Last October I saw Leonard Cohen in concert for the first time. Having listened to his music for years, pored endlessly over his lyrics and actually cried watching a video of him singing on my little iphone screen, I did know that seeing him live was going to be a big experience. I even treated myself to an expensive ticket, pretty sure it would be worth it. And still I was shocked by how moving he was. 78 years old and I got the feeling that he’s so in love with life, that, now that he knows there’s not so many years left for him, he’s trying to suck as much of the nectar as he can hold. His voice has gotten so low, and he drops to his knees so often, it’s like the earth is fighting to reclaim him and he just won’t go. And the music, and those impossible lyrics, are so deep and rich and full of pragmatic mysticism and to see their source, this little old man, giving them up with so much generosity and love was, well, humbling and energizing past anything I’ve ever gotten from a live performance of anything. I left feeling that if this crazy world, so full of war and destruction, could also produce Leonard Cohen, maybe everything would be ok after all.
I say all that because he’s coming back to the Bay Area. March 2nd and 3rd he’ll be in Oakland at the Paramount Theater. If you already liked him before this awkward little tribute, or if I’ve piqued your interest at all, go. This tour will not last forever.