Leonard Cohen: in the zone

Posted By on November 6, 2009

The cover of Cohen's newest live disk.

The cover of Cohen's newest live disk.

Weird to think of “Leonard Cohen Live in London” alongside “Allman Brothers at Fillmore East,” but both are paradigms of the live album, capturing artists at the peak of their powers. Cohen’s was recorded in 2008 when he was 73, near the start of his nearly two-year-long tour; the American leg this fall was his first U.S. go-round in 15 years. Recorded with startling and warm fidelity, this set lasts more than three hours, covers the Canadian poet’s repertoire dating to the mid-‘60s, and finds the man in glorious instrumental company. Sharon Robinson, his long-time collaborator, shines on “Boogie Street” and Cohen turns “Democracy” and “First We Take Manhattan” into dark disco anthems, also investing such chestnuts as “So Long, Marianne” and the ravishing “Suzanne” with vigorous, autumnal color. Over the years, Cohen’s voice, which early in his singular career was so affectless he couldn’t convey the full import of his words, has become a deeply expressive baritone, and his lyrics, which dwell on sin and salvation, paradise and Armageddon, have become ever more meaningful. At 75, Cohen, that stylish mystic, is in the zone, the Clint Eastwood of rock ‘n’ roll.

For more Leonard Cohen music, click here.

Audio CD (March 31, 2009)
Original Release Date: March 31, 2009
Number of Discs: 2
Format: Live
Label: Sony


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