2013 Leonard Cohen Chicago Concert Report
by Mace Rosenstein
Mace Rosenstein attended the March 13, 2013 Leonard Cohen Chicago concert and emailed this report shortly after the show’s final song ended.
Leonard and the band were on their game tonight for nearly the entire show. They all were demonstrably happy. Leonard often smiled broadly or laughed, boogied, did his weird scat thing during Rafael’s drum solo in “The Darkness,” stood alluringly close to Sharon while singing with her a couple of times, and did a fantastic expanded riff during his now-well rehearsed new intro to “Ain’t No Cure for Love” — lamenting that he had been passed over by the Papal convocation and now would have to “wait a decade — or maybe a generation” before he would have another chance; and then he went on to catalogue his history of humiliation and defeat, including that he had been a “failure in bed.” The crowd went wild.
Sharon Robinson, too, beamed during the entire concert, chatting with Leonard or with the Webb Sisters at a couple of points; and she got a terrific ovation after “Alexandra Leaving,” which seemed to take her by surprise and genuinely move her.
Roscoe Beck really seemed to pick up the pace; the band picked up the tempos and the concert itself was shorter by several songs [see playlist below]. It just felt like a more structured, thoughtful show than the December shows in New York that we saw. My wife, Louise, thought this was a positive change — she says you always want to leave people wanting more, and that’s hard to do when you play for 4 hours.
There seemed to be some confusion at the end of the first 3-song encore set. Leonard left the stage but returned quickly — it seemed unexpectedly — just as Roscoe was organizing the band to walk off. After a moment’s hesitation and then some bustling about on the stage the Webb Sisters performed “If It Be Your Will,” followed by a somewhat ragged “Closing Time,” with no blessings, etc.
But these are quibbles. It was a great, great evening — a terrific, moving, funny, sometimes heartrendingly beautiful concert in a terrific venue. As usual, we laughed, we cried, we sang along — and we will be going back for more next month.
Setlist: March 13, 2013 Leonard Cohen Chicago Concert
Dance Me to the End of Love
Bird on the Wire
Who by Fire
Ain’t No Cure for Love
A Thousand Kisses Deep (recitation)
Tower of Song
Waiting for the Miracle
Show Me the Place
Lover Lover Lover
I’m Your Man
Take This Waltz
So Long, Marianne
First We Take Manhattan
If It Be Your Will
Credit Due Department: Photo atop this post by Sketchbook Things via Statigram. Second photo (with blue lighting) by yogaemily via Statigram. Third photo (red lighting) by darren borowski via Twitter.