The 1972 Phantom Leonard Cohen Tielt Concert

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Cohen Concert Schedules Flexible In The 1970s

ad-vintage-76-french-2-toufixrIn response to the previously published post featuring an ad (click on graphic on right to enlarge) for Leonard Cohen’s June 1976 concert dates, all but three of which were changed by the time the shows actually took place, Francis Mus1 offers another story of an ad for a Leonard Cohen concert that was never held – or, more accurately, that was held in a different city.

DrHGuy Note: The content and images that followed are from Francis Mus. I have reorganized and edited the text and cleaned up the graphics.

Brussels Replaces Tielt On 1972 Cohen Tour

The advertisement atop this post promotes an April 16, 1972 Leonard Cohen concert in Tielt, Belgium. Leonard Cohen did play a concert on that date but it was finally held in Brussels.

The Mentally Disturbed Red Herring

The  Tielt concert was announced in the media. This is a quote (translation by Francis Mus) from the April 7, 1972 edition of Zie-magazine, a Dutch language periodical:

He asks one million for an evening, but for mentally disturbed persons he sings for free.

A meeting with the legendary Leonard Cohen, who performs in Tielt on April 16th.

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The juxtaposition of these sentences has led some readers to infer that Leonard Cohen planned to perform for psychiatric patients in Tielt.2

Communications with the organizer of the event and with representatives of local psychiatric institutions, however, have confirmed that the concert in Tielt was not intended to have been held in a mental health facility but was to have been a concert in a commercial venue with a routine population mix in the audience.

In summation, there was no Leonard Cohen concert of any kind in Tielt.

So, Why Post This?

Well, discovering how any industry, whether it be concert tours or medical diagnostics, used car sales or art auctions, actually works is  interesting, at least to me.

And, this event and the 1976 ad offer a historical perspective for the same problems that persist today, such as the 2012 venue switch that moved Leonard Cohen concerts from Hop Farms To Wembley Arena, triggering much consternation, many complaints, and even a comment from Cohen himself during his Sept 8, 2012 Concert at Wembley Arena in London:

I want you to know I learned about it [the venue switch] the same time you did. There are unseen hands that manipulate the marketplace. Hands that I never get to see…or crush.3

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Finally, I have respect for researchers like Francis Mus  and others I’ve met because of a shared interest in Leonard Cohen who understand the importance of writing accurate histories, knowing what happened, when and where it happened, and, if possible, why it happened as it did. This was an opportunity to provide a sense of the effort involved in accumulating such information.

  1. Francis Mus was responsible for “I’m Still Trying To Find My Song” – Francis Mus Interviews Roscoe Beck []
  2. Leonard Cohen did perform for patients in psychiatric institutions, including a a gig in 1970 just before the Isle of Wight. As previously posted at Leonard Cohen & Babies, Therapy, Covers, Lyrics, Roberta Flack, Jian Ghomeshi, 1993, …:

    One afternoon in 1970, John (not his real name), a resident, put a suggestion to the writers’ group at the Henderson, a therapeutic community in Sutton for people with personality disorder. The group had been on a visit to The Times and had been inspired to improve their newsletter, Chicken Quill. “Why not inject some energy into this place by inviting Leonard Cohen to do a concert?” asked John. It would give them a good front page for the next issue.

    Leonard Cohen played in the very large room with church windows within the tower. There were half a dozen musicians and two female singers.  They stayed for two to three hours. There were about 40-45 in the audience, made up of staff and patients. []

  3. Quoted in Leonard Cohen brings ‘Old Ideas’ to London’s Wembley Arena. NME: September 9, 2012 []

4 Responses to The 1972 Phantom Leonard Cohen Tielt Concert

  1. Very interesting article about another Phantom Concert. Thanks!

    I think the title of of the post should mention 1972 (not 1970)?

    BTW Is it maybe possible he did two gigs on one day: Tielt and Brussels?

  2. Hi, just one other thing:
    In the translation from Dutch into English it says “one million for an evening”. That is literally correct, but one should realize that means one million Belgian Francs (in 1972 the Belgian currency), which can be converted to 30.000USD. So a modest LC, I would say.

    • Hmmm. Twp points in response to those prices:
      1. Times change – and so, it seems, do ticket prices
      2. Thanks, my Dutch is pretty weak

      Allan