Why The 2008 Leonard Cohen World Tour Is Opening In Fredericton

The Playhouse – Fredericton, NB

Tomorrow In Fredericton – The Leonard Cohen World Tour

Leonard Cohen inaugurates his 2008 World Tour tomorrow (11 May 2008) at the Playhouse in Fredericton, NB, a venue which, according to Wikipedia, has a capacity of 709 (469 orchestra seats and 240 balcony seats).

Fredericton Skyline

Fredericton Skyline

The city of Fredericton, also according to Wikipedia, is located in eastern Canada (see map below) and, in 2005, had a population of 50,535.

The Question: Why?

In Is It The Leonard Cohen 2008 Tour Or Is It A DrHGuy Parody?, I implied that it was difficult to distinguish between the first stops on the Cohen Tour (which, at that time, included Glace Bay, Halifax, Charlottetown, Moncton and St. John’s) and a parody of that concert schedule.

Indeed, why would the first concerts take place in a relatively isolated geographic area and in much smaller venues than those scheduled during the rest of the Tour (e.g., Toronto, Dublin, Manchester, Montreal, Oslo, Amsterdam, Rome)?

[Note: Perhaps everyone except me knows the answer to this question, but if so, I can’t find an explicit reference to the point. So, for now and until someone points out the documented explanation to me, I’m going to proceed as though it is a mystery.]

Possible Reasons Why Leonard Cohen’s Tour Begins In Fredericton

  • Leonard Cohen lost a bet.
  • The tour really is a DrHGuy parody that got way out of hand.
  • Cohen’s booking agent is from Fredericton and he wanted to show up the girl who wouldn’t go to prom with him.
  • Leonard Cohen’s singing is actually a means of passing coded messages for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. (That his singing turns a profit was a happy bonus for the Service) Holding concerts in these locations limits the number of outside infiltrators.
  • Cohen scheduled Fredericton and similar tour stops just to mess with DrHGuy’s head.
  • “Fredericton” means “Chicago” in Canadian.
  • According to rumor, at closing time in Fredericton, the women tear their blouses off & and the men they dance on the polka-dots.

DrHGuy’s Best Guess Why The Leonard Cohen Tour Opens In Fredericton

First, it appears significant that the small venues are at the first of the Tour. One also notes that extensive rehearsals by Cohen and his band have been reported.

Given that Cohen is working on a new album with a significant portion of the concert playlist coming from that collection of new work and that at least two of the backup singers (The Webb Sisters) haven’t worked with Cohen before, my bet is that the Cohen Tour opens in Eastern Canada for the same reason a musical comedy opens off-Broadway or in the Poconos – to work out the kinks and polish the performance before moving it to Broadway – or to bigger stadiums.

Fredericton is Leonard Cohen’s off-Broadway.

Unless it’s not.

0 responses to “Why The 2008 Leonard Cohen World Tour Is Opening In Fredericton

  1. As a Leonard Cohen fan who lives in this small venue I have to tell you that you are off the mark. This is the heartland of his fans – perhaps it owuld be helpfol iof you were to travel here – you would instantly understand what Leonard already knows about the heart and soul of the people that live in these small venues in Eastern Canada – by the way – the 5 shows in halifax sold out in about two hours – it is estimated that another 20 would have sold out had they staged them – so much for off broadway.

    Howdy Anonymous –

    As a Leonard Cohen fan who lives in an even smaller venue – if this were a venue – I can tell you that I may be off the mark but not for the reasons you list. (For what it’s worth, I think Eastern Canada sounds dandy and would love to travel there – or almost anywhere. Alas, I have to drag my family with me so my journeys are quite limited these days.) I don’t recall writing anything that would contradict your thesis that Leonard Cohen gets all warm and fuzzy thinking about Halifax and surrounds. As far as I can determine, Cohen is genuinely fond of almost all his concert sites, especially the Canadian locations. My only point was that there might be a specific reason that the Tour opened with a series of venues that happen to be among the smallest currently scheduled.

    That Halifax sold out five times or fifty times over is, I suggest, irrelevant or supports my perspective. Lots of off-Broadway theaters sell out – even if the production is horrid – because sometimes those places have meager entertainment sptions. Now, I don’t think that’s the case with Cohen concerts in Eastern Canada.

    But nothing in your comment makes me doubt my original hypothesis: that one reason Cohen’s Tour is opening in those cities is to try out the new show. I rather think that would be an honor rather than the insult you seem to think it is. Oh, and next time, please include your email or some identification. I typically reject Anonymous comments out of hand but I didn’t want you to feel any more put upon.

    Finally, whatever the reasons, Leonard Cohen is appearing in your area and not mine. Heck, I’m the one who should be complaining. Enjoy the show.