An article from Tampa Bay Online
http://www2.tbo.com/content/2009/oct/20 ... -breaking/
"Leonard Cohen commands stage
The 75-year-old Leonard Cohen performed at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center's Carol Morsani Hall before a sold-out crowd of 2,590.
By CURTIS ROSS | The Tampa Tribune
Published: October 20, 2009
TAMPA - With his trim dark suit and a fedora pulled low over his eyes, Leonard Cohen looked less like a poet and singer-songwriter Monday night, more like a veteran song-and-dance man working the boards.
But what song-and-dance man ever entertained us with such terrible truths: "Everybody knows the war is over/Everybody knows the good guys lost." "I've seen the future, brother, it is murder."
Maybe it was for Cohen, whose literary and recording careers scream Art with a capital "A," to acknowledge that the poet is an entertainer, too.
The 75-year-old Cohen fulfilled both roles admirably Monday night at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center's Carol Morsani Hall before a sold-out crowd of 2,590.
(The show, originally scheduled for the St. Pete Times Forum, began while several long lines of patrons still were waiting to get their tickets at Will Call windows.)
The show closely followed the one captured on this year's "Live in London" album, even down to the stage patter, with some changes.
But the similarities made sense given the subtle theatrics of the show, particularly the way the recitation of "A Thousand Kisses Deep" served as the pre-encore climax.
For a performer who has never troubled the Top 40, it was amazing to recall how many of his tunes are familiar to even the casual fan, either through his own versions, remakes by other artists, or their use in films and television.
"Hallelujah" is the most obvious of these, remade by Jeff Buckley, appearing on the "Shrek" soundtrack, even turning up in the repertoire of an "American Idol" hopeful. Cohen and his excellent band played the song as gospel-soul, stripping away the hymnal qualities of Buckley's version.
"The Future" and "Everybody Knows" formed a dystopian tag-team early in the first set, leavened by Cohen's mordant humor. He began "Bird on a Wire" on his knees, possibly to emphasize the song's prayer-like quality, or possibly just to show that his 75-year-old joints still are limber.
The second set began with "Tower of Song," one of Cohen's funniest numbers. The line "I was born with the gift of a golden voice" never fails to get a laugh.
Cohen always has used his limited voice to his advantage, and it's attained even more gravity over the years. His low notes Monday night ventured into didgeridoo territory.
A lengthy set of encores covered most of the remaining bases, including "Famous Blue Raincoat" and "First We Take Manhattan," finally closing with "Whither Thou Goest."
Cohen's excellent band featured his sometimes songwriting partner Sharon Robinson, along with the Webb Sisters, on background vocals; Roscoe Beck on bass; Neil Larsen on keyboards; Bob Metzger on guitar; Javier Mas on a variety of stringed instruments including badurria and laud; Rafael Gayol on drums; and Dino Soldo on woodwinds."