I keep playing the Leonard Cohen I’m Your Man DVD lately, and have also finished Sylvie Simmons’s biography of Leonard Cohen, also taking the title of his “I’m Your Man” song.
If you know nothing of Leonard Cohen, you should probably start with his 2008 concert in London and DVDs of earlier performances, such as Bird on a Wire, which is another excellent documentary.
This DVD is as much about discovering Leonard Cohen the songwriter in a new light as it is about discovering some very talented musicians you may never heard of or may know too little of. There’s Rufus and Martha Wainwright (Rufus, a friend since childhood of Lorca's, Leonard Cohen's daughter, had a daughter with her in 2011), Nick Cave, Julie Christensen and Perla Batalla (who accompanied him as backup singers on some tours), the wonderful Antony, whose performance of “If It Be Your Will” I had discovered accidentally, sisters Kate & Anna McGarrigle, Linda and her son Teddy Thompson (who is quite amazing: I’m showing a video below), Jarvis Cocker, Beth Orton, The Handsome Family, and, well, Bono and U2.
This is definitely a must-see video for Cohen fans, but what’s wonderful about it is that you don’t need to know anything about Leonard Cohen to enjoy these pretty amazing musicians and music which is both Cohen’s and theirs. As Cohen says about the Wainwrights, they “really bring [his] music to life.” The same is true, I feel, of all the musicians in the tribute concert filmed for this DVD.
There's a DVD documenting his 1972 tour. He has trouble performing on some occasions there, for various reasons. I think his career, just as his spiritual development, is one long struggle.
Mira, Have there ever been any concerns about Leonard Cohen giving an "off" concert? I'm not aware of any, and it would surprise me if that ever has happened because he seems so present, so completely in the present moment, note by note, in his presence onstage.
I think he commented somewhere that he really wanted to be "just" a poet, but he couldn't make a living that way, so he became a poet singer-songwriter. I agree that his appearing comfortable and vulnerable at the same time, open to the audience while also in touch with something higher, can't be easy. Also, when he tours, the schedule of concerts can be exhausting because of the timeframe alone.
Mira, Leonard Cohen comes across very comfortably in public performances, which is amazing because he also conveys a certain vulnerability. In his private life he seems to be reclusive, so it must require amazing inner resources for him to transition into a public arena and to do so with such an endearing, unassuming style.
That's how I perceive him, too. Thank you for your words!
Mira, From what I've seen, Leonard Cohen has incredible stage presence, and his demeanor is impressively appreciative and unassuming. Humility can be so attractive when it is genuine.
One of a kind.
Growing old looks good on him.
Thank you for stopping by, Tolovaj. I'll be writing more articles on him ;-)
He is a living legend. Thanks for this presentation.
Maybe he'll tour again. He's in great shape (and his Buddhist teacher Roshi is 106!).
The 2008 concert looks like it's one I ought to have been at, given my fixation with Tower of Song and Hallelujah (only Cohen or Buckley versions, no one else!)