June 16, 2008
A Tower Of Song
So our trip east to see my new nephew Avery in Nova Scotia, and Leonard Cohen in Toronto, was a total creative rejuvenation. A five-day whirlwind, the most I could take after blowing our vacation wadge in Portugal, was punctuated by seeing one talent at the top of his game, and another one just starting out. I'll break it into chunks over the days to come, starting here, with Mr. Cohen.
Growing up with both parents as fans, and having a wife who in all likeliness would step over my dead body to meet him, I've always been a silent admirer. I appreciate any musician at the talent level of Mr. Cohen, regardless of genre, so to witness a rare live performance was worth any toil of diving deep into downtown Toronto to experience it first-hand. And to do it among thousands of devotees waiting 15 years – or for some, possibly their entire lives – to see him perform, made the experience even sweeter.
A former co-worker of mine who sings in a band, said the secret is to surround yourself with better musicians. This would be the same for Mr. Cohen; he is not The Voice, even if his growl is a defining characteristic, but his words – pop stars take note – are the stars of the show, and his bandmates excelled at framing them. And then every once in awhile he surprised, opting to read verses instead, or in finding the perfect tune to accent his vocal range. Mr. Cohen's œuvre – the legacy, decades in the making – was on full display, and his surprising physical spryness made the evening more of a party than anyone likely expected, fuelling the fire that yeah, maybe he will drop by again one day.