How To Determine If You Are At A Bruce Springsteen Or A Leonard Cohen Concert

The ONLY1 Internet Guide To Solving The Classic Cohen – Springsteen Conundrum

With the start of the Leonard Cohen 2008 World Tour fast approaching, it becomes increasingly urgent to publish the special supplement to the A Leonard Cohen Primer: The Not Too Big, Not Too Little Pyritic Book Of Leonard Cohen, How To Behave At A Leonard Cohen Concert, in hopes of preventing the kind of faux pas that can cause not only acute humiliation or disappointment but could also mar ones social standing and self-confidence – and possibly go on ones permanent record.

As an introduction to this guide, I will present a problematic scenario of the sort all too likely to occur during the Tour and then provide a few clues for recognizing this situation in order that the concert-goer can take whatever corrective action may be necessary.

The Concert Scenario

You are somewhat uneasy upon noting that the words and tune to Leonard Cohen’s “Dance Me To The End Of Love” don’t seem to be exactly like you remember them but comfort yourself with the knowledge that Cohen has been known to continue revising songs for years after they are first published and that, as his voice has changed over the years, the arrangements of some numbers (and his guitar tuning) have shifted. Heck, he’s even been known to forget the lyrics to his own songs when he was younger.2

Still, something doesn’t seem quite right.

If it then appears that Leonard Cohen has pulled a girl from the audience and is dancing with her on stage, you should be aware that there is at least a moderate chance that you’ve somehow ended up at a Bruce Springsteen concert and that the song isn’t “Dance Me To The End Of Love” but “Dancing In The Dark.”3

Take a close look at the singer. Which of the performers pictured below does he most resemble – the individual on the left or the one on the right?

If the singer on stage tends to look more like the guy on the left – well, my friend, you may indeed  be watching Bruce Springsteen, New Jersey rocker, rather than Leonard Cohen, Canadian crooner.

Not that there is necessarily anything wrong with that.

But you can see how it might be a tad awkward.

Which is why Heck Of A Guy offers …

The  Guide To Distinguishing Between Leonard Cohen and Bruce Springsteen Performances

Not everyone can afford those $825 tickets for seats within sight of the stage.  Therefore, as a public service for folks in the third balcony SRO section, I offer these clues to help recognize – as early in the concert as possible – which of my favorite Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members, both of whom have tours planned in 2008, they are watching:

  • Born in the USA: Bruce Springsteen
    Born with the gift of a golden voice: Leonard Cohen
  • Countin’ On A Miracle: Bruce Springsteen
    Waiting For The Miracle: Leonard Cohen
  • Sherry Darling, Rosalita, Maria (or Maria’s Bed), Janey, Gloria, Mary Queen of Arkansas, Bobby Jean: Bruce Springsteen
    Marianne, Suzanne, Bernadette, Nancy. Jane: Leonard Cohen
  • I’ve seen the future of rock n’ roll, & its name is Bruce Springsteen: Bruce Springsteen
    I have seen the future and it is murder: Leonard Cohen
  • Sings about a State Trooper: Bruce Springsteen
    Sings about the Jazz Police: Leonard Cohen
  • 10th Avenue: Bruce Springsteen
    Boogie Street: Leonard Cohen
  • Tell ‘em all they can kiss our asses goodbye: Bruce Springsteen
    Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye: Leonard Cohen
  • A wedding coat and a union card on ones nineteenth birthday: Bruce Springsteen
    A famous blue raincoat with a tear at the shoulder: Leonard Cohen
  • Ain’t nobody talking ’cause everybody knows: Bruce Springsteen
    That’s how it goes / Everybody knows: Leonard Cohen
  • Bird on a wire outside [his] motel room:4 Bruce Springsteen
    Like a bird on the wire: Leonard Cohen
  • Kisses that burn or Kisses that used to turn [one] inside out: Bruce Springsteen
    A Thousand Kisses Deep: Leonard Cohen
  • Jesus Was An Only Son: Bruce Springsteen
    Jesus Was A Sailor: Leonard Cohen
  • South Side sisters [that] sure look pretty: Bruce Springsteen
    Sisters of mercy [that] are not departed or gone: Leonard Cohen
  • Maybe we ain’t that young anymore:5 Bruce Springsteen
    Well my friends are gone and my hair is grey
    I ache in the places where I used to play
    :6 Leonard Cohen
  • I’m On Fire: Bruce Springsteen
    Who By Fire: Leonard Cohen
  • Hungry Heart: Bruce Springsteen
    Heart With No Companion: Leonard Cohen
  • Glory Days: Bruce Springsteen
    Morning Glory: Leonard Cohen
  • The Boss: Bruce Springsteen
    The Poet: Leonard Cohen
    The Lord Byron Of Rock ‘n Roll: Leonard Cohen
    The Bard Of The Boudoir: Leonard Cohen
    Grandson Of The Prince Of Grammarians: Leonard Cohen
    Master Of Erotic Despair: Leonard Cohen
    Master Of Romantic Despair: Leonard Cohen
    High Priest Of Pathos: Leonard Cohen
    Poet Laureate Of Pessimism: Leonard Cohen
    Grocer Of Despair: Leonard Cohen
    Prophet of Despair: Leonard Cohen
    Poet Laureate Of Commitophobes: Leonard Cohen
    Bard Of Bedsits: Leonard Cohen
    Dr. Kevorkian Of Song: Leonard Cohen
    Beautiful Creep: Leonard Cohen
    The Ladies’ Man: Leonard Cohen
    Beautiful Creep: Leonard Cohen
  • Collaborates musically and romantically with woman who was his backup singer and who has her own album:

Well, never mind that one

  1. At time of publication []
  2. See The Man Who Wrote Suzanne A Hundred Years Ago []
  3. There is also the chance that it is 1984, when Bruce used to do the dancing with the girl from the audience thing, but you get the idea. []
  4. We would also accept, “The early bird catches the fuckin’ worm” []
  5. Written when Springsteen was 24 []
  6. Written when Cohen was 54 []

0 responses to “How To Determine If You Are At A Bruce Springsteen Or A Leonard Cohen Concert

  1. This post is the jewel! Nothing to add, except one:

    “I’m sittin’ down here in the campfire light / Waitin’ on the ghost of Tom Joad”: Bruce Springsteen
    “Now the flames they followed Joan of Arc / As she came riding through the dark;”

    But these are two verses pieces, don’t suit. ;)