Cohen crowds the K-Rock

By Michael Green
Contributor

38 years later, Leonard Cohen sings “Hallelujah” like it’s the first time in 1984.

The 78-year-old stopped at the K-Rock Centre last Thursday as part of his acclaimed 2012 Old Ideas tour.

A month ago, Metric had a crowd screaming and jumping on the ground floor of the K-Rock Centre. Meanwhile, Cohen had rows of chairs on the ground floor full of people sitting and admiring his musical talent. Not as loud, but still as fervently excited about the music.

The most noticeable quality of the concert was the respect the audience gave Cohen on what is supposed to be his last ever tour.

There was an elderly couple close to me who would give a standing ovation after every song with huge smiles on their faces, proving that Cohen has earned his status as a music legend with a solid fan base that have stayed with him through the years.

Someone beside me remarked that even though the crowd was sober, everyone was still so completely into the music.

Cohen returned the respect from his fans as well.

When the lights focused on Sharon Robinson, one of the back-up female vocalists on the tour, and she did a solo of “Alexandra Leaving,” Leonard Cohen tipped his hat to her.

While the audience might have been more mature, the concert was not tame by any means. It was the first concert I’ve been to where all the floor seats were filled with older people – it looks as though Cohen wasn’t in any danger of any scandalous flashing happening from his female fans.

He still sang all the frank songs of passion that made him so popular throughout his career.

“You told me you preferred attractive men, but for me you’d make an exception,” Cohen sang to a nameless woman who “gave him head” long ago. That was accompanied by many hoots from the crowd.

“Lover Lover Lover” was the most captivating song of the night and had the crowd singing along to his weathered hands masterfully playing his guitar.

Even though it was full of lyrics imbued with old longing for a lover, there was nothing tired about it.

Leonard Cohen swayed to his own music, and sang the chorus with ease along with his fedora-clad back-up band.

Cohen’s status as a music icon is well-deserved. His love of music is so obvious as he gets down on his knees to sing the majority of his songs. The audience feels every deep emotion along with the singer.

There were tremendous amounts of applause at the end of the show and Leonard Cohen called out, “Where did you guys learn this compassion? Was it taught at Queen’s or RMC?” which only helped inspire more applause.

At the end, I found myself standing along with that same elderly couple giving Leonard Cohen a standing ovation.

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