On Sunday night I went to see Leonard Cohen in Radio City Music Hall. There are two very awesome aspects to this, one of which is Leonard Cohen, and the other of which is Radio City Music Hall itself, which is pretty goddamn impressive. I have mentioned my tendency to judge establishments on the calibre of their toilet facilities. Well, RCMH doesn’t just have a bathroom, it has a ladies lounge, complete with couches, mirrors and a lot of open space to just hang out in before you even get to the actual toilet stalls. In fact to find the toilets I had to walk through three rather large rooms, and was starting to wonder if I was supposed to piss on a suede-upholstered sofa.
However, RCMH milk their awesomeness to the absolute max, at a stunning cost of $250 to get a ticket in the stalls. Now it was a great seat, and an amazing venue, but in the normal course of things I would never ever pay this amount of money for anything short of a concert headlined by Led Zeppelin and opened by the Beatles, complete with all original band members (including those who would need to rise from the grave for the occasion) which took place on the fucking moon.
The obvious contradiction here is that I did have a ticket and did go. I can explain this with the following short tangent: my parents are awesome. Really. Obviously I did not think this as a 15 year old psycho held together by un-directed rage and death metal, but since reaching an age where I enjoyed discernable lyrics and obtained a modicum of self-control I realized I quite possibly have the best parents ever. In a complete surprise move then, when my father noticed that Leonard Cohen was playing Radio City, he decided to buy me a ticket as a belated 26th birthday present (even though my father believes any birthday after you are legally allowed to drive and buy beer is not an event).
Naturally I gratefully accepted said ticket, particularly since Leonard Cohen is certainly getting on in years, and chances to see him might have been running out. Now, I have never been a massive fan, though I’ve always liked his music. But the man is fucking amazing. He is 75, and he dances onto the stage. He has a voice like honey drizzling over dark chocolate, it somehow sounds even better live than it does recorded, despite the fact that today we could make a screaming child sound like Tina Turner with the vast powers of studio sound manipulation. Though I suppose that particular example is not all that much of a stretch. I guess just because you can make shit smell kind of like roses it doesn’t mean you can improve what roses themselves smell like.
In any case, it was an exceptional show. The talent of just the female back-up vocalists would have put professional choirs to shame. Leonard himself is an incredible performer, and better than that he clearly enjoys every minute of the performance. He is one of those artists that puts everything into what they are doing, watching him sing live he makes you feel as if he’s singing better for your show than for any other one he’s played, like what he’s doing just that night is special to him. The fact that he has sung these songs a thousand times does not make him one iota less expressive or emotional. It was a beautiful experience to be lost in that.
Resolution: go to more concerts. Even if they are not held on the moon.