Cohen at Rod Laver Arena - 10 February 2009
Night of Tasteful Music and Beautiful Vibes
was excellent; all of them master musicians, especially the delightful
Javier Mas, who played a variety of interesting ethnic instruments. They
were an essential component in what was evening of extremely tasteful
Very spry and dapper in his grey suit with fedora, Cohen put many a 50 year old to shame with his liveliness and indefatigability. He had no trouble rising gracefully from a crouch and skipped off stage with the sprightliness of a schoolgirl.
The three hour show covered the whole gamut of Cohen's back catalogue, and if there were no real highlights it was because every song was executed perfectly, Cohen's ragged baritone coupled with the angelic vocal harmonies of the Webb sisters and Sharon Robinson, making each song its own best version. This included the much covered Hallelujah.
I realised, listening to Leonard Cohen singing his songs, how witty many of them are - a far cry from his early reputation for writing songs to slit your wrists by. Cohen in person comes across as a warm and humorous individual of immense charm.
A generous soul, Leonard Cohen, introduced his band not once but twice through the evening, with warmth and reverence for their musicianship. It was quite a contrast to Ryan Adams who acknowledged his band in his recent concert in a cartoon character voice.
He also paid to tribute to the Victorian bush fire victims - he has joined with Frontier Touring and Paul Kelly in donating $200,000 to the appeal. He also expressed appreciation for his Australian audiences, stating that his sojourn on these shores had been wonderful, though, understandably considering his age (74), he didn't make any hard promises about returning.
So was the concert worth the price of tickets? Absolutely! As many have fervently averred, it was one of the best concerts I've been fortunate to witness.
Mention must also be made of the short but excellent opening set by Paul Kelly. Certainly, it was a higher quality opening act than the Clip Clop Club at the Ryan Adams concert.
Me to the End of Love
Review and photos by Anne Sydenham