The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

LEONARD COHEN
Wednesday 24th November 2010
ME Bank Stadium, Perth Western Australia

 

Dusk slid itself over the crowd like a blanket on this magical Spring Perth night, and Leonard Cohen’s band slid straight into the seductive beauty of ‘Dance Me To The End Of Love’, instantly transfixing the midweek, largely middle aged crowd.

 

This night was never likely to rival his last visit West – lying on the grass at a winery in the hills on a sunny evening is the perfect way to experience this poetic man of letters.

 

 

Tonight, however, we are inner city, stadium bound, and suffering a bar full of mid strength beverages priced at a Sultan of Brunei level, and stallholders circle the seating like blood-hungry sharks with prices to match.

 

Despite this, one thing remains standard – Leonard Cohen is an incredible poet and any concert he performs transcends mere music. This is a spiritual, transcendental experience that sees more than a few tears shed around the grounds as the night goes on.

 

“I don’t know when we’ll pass this way again, but tonight we’ll give you all we’ve got” states the maestro on this, the last night of his Australian tour – and they do over the next 3 and a quarter hours, with a scant twenty five minute intermission.

 

Cohen’s band proves their worth by giving so much room to their 76 year old trilby wearing boss’s husky, deep, at times almost whispered and always instantly recognisable voice, yet still leaving no doubt of their own immense abilities.

 

Night gave itself up eventually during ‘Everybody Knows’, and Cohen delivers a magnificently impassioned version of this classic track.

 

Cohen somehow has the ability to make everyone in the stadium feel as though he is singing just to them, such is his unique passion for every word and every note, not to mention his ability to make even the most sordid lyrics sound beautiful and beguiling.

 

And with ‘Anthem’ this sprightly and dapper man skips joyfully offstage, the coffee and toilet queues stretch for miles, yet the bar is relatively unpopulated – and no surprise at these exorbitant prices!

 

The second half is just as magical as the first, with – ironically – only his most famous song – ‘Hallelujah’ - falling flat, smothered with too many intrusive backing vocals.

 

With ‘Take This Waltz’ he skips offstage again, leaving a thrilled audience in awe at a remarkable talent, and those of his troupe.

 

The incomparable Webb sisters featured on encore number ‘If It Be Your Will’, harp, guitar & angelic voices proving commanding for this showcase track.

 

Cohen channels heavenly words and emotions, and a sense of inexcusable beauty, and he’s back again for a third encore – this time the classy ‘I Tried to Leave You’.

 

Maybe we’ll never see the maestro again in our town – but when he stops touring we will have lost an irreplaceable one of a kind. Cohen said at one stage what an honour it is to play for us, but there aren’t many who were here who would disagree that it’s been a privilege to watch and listen to the maestro on this magical night..

 

Shane Pinnegar

Dance Me To The End Of Love
The Future
There ain’t No Cure for Love
Bird On A Wire
Everybody Knows
Who By Fire
The Darkness
Chelsea Hotel
Waiting For The Miracle
Anthem

 

Tower of Song
Suzanne
Avalanche
??
The Gypsy’s Wife
Hallelujah
I’m Your Man
1,000 Kisses Deep (poem)
Take This Waltz

 

First We Take Manhattan

 

Famous Blue Raincoat
If it Be Your Will
Closing Time

 

I Tried To Leave You