Leonard Cohen Extraordinary In Venice


2009 Leonard Cohen Venice Concert Venue - Piazza San Marco

Presenting Piazza San Marco & A Leonard Cohen Lookalike

I couldn’t end the coverage of  the Venice concert without posting the engaging shot of the venue, Piazza San Marco, taken by Eija Arjatsalo, who, fortuitously for the Heck Of A Guy Leonard Cohen Doppelganger Database, also captured a shot of the winner of the Leonard Cohen lookalike contest (see photo below).


The Special Quality Of The Leonard Cohen Venice Concert

I am happy to find my  impression that Leonard Cohen seemed more commanding and energetic than usual in the Venice Concert,1 an assessment garnered solely from three YouTube videos of songs performed during the show, is congruent with the comments posted by Tom Sakic, an especially  knowledgeable Cohen fan who attended  the Venice show after seeing other World Tour concerts as a basis for comparison, at LeonardCohenForum:

I don’t know what happened in Venice on Monday, but above the “usual perfection” (that sounds horrible) of the band and Leonard’s standard superb delivery, there was something in the air, at least when Leonard himself was in question.

Already at the public soundcheck at 6pm he appeared completely in victorious mood (he said “Give them a show!” when he saw how many people gathered for the soundcheck, and teased us with new song about The Darkness), while on the show he was in complete command, always few steps before the band and the singers, even little self-ironic in its easiness.

Commanding his own voice to incredible deepness as never before (the voice is deeper after the flu he got at the Weybridge) – and doing that with the voice consciously; his body on the invisible strings commanded by somebody above doing its own show; kneeling not only on the first verses of each song but now spending the whole songs on the floor; looking for The Angel’s instructions (the golden statue of an angel on the top of the St. Marco tower) in Ain’t No Cure for Love, Tower of Song and So Long Marianne; and with small turns in delivery of some lines and words (every line was lived through), the Venice show launched itself among the best show Cohen ever gave, reaching its even higher highs on the encores, with the whole St. Mark’s Square standing with hands in the air and singing out loud So Long Marianne and the chorus verses of Manhattan and Closing Time.

Cohen waved on few occasions to crowds of young people hold up by security in left and right corner of the stage (the barrier broke down on the encores so those fans where leading in the singing along), going to both corners of the stage to greet them (probably seeing what’s happening). I enjoyed their solemn and touched smiles and faces while waving to Leonard all the time.


Cohen Venice concert stage (photo by Marco Dolfino)

Thus for now; I don’t know what happened there – the band was really happening, Sharon stormed the stage and touched the golden string in a capella/gospel part of Boogie Street (leaving the audience, at least where I was sitting, in utter amazement), Javier Mas almost killed us not only with prolonged intro to Who By Fire but bleeding his heart out on all his strings as loud he could manage (and it was loud!), half-standing above his chair.

Maybe it was Venice, maybe it was Piazza St. Marco – but Leonard himself appeared very keen & ready, and although I cried through the show in Lucca, which was also energetic and loud as this one (but it was my first), and I saw Royal Albert Hall (which appears completely academic when compared to the Italian shows) in its immaculate perfection, the show in Venice showed what means when Leonard Cohen is literally taking a city. And – unlike the mix of the Live in London CD/DVD – it sounded as it should be – very loud but still clear, every musician being in his/her own tour de force, and every word from Leonard’s lips transparent.

Tom goes on, referring to “So Long Marianne”

This video tells it all – just how I remember it was! Loud and everybody singing and Leonard totally ready to take Venice!

And, he’s right.

Leonard Cohen – So Long, Marianne (Venice 2009)

  1. For example, from the Heck Of A Guy post, Leonard Cohen Swings, Skips, Romps Through “Closing Time” In Venice:
    We Having Fun Yet?
    Leonard Cohen’s performance of “Closing Time” in Venice is outstanding. He is confident and in full control, he sings well, and – most significantly – he looks like he’s having fun. []

3 responses to “Leonard Cohen Extraordinary In Venice

  1. Glad the water was down…such a lovelyplace

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