Gracious, That's Leonard Cohen


A Tale Of Roses, Stethoscopes, Boxing Gloves, Polka-dot Blouses, A Great French Restaurant, Icons, Leonard Cohen, And, Most Of All, Graciousness

This story requires, the way I tell it, significant elaboration (at least two posts worth), but those readers who wend their way through my baroque prose to the end will, I believe, find their efforts well compensated.

As one might expect, given the preceding introduction, some background is required.

lc with rosesstem

The War Of The Roses

At the November 5, 2009 Leonard Cohen concert in Nashville, bridger15 placed a rose onstage.

Everybody Knows – The Fate Of The Long Stem Rose At The Leonard Cohen Nashville Concert is the account of what happens to that rose.

From bridger15 posting at LeonardCohenForum: At 1.25, LC [Leonard Cohen] picks up a long stem rose with attached small flags of Canada, US and the State of Tennessee that I had placed on the stage apron prior to the beginning of the song. LC places it on the drum riser as he often does with gifts.

The video below automatically begins at 1:25.

Leonard Cohen, Nashville TPAC, Nov 5, 2009, Everybody Knows

Video from bridgebud

From bridger15 posting at LeonardCohenForum, I Tried to Leave You: At 5.20, Raphael starts his solo and fails to catch one of his sticks. Roscoe Beck presents him with my long stem rose that LC had placed on the drum riser earlier.

The video below automatically begins at 5:20.
Leonard Cohen, Nashville TPAC, Nov 5, 2009, I Tried to Leave You

Video from bridgebud

Next, The Roses Of Leonard Cohen offers the report by Noelle McCarthy on the fate of roses hurled onto the stage occupied by Cohen at the Vector Arena in New Zealand1:

After one of his [Cohen] approximately 36 encores, a woman in the front row reached under her seat and threw a bunch of flowers at Leonard Cohen (he got knickers as well I think; obviously I am not the only one who believes he’s still Got It). Off he skipped away, off stage, carrying the lovely bouquet with him.

I was sitting in a spot where I could see into one of the wings, and I watched him there, on-side of stage, pause, and bury his nose in the flowers. Leonard Cohen literally stopped and smelled the roses. And then came back and did what seemed like another 10 encores, and sent us all home happy, feeling more like members of a particularly blessed, joyous, literate congregation than punters at a gig.

Watching him do that did more for my resolve to get what enjoyment I can out of life, while I can, than any self-help manual ever will.

There are many more examples of Leonard Cohen’s responses to flowers laid (sometimes literally) at his feet, but for now I’ll end this series with an episode that deserves a far more elegant appellation than the one I’ve cavalierly provided: The Leonard Cohen Moonwalk With Rose Sequence (the video starts just before the pertinent sequence):

Leonard Cohen – So Long Marianne (Lisbon 2009)

Video from albertnoonan

Not Just Flowers

For the record, other materials are also bestowed on Leonard Cohen – boxing gloves and stethoscopes, for example:2


The sequel to this post will begin with another rose offered to another musical icon – with profoundly different consequences – and will end with an episode of classy but tender graciousness. Stay tuned.

  1. Backward glance to simply joyous night. Noelle McCarthy, New Zealand Herald, Jan 31, 2009 []
  2. For full story, including names of culprits, see Video Of Boxing Gloves, Stethoscope, & Monkey Sequence At Leonard Cohen Colmar Concert []

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