Leonard Cohen in Concert

When I started listening to Leonard Cohen, he had been living in a monastary for 5 years.  I pretty much assumed that, like most of the music I started to listen to when I started university, it was by someone I would never see live.

Which is fine by me, because I prefer the prefection of a studio recording.  I like it to be exactly how the artist wanted the music to sound, because they could retry if they didn’t like it.  So, I assummed from when I first began to worship the man as something like a god, except far more powerful and actually real, I would never be in his presence.

Because I decided that years ago, I didn’t realize, until I pulled up wikipedia to write this blog, that he toured in 2008 and 2010.   But shut-up.  You don’t know what your favourite band is doing right now, so back off.

When Old Ideas, his newest album came out in January, I fell completely in love with it.  It is amazing.  It’s a beautiful look at mortality and regret, and it’s uplifting and heartbreating.  It’s aboslutely amazing, and when I learned he was touring, I was like a hawk on the ticket release date.  I was going to get me those tickets.  I registered with something or other to prebuy, and got myself floor seats on the Saddledome.

I picked up two tickets because I assumed I would find some cute single girl to take with me, because I have a completely off idea of who Leonard Cohen fans are.  See, most of the times I talk about music, it’s because I’m trying to impress a girl with how good my taste in music is.  It’s usually some really cute crunchy granola girl who cares about the world and buys clothes at second hand stores, half for the irony, and half because they care more about art than money.

Basically, her.

So, I’m looking for these girls, and they’re not showing up.  Then I start looking for other people, who at least like Leonard Cohen.  Sure, they exist, but everyone I talked to either ended up busy on the night of the show, or they weren’t interested in several consecutive hours of his music.

So, like I always do in times of great crisis, I made Kodie my solution.  I forced him to come along, because somehow, after 20 years, I can still talk him into my plans.

When I got there, I found out that the average Leonard Cohen fan is a little more…

…this…

I mean, he was born in 1934, so I’m not quite sure why I didn’t think a 78 year old genius wouldn’t have gathered fans over the years, and lots of them had known about him since … before I was born.  I mean, there were some cute young girls there, but they were spaced out amongst a sea of silver.

So I got myself a Saddledome crack-beer, and we found our seats.  And then everything was amazing.  Leonard Cohen bounded onto the stage, so full of life and energy.  He loved the crowd, and we loved him back.  He was funny, and engaging, and his songs brought him to his knees with the remembered pain and the perfect catharisis.

Every musician on stage with him was extraordinary.  They could have filled theatres themselves.  They were there to play with him.  Each one was a master, and everything sounded so … perfect.

And I was worried that my expectations would be impossible to live up to.

He played for an hour and a half, and then announced he was taking a break.  Back in reality, Kodie was … suprised to learn that we were only a half hour in.  He … he wasn’t having the blast I was, because he likes music by people who aren’t part of our grand parents generation.  He’s a little less “Hallalujah” and a little more “Call Me, Maybe.”

So we had an intermission, and then another hour and a half of great music.  Then a three song encore.  And then another.  The third standing ovation brought him out again, and he sang again and Kodie gave me this “I’m going to kill someone” look.  I assumed it might be me.  So we started heading to the door.  Leonard told us it was alright during the first encore.  “If you have someone waiting,” he said “Go to them.  If you have time, friends, I’ll sing a few more songs.”

He’s the best.

But Kodie told me that I now owed him.  Kodie never says that.  He just puts up with my ridicilous bullshit.  So basically, if Cher does another fairwell tour (her third, I guess it would be), Kodie’s boyfriend is off the hook.

 

 

Worth it.

 

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Published in: on November 26, 2012 at 5:13 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Pieces of Me

I have never had an angry break-up.  When I leave a girl, it’s always a sad affair, and it always seems to end the same way.

The choices I’ve made always seem to tear me away from some cute girl I love.  It’s never about us, it’s something I have to do.  My fragile ambition is always stronger than my fractured love.  I always hate losing her, but I have to go.  It’ll be pre-dawn, in her dark bedroom.  It’s always her room.  I always go to them, afraid of what they’ll see if they come to me.  No one says much, all the desperate, tearful goodbyes spit out in the dead of night.  We’re both emotionally exhausted, physically drained, and ready to be alone with ourselves.  It’s too hard to see each other, so the lights stay off.

I gather up the last debris I have scattered, and grab a packed bag.  I’m always going far away, too far for us to stay us.  There’s a few whispered words of regret, and a last embrace that lasts a moment too long, making me believe that I could just stay, that everything could revert, that I can still chose love over life.

But the bell’s been rung, and you can’t un-ring a bell.  Staying would make things worst.  Now, I need to go.

There’s always a song.  Maybe it’s Leonard Cohen’s Chelsea Hotel #2 playing on her radio, admitting what we had was always futile.  Maybe it’s Josh Ritter’s Last Temptation of Adam in my car as I drive away, a constant worry that if we had been comfortable, we wouldn’t have been us.  Sometimes the song isn’t something poignant, or related, but it remains forever hers.

I drive into that highway sunrise, lost in the song, lingering in the last kiss.  Some part of me always wants to turn back, instead of heading to that burning beacon of all the long lonely days without her.  Some beautiful lie, some excuse as to why I’ve returned; I left something behind.

There’s a piece of me still with her. 

And the mistake I always make, months or years later, is the belief that I could go back for it.  I dream that the memory of me is still shining in some lost corner.  Somehow, I’m always wrong.  I’ve remembered things too … too far from what they were.  I go back, and try to make reality conform to my vision of the past.

I think I can have back that piece of me.  But it wasn’t mine, not when I went out that door.  It’s hers, and she can do with it what she likes, but it’ll never be part of the me that’s come back for it.

The lesson I never seem to learn is that when you go away, you’re gone.