|One of many standing ovations Cohen received during the 3.5 hour show...|
Be not afeard. The isle is full of noises,
Sounds, and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears, and sometime voices
That, if I then had waked after long sleep
Will make me sleep again; and then in dreaming
The clouds methought would open and show riches
Ready to drop upon me, that when I waked
I cried to dream again
(William Shakespeare - The Tempest III.ii.130–138).
Last night I joined a number of privileged people treading this fair earth who have had the fortune to spend an evening with Leonard Cohen.
I pinched myself when I first heard that Cohen, at 79 years of age was not only touring Australia again; but that this time - by some wondrous twist of fate - that my home town of Cairns was to be one of the few locations where he would perform. Finally a life long dream of mine, to see Cohen perform live, was to be realised...
The 'Old Ideas' tour performance in Cairns last night shone forth with mastery, delivered with a generous dose of gratitude and humility. Cohen's voice and stage presence utterly contradicted his age and nothing about this performance in fact seemed 'old'. Songs Cohen must have performed a thousand times or more, such as Who by Fire were sung with such passion, panache and presence that one felt the intimacy and immediacy of every word and note.
The ensemble supporting Leonard was an utterly inspired selection of some of the most outstanding musicians the world can collate, and the combination of their sensibilities with Cohen's left me feeling so elated it was almost too much... This was an evening with musicians at the very top of their game, and with every new song that brought delight, came the knowledge that one was one step closer to the dream's end...
And so it is that today I have found myself in a post LC fog - humming any number of tunes - knowing that the combination of musicians brought together for this series of concerts with Cohen was utterly inspired. I found myself trawling the internet to find clips from other 'Old Ideas' performances with the same ensemble as last night's show, in an attempt to relive and share some of the experience. Thankfully modern technology has indulged me...
Below are five songs that stood out for me last night as highlights, but in saying that - every song shone. What has impressed me has been to listen to each of these songs today and to be able to again experience something of the magic so abundant in the air last night...
For those who have not had the opportunity to experience this incredible collection of people coming together to share such a gift, and for those who were there and who long to hear such 'sounds and sweet airs' again - enjoy...