Tough Love From Norwegian Press For Poet Of Anguish
Leonard Cohen fans who have been following his 2012 tour will immediately grasp the significance of the Canadian singer-songwriter receiving only a 5 of a possible 6 score for one of his concerts, especially one held in Norway, a country that has always held a special fondness for him. Shows in Ghent, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Aalborg, and Bergen have been praised with only superlatives by the audiences and critics alike.
Now there is a “5″ – a black mark on Cohen’s permanent record. Worse still, it was for a show with perhaps the best known of his ex-girlfriends, Marianne Ihlen, in the audience. No man wants that kind of embarrassment.
What Went Wrong In Halden?
Caveats: First, I confess I have no knowledge of the Norwegian language and am thus dependent on the whimsical vagaries of Google Translation. Second, I am proceeding on the assumption that the Norwegian die pictured here is identical to the standard North American die, i.e., that it figuratively has six faces, each of which displays a different number (pips) from 1–6. And, I am further assuming that this image of a die showing five pips, which also appeared in the review of Leonard Cohen Halden Concert featured below, indicates that on the scale of 1-6 represented by the faces of the die, that the Aug 29, 2012 Leonard Cohen Old Ideas World Tour show was assessed at level 5.
Excerpts [Google English translation] from Cohen Is The Man, a review of last night’s concert, by Lars Weberg (Fredriksstad Blad. August 31, 2012) follow:
From the opening of “Dance Me To The End of Love” to the end of “Closing Time” and “I Tried To Leave You” over three hours later, Leonard Cohen Halden audience in the palm of his hand. Everything was set for a great concert this evening. …
After a long version of “Bird On A Wire”, comes an uptempo and light-legged version of “Everybody Knows,” … with its uplifting darkness to life of the people.
… we get both “Sisters Of Mercy”, a brilliant “Waiting For A Miracle,” a tribute to both Norway and ex-girlfriend Marianne Ihlen in “So Long Marianne” and delightful pompous introductions to all band members, particularly where guitar virtuoso Javier Mas beamed.
… The Webb Sisters performed “Coming Back To You”, was probably the highlight of this evening.
“Avalanche” conspicuously unfortunately absent, but otherwise there was little to criticize in låtutvalget.
With good weather, nice atmosphere and lots of charm from Cohen, steadfast in striking contrast to his often pitch dark lyrics, this had to be a great evening at the fortress.
Hmm, let’s go through the checklist:
- Audience in the palm of his hand
- Uplift of darkness to life of the people
- Brilliant “Waiting For The Miracle”
- Delightful pompous introductions to all band members
- Javier Mas beaming
- Tribute to both Norway and Marianne
- Lots of charm from Cohen
- Great evening
So, according to the review, Leonard Cohen and his troupe gave a great performance, flawed only by the absence of one favored song – “but otherwise there was little to criticize.” Jeez, leave out a song, drop a point in the ratings. Pretty tough judges, those Norwegians.
Note to self: If the Tour returns to Halden, remind Leonard to put ”Avalanche” on the setlist.
Credit Due Department: Photo by Johnny Leo Johansen; found in featured article.