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…


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.


Published in: on November 26, 2012 at 5:13 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Dear Hockey, Fuck You. Love, Lacrosse.

Much to my Dad’s disappointment, I wasn’t very good at hockey growing up.  My birthday’s late in the year.  When you’re talking about the difference between a five year old and a six year old, the effective age difference between me and a kid born in January, there are huge gaps in coordination, power, balance, speed, and a bunch of other excuses I use to justify being Canadian and bad at hockey.  In small town Alberta, sucking at, and therefore disliking hockey can make you something of a pariah.

 There it is!

Then I found soccer, and I loved it.  All the real athletes were busy playing hockey, so I wasn’t out-classed.  I was a member of the team, and I played and contributed.  Even at eight, the similarities between the games struck me.  All the basics, from the line ups to the fields of play, they’re just variations on the same basic theme.  But I played soccer, so it was better and more hardcore, and in all ways superior.  I developed this theory that the European alternative versions of sports outclassed their more popular Canadian counterparts.  In my mind at the time, I assumed rugby must be better than foot ball, cricket must be better than baseball, snogging must be better than making out, and so on.

 Then rugby let me down.  Hard.  I got to play in a touch rugby tournament in Japan.  I learned rugby is football, except without the strategy, variety, entertainment value, or any inclination on my part to be involved.  When you take out tackling, rugby has nothing.  Seriously, after the first game, K1 and I spent the whole weekend sneaking around, avoiding rugby.  We were too busy to play our matches because we were helping with something, or driving into town to pick something up, or eating ice cream, or we were too drunk to run.  Sure, the parties that weekend were great, but rugby can go fuck itself.

 Thus disillusioned, I never chased the other alt-sports.  That is until I got tickets to the Roughnecks lacrosse game the weekend before Easter.  If you’ve ever been to the Saddledome, you should know the beer is really good.  I’ll take a free ticket to almost anything to get at that frothy draft.

 Calgary Roughnecks

I didn’t know much about lacrosse.  While as a kid, I felt soccer was alt-hockey, I knew lacrosse was closer.  You’re not on ice, but you wear gear similar to hockey players.  Instead of a hockey stick, you have a small net on the end of a pole.  I thought it lived in the world of polo and shuffle board, rich easterner sports that had no place except in getting me closer to Saddledome draft.  It has that effeminate French name, and no one out here seems interested in it, so I thought it was a gentler game for trust fund kids.

 I have never been so happy to be wrong in my life.  Less than a minute into the game, one guy comes at another with a flying tackle.  The attacker soared through the air, perfectly horizontal, five feet off the ground.  He wrapped his elbow around his opponent’s throat, and dragged him to the ground.  There was no penalty called, not even a stop in play.  This is just part of the game.

 Fuck you, rugby.  Lacrosse is a man’s sport.  If only it didn’t have that terrible French name.  It’s like a bad ass guy called Elliot, it just doesn’t fit the incredible potential for violence it will live up to.

 You know how in hockey they play music whenever there’s a stoppage in play?  Well, lacrosse never turns it off.  There’s always some rock anthem pounding in the background.  Apparently hockey players have too much trouble concentrating, while lacrosse players won’t stop rocking out.  Sure, when the visiting team had possession, they turned down the volume, so that they wouldn’t get pumped up, but that seems to be lacrosse.  In fact, the commentator spent most of the game trying to demoralize the other team.  He talked smack, called them out, and led the crowd in chants about how they sucked.  It was as unsportsmanly as it was awesome.

 My sucking at hockey isn’t genetic.  My youngest siblings, Bev and David, and my cousins Matt and loubagga, they all played well.  I always used to tell them the thing I didn’t get about hockey fights was the process.  You are armed and armoured, but you throw away your stick, remove your helmet, and cast off your gloves.  It always seemed like a major tactical error to me.

Lacrosse agrees.  Apparently, you can get a penalty for fighting, but you really have to work for it.  You need to hit the guy enough times with your stick, and you seem to need to stagger him.  In lacrosse, it isn’t a fight until someone’s already hurt, and even then it’s just starting.  Then you stick smack the shit out of the other guy for a while, and he returns the favour until the refs work up the balls to intervene.

 What Puns Look Like

Everything was over the top.  Hell, the cheerleaders, were called the “Drill Crew”.  I know it’s a pun on Roughnecks, but it’s barely single entendre.  Of course, when they were out there, my big boy words weren’t really working.  I had some important watching to do.

Seriously, this is the greatest sport until someone invents naked parachuting machine-gunnery, and I’m still working on a plethora of legal issues to get that league started.  Despite what we would have the world think, hockey is not our national sport.  It’s our most popular, sure, from 2004 to 2009, the most watched T.V. show in the US was American Idol.  Popular does not equal good.  Lacrosse is hockey cranked to 11.  Our national sport is actually the greatest sport in the world and you need to see it.  Treat yourself to some Roughneck tickets.