenwich Peninsula
Had X factor been years earlier in jump-starting the fortunes of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah - resulting in tidy royalties from three versions scaling the singles charts to varying heights - the song's writer might never have played this wonderful show at the O2 Arena. He's gone on record saying he was swindled out of close to $5 million and needed to beef up his pension fund, so the 73-year old staged his first tour for 15 years.
It's unthinkable now to entertain the notion of that tour not happening. Out of financial necessity came a truly stunning series of concerts, including this mesmerising performance from last July, one of the most talked-about in the capital in long time. The ease and power with which Cohen revisited 26 of his greatest songs over two-and-a-half spellbinding hours left all who saw it awe-struck.
He looks great for a septuagenarian, sharp-suited with dark fedora on greying temples, like a veteran spy in a John le Carre novel. The gravel voice caresses every number with tenderness, punctuated by a nifty line in comic patter, at one point listing the medications, philosophies and religions which failed him because "cheerfulness kept breaking through". Live DVD of the year. no contest.