Posted By Carlo on November 1, 2009
I keep running into other lucky ones who attended the Leonard Cohen concert at the Allen Theatre in Cleveland Oct. 25; we all stand in awe (here’s my preview). In more than three hours, Cohen and his amazing troupe of cosmic musicians rekindled my belief, that I’d thought retro, in pop as conveyor of truth. Not that Cohen was dour; far from it. He skipped, he bowed—often beginning his songs as a supplicant, he as frequently ended them a cocky commander—he clearly enjoyed himself. And the songs—“So Long, Marianne,” “Suzanne” (done sturdy and dark), “First We Take Manhattan” (this coulda been a disco hit), the stunning “Waiting for a Miracle”—are among the best.
Cohen’s was one of two concerts (here’s John Soeder’s spot-on review from the Plain Dealer) I saw in the last week by Jewish musicians. Cohen’s was one of the best I’ve ever seen, and that covers hundreds of shows.
The other was by Sophie Milman, a 26-year-old Russian Jew who grew up in Israel and now lives in Toronto. A tiny blonde bombshell whose contralto-alto embodies the airy and the husky, she’s a true torch singer. Milman fronts an excellent band (Diego Rivera stood out on sax), scats like Sarah, and takes over Joni Mitchell’s “Be Cool” for her own smoldering purposes. (Here’s my preview from Cleveland Jewish News). The hottest Canadian import since Diana Krall, Milman is set to explode. Some paintings fell off the wall of Nighttown during her first set; might that have been a sign?