Leonard Cohen On Tour 1970
Part of Leonard Cohen’s stage routine during the 2013 Tour was thanking those in the front rows, some of whom paid $150-200 for a ticket, for thus “endangering the family budget.” It wasn’t the first time the price of admission to his shows was broached. The reporter in this 1970 video questions the Canadian singer-songwriter about the high cost of his tickets.
Based on the August 1, 1970 date of this video, the French setting, the reference to a “festival” in the original blurb, and the focus on cost, it seems likely that the appearance referenced in the interview is Cohen’s Aug 2, 1970 show at the Aix-en-Provence Festival – an especially weird event that took place during the weirdness that was the 1970 Tour. For an overview of that concert, see Leonard Cohen At The 1970 Aix-en-Provence Festival – Maoists, Music, Mud, Money, & Mayhem
The total three-day Aix Festival admission fee was 55 francs (about $12 US), not adjusted for inflation. According to a concert summary by Jacques Vassal published in the September 1970 edition (#44) of Rock & Folk, Leonard Cohen received 35,000 dollars (US) for his two hour concert on August 2, 1970 of the Festival.
“COHEN, Leonard: resta près de deux heures sur scène (35000 dollars valaient bien ça!)”.
“COHEN, Leonard: remained nearly two hours on stage (35000 dollards was well worth it!)”.
Since the video is in French and the majority of this blog’s readers are English-speaking, providing a spoiler revealing the punchline of the piece is unfortunately necessary. It’s still fun watching Cohen responding to the question in the short (under one minute) clip.
The original description of the film follows:
Léonard COHEN est vivement apostrophé à sa descente d’avion à propos du coût exorbitant de ses cachets et donc du prix des places dans un festival. “Vous êtes obligés d’avoir des cachets si chers ?”Léonard COHEN : “non, je ne suis pas obligé, c’est un plaisir”.
Coco Éclair provides an English translation:
Leonard Cohen is accosted when getting off his plane about the exorbitant cost of his tickets and hence the price of the seats for the concert. “Are you obligated to have such expensive fees?” Leonard Cohen: “No, I am not obligated, it is a pleasure.”
Leonard Cohen À Propos Des Gros Cachets
[Leonard Cohen About Big Fees]
Aug 1, 1970
Note: The first few seconds appear to be from another feature altogether.
Credit Due Department: Thanks to Dominique BOILE for the information re Cohen’s fee for the concert.