I loved the concert. Cohen made an arena feel like a small club. When the first encore performance began the band seemed to settle into a 'jam session' feeling that made me wish it were a real jam session and they'd just keep going, getting hotter and looser, past midnight and into the wee hours of the morning. At the same time, I had to ask myself how much more we, the fans, could expect from 'the lazy bastard in a suit' who had promised, at the beginning of the show, that he and his band would give us everything they've got. Well, we did get two fantastic encores and a brilliant show.
The set list was eclectic and satisfying, the musicians (including his "angels") outstanding, and Leonard's performance was perfect.
I too take exception to the subtitle of the review in the Ottawa Citizen, which was written by Lynn Saxberg and titled "Cohen refuses to get old." Saxberg wrote a glowing review without a single criticism, however the subtitle was "Legendary artist wows crowd with near-perfect show." It struck me as peculiar to refer to a "near-perfect" show when the actual critic wrote about a perfect show.
These titles and subtitles are not written by the reporters/reviewers and I suspect Saxberg may not have been pleased, either. Every once in awhile something really is perfect and there's no shame in a critic saying so, even if Leonard himself might disagree: "there is a crack in everything/that's how the light gets in."
If there was something imperfect about the show it was the heat in the arena. Gasp! I had to take off my stingy fedora because sweat was dripping from my brow. Likely, because there's a hockey strike in Canada, the concert floor was not covering ice, as it usually does, and that may have been why the temperature was incredibly high.
I also noticed in the other Ottawa newspaper article posted on this forum (I forget the name of the paper and I'm no longer in Ottawa, but anyway . . . )that Cohen was quoted as saying he looks in his mirror and says, "Lighten up, Leonard." What he actually said was, "Leonard, for chrissakes lighten up." Much funnier! If the reporter didn't want to risk actually putting "for chrissakes" (or for Christ's sakes) in the paper (which is dumb, considering the stuff that does appear in daily papers these days) he should have written it like so: "Leonard . . . lighten up." Nit picky, I suppose, but a reviewer's job is not to rewrite what the performer said, it is to accurately quote what was said.
This may have been my last Cohen concert (of 2, although I'm happy to say I attended the night when Cohen was inducted into the Glenn Gould Hall of Fame earlier this year.) My sister, who hadn't seen Cohen before (and paid for our tickets) was starting to freak in the car on the way to the concert and I told her, "Relax, things don't go wrong where Leonard's concerned. The last time I saw him in concert he arrived on stage at the same time I got to my seat, so we both got a standing ovation." This is precisely what happened this time, as well.
It looked like real trouble after the concert when she discovered she'd lost her keys. While she reported to the lost and found, etc. I was able to shop for merchandise and pick up a silk scarf for her, as we were celebrating our own little Christmas the next day. She was told to go to the car and see if the keys were in it. If not she'd have to call a cab. So we walked to the car. I noticed a few sparkly things on the ground and said, "What's that!" only to have it turn out to be a tin can or an empty foil bag. But she was ahead of me, approaching her car, while I followed, eyes to the ground and found the keys. I picked them up. In retrospect I should have pressed the button to turn on the headlights but all I did was start shaking the keys,like jingle bells, and say "Here they are!" On the drive home I reminded her, "Nothing goes wrong where Leonard's concerned."
The last time I saw him, Massey Hall, when he first started playing Canada again after a decade of playing Europe only, I knew I was going to meet him after the concert and was crestfallen when it didn't happen. I was busily working out the fact that we'd won the tickets, it was a great concert and actually no-one had promised I was going to meet the man, when my then husband nudged me and jerked his head to his right. Leonard was walking right along with us. When we got to the lights we waited for the walk sign and John said, "Leonard, it's so good to have you back." They shook hands, John introduced himself and me. I, who had practised all day so as to have interesting and intelligent things to say "when" I met him blurted, "Leonard, I love you."
The light changed, Leonard walked on ahead, looked back over the shoulder and gave us the thumbs up.
I didn't expect to meet him this time, nor did I hang around hoping to. I knew it wasn't my turn.
The next day, at our little Xmas celebration, I told my sister if she hadn't lost her keys I wouldn't have been able to surprise her with the blue silk scarf she absolutely adored.
Nothing goes wrong where Leonard's involved. It's not my doing, that's for sure. He is: humble, gracious, lithe, a poet, a musician, a point of pride for Canada and a man gifted with a golden voice that just gets better the older he gets.
He won't live forever but I pray to G_d that he lives for a long, long time. Of course, his music and words will live forever.
p.s. I totally blew my freelance writer's budget on merchandise. I will sell my program, which I believe is the same as the program sold in Europe ("Old Ideas" cover, tons of great pics, stickers (!), cheesecake shot of Leonard) for $50.00. If interested, let me know.
writer of contemporary women's erotica, 3 novels with Black Lace, numerous short stories published in anthologies. Screenwriter with short film and TV credits.