Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Leonard Cohen at the Chicago Theatre

It's been more than 15 years since Leonard Cohen played Chicago, and I was fortunate to grab two tickets only 1/3 back -- through a preview buy as a "fan." You know how it often can be to sit through live music that isn't quite up to par to a band's CDs? Quite the contrary with Leonard Cohen's show.

His musicians, singers, sound system, lighting and, of course, Leonard himself drove the entire occasion above and beyond the recorded disc -- a spectacular experience that pushes Cohen's legendary quality to the forefront, in a friendly way, and makes his 70-plus years just a side grin, which even he occasionally pokes fun at. But what other guy his age can get down on his knees over and over and rise without effort, sing for nearly three hours and dance off stage a couple of times between curtain calls?

Dressed in pork-pie hat, backed by six musicians (including Spanish guitarist Javier Mas) and three female back-up singers (one who is collaborator Sharon Robinson, as well as the two Webb sisters, who cartwheeled between numbers), Leonard Cohen brought forth beloved lyrics such as "dance me through the me to the end of love;" "it was the shape of our love that twisted me;" "everybody knows the boat is leaking, everybody knows the captain lied;" "I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel;" "we are so lightly here, it isn't love that we are made, in love we disappear." ◦

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