New & Improved Leonard Cohen Concerts

concertconsult

Dreaming The Impossible Dream – Producing A Concert  Worth What Ticketmaster Charges

To: Leonard Cohen Business Management Team
From: DrHGuy, Ghost Lyricist, Marquee Manager,  & Concert Consultant
Re: Improving Leonard Cohen’s Concerts To  Increase Gross Revenues and Enhance Return On Investment

The Problem

While initially disappointed that you opted to forgo my previous offer to improve Mr. Cohen’s Lyrics, I now see that this choice, its incomprehensibility notwithstanding,  may have been one of those blessings in disguise about which one  hears so many good things.

After attending the New York Beacon Theatre concert, I realized that in Mr. Cohen’s case,  the low hanging fruit that would fall directly to the bottom line, bang for your buck-wise,  lies in modestly altering the content and arrangement of his concerts.

Of course, Mr. Cohen can continue to limp along with a string of sold-out concerts, standing ovations, and positive reviews, but even if he’s  willing to settle for just getting by, what’s  going to happen in 15 years when that next World Tour comes around?

Unless  seeds of interest are sown now in a new generation of concert-goers  and the current fan base is continually nourished, Mr. Cohen may take the stage in 2024 only to gaze upon the ignominy of an empty third balcony seat that Ticketmaster couldn’t peddle even after slashing the price to $17,322.

The Proposal

I’ve included some preliminary ideas to prevent that catastrophe. We can negotiate fees and other details later.

Covers:  Mr. Cohen may not be aware of this phenomenon, but singers performing songs originally sung by another entertainer is quite popular in some circles. Including one or two  such numbers would offer a change of pace in the program. I suggest, however, that the benefit would be far greater if  the cover ties in to the performance somehow.

For example, the first concert of the official US tour is, I believe, in Texas. Imagine, if you will, Mr. Cohen being  joined by Willie Nelson to open that concert with a stirring rendition of “Whiskey River”  (by the way,  does Mr. Cohen still have that buckskin coat because I know Willie has one and the two of them dressed like that would be a hit in Texas), and, at the start of the song, the unfurling of  a massive Lone Star flag  behind – are you ready? – Leonard Cohen and Willie Nelson, The Texas Troubadours.

Makes you want to stand up and cheer – maybe even heave a beer bottle, doesn’t it?

Or, for something less rowdy, Leonard could sing Waylon’s part on “Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love).”

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

There’s only two things in life that make it worth livin’
That’s guitars that tune good and firm feelin’ women
I don’t need my name in the marquee lights
I got my song and I got you with me tonight
Maybe it’s time we got back to the basics of love

Let’s go to Luckenbach Texas with Leonard and Willie and the boys
This successful life we’re livin’ got us feuding
like the Hatfield and McCoy’s
Between Hank Williams pain songs, Newberry’s train songs
and blue eyes cryin’ in the rain, out in Luckenbach Texas
ain’t nobody feelin’ no pain

Now, you can’t   tell me that doesn’t fit. There’s even a nice tie-in with Hank Williams for a segue right into “Tower Of Song.”

Or, instead of tying the song into the location, it could connect with something topical.  Mr. Cohen has been admirably straightforward about money being a major motivation for the current tour because of his fiscal losses due to fraud. Why not take it to the next level?

The audience seemed taken with his performance of “A Thousand Kisses Deep” in a poem format. We could add a second recitation of, say, the 1959 Barret Strong hit that everyone from the Beatles to Paul Revere and The Raiders have covered.

The lights dim except for the spotlight on Mr. Cohen and his back up singers. He gazes soulfully into the audience and, after a long pause, begins the incantation in those deep, raspy tones only he can produce,

The best things in life are free
But you can keep ‘em for the birds and bees;

Now give me money, (that’s what I want)1 that’s what I want,
(That’s what I want) That’s what I want (That’s what I want) yeah,
That’s what I want.

Your lovin’ give me such a thrill,
But your lovin’ don’t pay my bills;

[refrain]

Money don’t get everything it’s true,
What it don’t get I can’t use;

[refrain]

Well, now give me money, (That’s what I want)
A lotta money, (That’s what I want)
Oh yeah, I wanna be free, (That’s what I want)
Oh, lotta money, (That’s what I want)
That’s what I want (That’s what I want) yeah,
That’s what I want.

Well, now give me money, (That’s what I want)
A lotta money, (That’s what I want)
Wo, yeah, You need money (That’s what I want)
Gimme money, (That’s what I want)
That’s what I want (That’s what I want)
That’s what I want.

For comparison, here’s how the Flying Lizards handle the same song.

In fact, it’s hard to go wrong with covering any of the classics such as

  • Build Me Up, Buttercup
  • In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida
  • Yummy, Yummy, Yummy (I Got Love In My Tummy)
  • Louie, Louie
  • Shout
  • Margaritaville

Turning The Excitement Level Up To 11

lenniepalooza3

Yep, I’m thinking Lenniepalooza.

Merchandise

I suspect Mr. Cohen’s presentation is too dignified and, well, I’ll say it – too sophisticated to translate well into traditional souvenirs such as t-shirts.

On the other hand, the audience response to the line, “I’m your man,” led me to the obviously desirable Leonard Cohen retail remembrance.

cohenkissing

Low production price and high consumer demand – a marketer’s dream.

Managed Audience Participation

The problem is that everybody wants to be the one handing roses to Leonard Cohen or calling out songs suggestions to him or yelling “I love you, Leonard” so he’ll respond with “I’m fond of you too.”

What if we stretched the participation model as far as possible by emulating the followers of the  Rocky Horror Picture Show?

rockyhorroraudienceparticipation-gatefoldleftl

publikum_til_rocky_horror_picture_show_-_per_lange

Think about an entire audience wearing fedoras and double breasted suits. There could be batches of sublime Webb Sisters and irreplaceable Sharon Robinsons as well as band member doppelgangers carrying their tenor saxophones, ouds, and other instruments. Think about hundreds of Leonard Cohen wannabes in the crowd. And there would be no reason to limit characters to those working the show that night. Lots of folks are bummed about Anjani not being on the tour but she could certainly be represented in the audience, and the same goes for Perla Batalla, Julie Christensen, Jennifer Warnes, … .

The world’s inventory of blue raincoats would be instantly depleted.

Peer pressure would keep everyone on script.

Just think – Cohen starts with “I was just a kid” and the crowd, in unison, joins in, “With a crazy dream.” And when he comes out for that encore singing, “I tried to leave you,” the audience responds “But we tied you to this table in the Tower of Song.”

Opportunities for props and enactments abound. When the list of  pharmaceuticals begins with “I’ve taken a lot of Prozac, … ,” cascades of capsules would fill the air.

What could highlight the wonderful insight, “There’s a crack in everything, that’s where the light gets in” better than a theater full of flashlights being turned on when that line is sung?
flashlight2

Or, how about “And if you want a doctor I’ll examine every inch of you” signaling the onset of half the audience performing a focused physical on the other half?

Picture the audience flocking to the stage to demonstrate “White man dancing” and “White girls dancing.”

Or, even better, men dancing on polka-dots and women tearing their blouses off.

The mind reels.

Anyway, you get the idea. Have your people call my people.

  1. Parenthetical portions are sung as background by backup singers []

0 Responses to New & Improved Leonard Cohen Concerts

  1. You are a trip

  2. I’ll be there! :)