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Hallelujah! Leonard Cohen Returns to Toronto

78-year-old Montrealer plays Air Canada Centre

By: David Shear
Published: December 5th, 2012 in Culture » Music » News
Leonard Cohen

Hockey lockout? What hockey lockout?

It’s been a long time since Toronto’s Air Canada Centre was as energized and excited as it was on the evening of December 4th, 2012, and it’s all thanks to a 78-year-old Jewish man who probably spent his formative years cheering for the Maple Leafs’ arch rivals, the Montreal Canadiens.

Singer and poet extraordinaire, Leonard Cohen, making his return to Toronto since his appearance at The Sony Centre for the Performing Arts four years ago, played the first of two shows on December 4th, and the more than 16,000 souls who filled the ACC couldn’t have been happier.

Showing more physical acumen than many thirty-somethings, Cohen dropped to his knees on a number of occasions, before popping back to his feet like one of those plastic, weighted clowns that, no matter how much we hit them, kept coming back for more. Perhaps it was an intentional metaphor for Cohen’s up and down life and career.

Cohen, known as much for his sardonic, self-deprecating sense of humour as much as his poetry, let the adoring crowd know that the financial problems which have plagued him, forcing him to drive those six hours west on the 401, were still a motivating factor at a time when most almost-octogenarians are curled up with a good book in front of a roaring fire.

“We’ve been on tour for a while now,” he told the arena full of Cohen-heads “I hadn’t sung for about 15 years. Now you can’t get rid of me. We may or may not see each other again, but tonight we’re going to give you everything we’ve got.”

And that is exactly what they did.

Cohen delivered a number of songs from his recently released twelfth studio album, Old Ideas, mixed with a number of his ageless hits including, of course, the ageless “Suzanne,” “Ain’t No Cure for Love,” and, of course, what would a Cohen concert be without the religious-themed “Hallelujah”, before, after the three-hour show reached “Closing Time”.

And, proving that Cohen has lost very little over the decades, Old Ideas is the artist’s highest-charting release in the United States, reaching number 3 on the Billboard 200, more than 40 years after the release of his first album.

All in all, some three hours after I got there, I left the Air Canada Centre feeling more satisfied, entertained and inspired than ever before.

Hockey lockout? What hockey lockout?

Related articles: Leonard Cohen, Concert, Toronto, Hallelujah
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