Leonard Cohen World Tour: Best Audience Gifts – Roses At Lisbon, Auckland, & Las Vegas

lc with rosesstem

Everybody talking to their pockets
Everybody wants a box of chocolates
And a long stem rose
Everybody knows

~Everybody Knows by Leonard Cohen

The Leonard Cohen Rose Parade Continues

This is the third post in the Heck Of A Guy Leonard Cohen World Tour: Best Audience Gifts series.1 The first such post was Leonard Cohen World Tour: Best Audience Gifts – Boxing Gloves & Stethoscope At Colmar.

Because roses have been almost ubiquitous audience gifts throughout the Leonard Cohen World Tour, the second series post, Leonard Cohen World Tour: Best Audience Gifts – Roses At Katowice And Nashville, and today’s entry cover the same category, namely Rosa berberifolia.  The featured concerts today are Auckland, Lisbon, and Las Vegas.

Stopping To Smell The Roses In Auckland

Noelle McCarthy, writing for the New Zealand Herald, describes what happened offstage to roses hurled toward Leonard Cohen during his performance at the Vector Arena in New Zealand2:

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.

Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May3

Leonard Cohen gathers nearly all the roses thrown or placed onstage by the audience with care, grace, and respect that borders reverence. The following example, which takes place during his 2009 performance of So Long Marianne in Lisbon, 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

The Las Vegas Rose Garden

There are many more examples of Leonard Cohen’s responses to flowers laid (sometimes literally) at his feet, but the final entry in this Roses For Leonard series is the obvious one – the stage floor at the final Leonard Cohen World Tour Las Vegas concert.


Credit Due Department:

The photo of the  marvelously glitzy, unmistakably Las Vegas Leonard Cohen sign is from Gwen Langford’s (aka musicmania at LeonardCohenForum) Leonard Cohen, Caesars Palace 10/12/10 Gallery. The photo of Cohen tipping his hat in Lisbon is from the  July 31, 2009 issue of Diário IOL (photographer unnamed).

I have been unable to trace the source of the photos of the New Zealand billboard promoting the Leonard Cohen World Tour or the roses strewn across the Las Vegas stage. If anyone would identify the photographers, I would be appreciative.

  1. Leonard Cohen World Tour: Best Audience Gifts is an ongoing Heck Of A Guy series reliving some of the 2008-2010 shows by spotlighting the most interesting, oddest, most moving, funniest, most dramatic, … offerings contributed by audience members at one or more of the Leonard Cohen World Tour concerts. []
  2. Backward glance to simply joyous night. Noelle McCarthy, New Zealand Herald, Jan 31, 2009 []
  3. Yes, I realize that linking Leonard Cohen’s activities to Robert Herrick’s poem title, “Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May,” creates a certain cognitive dissonance, especially given the poem’s subtitle, “To The Virgins, To Make Much of Time.”  It may help to consider it obscured irony. []

4 Responses to Leonard Cohen World Tour: Best Audience Gifts – Roses At Lisbon, Auckland, & Las Vegas

  1. and Madrid Allan! I gave him red roses in Madrid and I will never forget his eyes saying Tank You!

  2. Next time maybe….sigh.

  3. Gwen aka musicmania

    And if it wasn’t for Eva’s rose in Katowice I’d have never being able to take my all time favourite photo as it was the only rose that night!

  4. I commented in haste to this post before seeing the other one. Great posts as always Allan x