Saturday, April 4, 2009
Concert Review: Leonard Cohen at Nokia Theatre in Grand Prairie (April 3)
Leonard Cohen sings and recites to an intimate setting at Nokia Theatre Friday night.
Friday night, Nokia Theatre was transformed from a mid-sized, 6,000 capacity venue, to an old-school jazz lounge. With the mezzanine closed and the blue lights low, the ambiance was set for a night dedicated to songwriting legend Leonard Cohen.
The crowd was an interesting mix, several of them clad in hats; the signature Cohen fedora among the majority of them. But regardless of what adorned their heads, one and all gathered to hear the famous prose put to music. Immediately as the show began, the surprises followed suit. The star of the show (well into his seventies) was skipping lightheartedly onto the stage to welcome his fans and begin his three-hour presentation.
Playing many old favorites right from the start, each attendee was reintroduced to the raspy bass that makes up Cohen’s one-of-a-kind vocals. The stage was dressed with long, understated curtains, several area rugs, and instruments- both traditional and obscure. Throughout the evening, sounds would come from the likes of a bassoon, mandolin, harp, and an unidentifiable electric clarinet. Throughout his two set show, Cohen sang and read poetry, while intermittently doodling on several instruments. As intermission ended, the frontman started the second half playing what he comically deemed a “sophisticated keyboard.” This sarcastic statement was just one of many during the night, as yet another surprise was realized- this guy has a sense of humor too!
The second set featured many of the tunes from Live in London- Cohen’s first release since 2001. "Suzanne" and "Boogie Streets" were among them, the latter he explained, was co-written by backup vocalist and producer Sharon Robinson. During each number, Cohen’s eyes were closed and his fists clenched, often bending on one knee. Each song was an opportunity to share just a little bit of himself- and he had to make them all count.
The latter half of the show also included perhaps the most familiar Cohen tune - one that has been covered time and time again. And though the most popular version is likely the courtesy of Jeff Buckley, the song took on new meaning hearing it from its original source. There was a greater understanding of what the illusive "Hallelujah" meant to Cohen when he wrote it over twenty years ago.
After the multiple encores ended and bows were taken, the house lights came up and the masses went their separate ways, each of them taking a small piece of Cohen’s musical poetry along for the ride.
This story was submitted by a member of the Pegasus News community.
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