April 17, 2009 | For the people fortunate enough to see Leonard Cohen on his current national tour, as I did Monday night at Oakland, Calif.’s Paramount Theater, the world is a bigger, deeper, older, more bitter and radiant place. Every Cohen performance is an epic event. And in his three-hour-plus performance, part of his first tour in 15 years, the great songwriter, poet and novelist once again used his powerful body of work to create, for one night, a theater of his life, a public confession so intimate, complex, combative and profound that it felt as much like prayer as performance. At the end of the evening, as the audience floated out, still transported to whatever unknown inner place his words and music had carried them, you could almost feel a palpable sense of collective gratitude that such artistry still exists in a weary world – that Leonard Cohyen is still around.
I mention this not only as a longtime fan of this man (in 1967, a cool English teacher at our high school brought in a CBC film on the mesmerizing young poet) but because this coming Sunday I drive up to Vancouver to gather up my splendid daughter and some friends I’ve known since earlier than ’67 for dinner and then Cohen’s concert. Yummy.