Cohen: Who's Goin'?

It's not too late, and if I were you, I'd click on the Harbour Station website, or the Moncton Coliseum link, and grab a couple of the last tickets for the Leonard Cohen concerts this week. He's playing Saint John tonight (Monday, Apr. 15) and Moncton Wednesday. Seriously, you won't regret it in the least. I've rarely heard such uniform praise from concert-goers, reviewers, and previous non-believers, of all ages, all over the world. And even you lucky few who got to see him five years back on his first comeback tour, when he played the far more intimate Fredericton Playhouse and Capitol Theatre in Moncton, will want to consider that the show has changed, with new songs from his latest disc, and an even longer running time.

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Cohen played Saturday night in Halifax, and as expected, the reviews are all strong. Here's what my friend Meghan Scott had to say: "At the spry young age of 78, Cohen delivered almost 4 hours of hits at the Metro Centre on Saturday night with only one short break. In the spirit of his humility and the utmost grace, he spent much of the evening singing on his knees, but kept the mood light, joking about his age. As he literally skipped back on stage for all three of his encores, his boyish grin suggested he might not be ready to retire just yet. We hope to see you again soon Leonard."

Almost four hours. Three encores composed of seven songs, a total of thirty numbers altogether. This is Springsteen-length. Heck, it's more than Springsteen most nights. True, Bruce is still sliding on his knees and running much of the time, and Cohen's on his knees, but we're talking a very full evening. To top it all off, his latest, Old Ideas, either topped, or was near the top of almost every list of the best albums of 2012. He's doing six numbers from it in his live show, and most veteran bands, have trouble fitting one or two new songs into a set list, without annoying the audience. 78, and the guy's got it made as a performer.

I think the most amazing thing I felt at the Cohen concert I attended last tour was the admiration from the audience, and how it was reflected back by Cohen. Having spoken to him in the past, he is genuinely humble and deeply appreciative of the love from the crowd. There is a sense of peace over the whole show, a spell that unites the crowd and the musicians, something very rare in these hectic times. I know I'm repeating myself from several other posts, but I don't believe I've ever seen a better concert. I mean, what else would be better on a Monday night? Oh, I think there's a Friends rerun on...

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About Bob Mersereau

Rockin' BobBob Mersereau has been covering music, and the East Coast Music Scene since 1985 for CBC. He's a veteran scene-maker at the ECMA's, knows where the best shows and right parties are happening, and more importantly, has survived to tell the tales. His weekly East Coast music column is heard on Shift on Radio 1 in New Brunswick each Wednesday at 4'45. He's also the author of two national best-selling books, The Top 100 Canadian Albums (2007) and The Top 100 Canadian Singles (2010).

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