This video from the August 14, 2012 Leonard Cohen Ghent concert is, as far as I can determine, the first (and at this time, the only) recording available online of Leonard Cohen’s first live performance of “Banjo.”1 Happily, its merits extend beyond being a rarity; this video offers a high quality audio track and a visual aspect marred only by occasional shakiness.
The video, it should be noted, focuses on the actual onstage performers rather than the huge telescreens on either side of the stage.
This is not to say that photos and videos that prominently target a telescreen cannot be effective. The impact of the shot below, for example, derives from the image on the telescreen echoing and magnifying the simultaneously visible view of Leonard Cohen onstage.
And I’ve enjoyed many performance videos exclusively and, because of the setting, necessarily comprising telescreen views. I do hold, however, that something is lost in the transfer from directly viewing a performer to viewing a projected image of that performer.
Leonard Cohen – Banjo (Ghent Aug 14, 2012)
Video by Tim Dale
Leonard Cohen – Anthem (Ghent Aug 14, 2012)
Unlike “Banjo,” “Anthem” is represented by several videos from the Ghent concerts. Nonetheless, both recordings, by the same videographer, share similar production values.
Video by Tim Dale
- Update: I’ve just discovered a second video of “Banjo,” uploaded August 17, 2012 from the August 15, 2012 Ghent concert, at Banjo – 15 Aug 2012. Consequently,while the video featured in this post is the first video of the first live performance of “Banjo” (uploaded August 16, 2012 from the August 12, 2012 Ghent concert), it is not, as was believed at time of posting, the only recording of a live performance of “Banjo.” [↩]