“Mr. Cohen has perfected the arena concert as a miraculously hushed ritual”

During his concert at the Barclays Center on Thursday night, Leonard Cohen spent a lot of time in an unusual pose for a rock star: on his knees, like a supplicant or a suitor. Those are just two of the roles he takes in his songs. He’s also a lover, a cad, a penitent, a believer, a cynic, a comedian, a kindly codger and a prophet of catastrophe.

From Confessions of a Man in a Fedora by Jon Pareles. New York Times: Dec. 21, 2012

A Must-Read Review

In his review of the Dec 20, 2012 Leonard Cohen concert, John Pareles praises the Canadian singer-songwriter’s strengths without defaulting to Leonard Cohen is a living legend mode.

Similarly, the essay avoids such cliche-traps as Leonard Cohen can’t sing, accurately noting instead that “his grave voice, a baritone that has lately been plunging toward bass but will still carry a tune.

Insights are proffered, for example,

His songs rarely tell stories or proclaim easy emotions. Instead, with diction that is often measured and biblical, they mingle regrets and desires, hope and disillusionment, spiritual aspirations and carnal appreciation.

But most impressive is the conclusion, an elegant and telling observation about Leonard Cohen’s perspective on the end of life that eviscerates those too-easy characterizations of these concerts as either Cohen’s death march or  last will and testament

“I hope that we’ll be on the road for a few more years at least,” Mr. Cohen had said earlier, acknowledging mortality and just as urbanely shrugging it off.

The complete review can be read at Confessions of a Man in a Fedora

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