I’m just back from witnessing Leonard’s generous and inspiring performance at the nib Stadium in Perth. This performance, which I am sure I will be writing much more about over the coming day or so, was as close to perfection as I think I have witnessed at a Cohen concert … and I don’t say that lightly. It was a combination of factors that made it a great night. Leonard was in rare playful form, everyone in the band was giving their absolute top-notch performance — including Leonard on guitar, who I thought reached deep down and pulled out something special for this last show.
There was a definite sense that this was Leonard’s thank you to Australian and New Zealand audiences who have greeted him so warmly throughout the whole tour … and the Perth audience were the ones privileged enough to enjoy the thank you gift.
There were a couple of very notable features of this concert (everything else will have to wait for the full report);
1. Still no Sharon … I guess she’s probably already back home in LA by now
2. Readers of my reports will know that I have been tracking the changing introduction that Leonard gives to Rafael during Anthem. You know, the bit about “laying it down and bringing it home.” This has been evolving over time … and has really chronicled a changing relationship between Rafael and “it” (whatever it is). Initially the relationship was simple enough, then he started clipping its toenails … and for one show he clipped its fingernails. More recently again, Rafael was “feeding it warm milk.” Well, tonight we got the shocking conclusion to the dramatic tale of Rafael and “it”. Tonight’s intro:
“A sculptor of silence. Laying it down, bringing it home, putting it to bed, clipping its toenails, smothering it with a pillow, going to jail, joining the Aryan Brotherhood, later converting to Judaism, later losing his faith, spending the remainder of his days working in a half-way house for destroyed vegetarians … the Regent of Restraint, the Prince of Passionate Precision, Rafael Bernado Gayol!”
3. The stanzas that Leonard recites during A Thousand Kisses Deep don’t really change much. I noted a while back that a couple of extra lines snuck into one or two performances. But tonight we had several different lines being substituted … in fact a complete different ending to the poem. Everything was as per the version normally performed, right up until the second iteration of the lines about “his second-hand physique”, after that the rest of the recital was:
Don’t matter if the road is long
Don’t matter if it’s steep
Don’t matter if the moon goes out
And the Darkness is complete
Don’t matter if we lose out way
It’s written that we’ll meet
At least that’s what I heard you say
A Thousand Kisses Deep
At least in my little world of following Leonard’s concert performances (maybe yours too?), these last two variations of the normal performance are HUGE news!