Category: Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen to return to L.A. Nov. 5 on Old Ideas Tour

 Leonard Cohen will return to Los Angeles on Nov. 5 on his Old Ideas World Tour 2012
Leonard Cohen returns to Los Angeles on Nov. 5 in a stop on his just-announced Old Ideas World Tour 2012, an encore appearance at the Nokia Theatre, where he also played a lauded 2009 concert.

The new “Old” tour opens Halloween night in Austin, Texas, and comprises 21 shows in as many cities through Dec. 20, when the 77-year-old Canadian poet-rocker wraps up the second leg of the tour in Brooklyn. A European tour leg was announced previously.

Three years ago, Cohen delivered a marathon 3 1/2-hour show at the Nokia in which he celebrated “the wintery side of manhood, but his beatific smile revealed the little boy within,” according to then-Times pop music critic Ann Powers.

A week later, Cohen also played outdoors before a large crowd at the 2009 Coachella festival, where The Times noted that “his Coachella performance gained an intimacy and power that the cavernous and sterile Nokia couldn't touch.”

Of the new album, Steve Appleford wrote for The Times, “The rhymes and hard-won wisdom on ‘Old Ideas’ will linger in the mind long after the songs have ended.”

RELATED:

Coachella 2009: Leonard Cohen's spiritual oasis

Review: Leonard Cohen at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live

Leonard Cohen's ex-business manager gets 18 months 

--Randy Lewis

Photo: Leonard Cohen at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on his 2009 tour. Credit:  Los Angeles Times.

'Breakfast With the Beatles': Live from Hollywood

Chris Carter

“Breakfast With the Beatles,” the weekly celebration of all things John, Paul, George and Ringo on KLOS-FM (95.5), went out live Sunday morning from the Laugh Factory in Hollywood. Several dozen Fab Four enthusiasts were treated by host Chris Carter and the show’s sponsors to their morning meal while soaking up three hours of the group’s music as it went out over the airwaves both from the group’s own records and in live facsimile versions by the Fab Four tribute band.

The local Beatles community was represented with fans spanning elementary school to Social Security-eligible and pounced for autographs and happy snaps with this week’s celebrity guests. Among them: Jackie DeShannon, the singer and songwriter who is the show’s latest “Beatle News” segment host, and saxophonist Edgar Winter, who is on the road this summer with Ringo Starr’s latest All-Starr Band tour. KLOS program director Bob Buchmann and longtime on-air personality Cynthia Fox also turned out, and Carter got regular assists during the morning from his 8-year-old daughter, Nicole, and from his wife, Allyson.

Onlookers gnoshed on scones, jam and English breakfast tea as the Fab Four delivered several spot-on renditions of Beatles hits during breaks. I lucked into a seat near DeShannon, whose voice added a sweet dimension as she spontaneously harmonized along with “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away.” (The group noted its plans to play the "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" album in its entirety, with an orchestra, on Aug. 7 at the Pacific Amphitheatre in Costa Mesa during this year's Orange County Fair concert series.)

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Backtracking: 'Songs of Leonard Cohen': A vinyl reckoning

L_cohen_3) Sundazed Records' new version of the singer-songwriter's classic debut is a great way to get reacquainted with vinyl records.

Tastemakers such as Bob Dylan, Jack White and T Bone Burnett might be at the forefront of championing the resurgent interest in vinyl albums and singles, but they're not the only enthusiasts celebrating the return of the format in today's digital era: Nielsen SoundScan reports that vinyl sales will top 2.8 million units this year, up about 900,000 from 2008, and new record stores are springing up across Los Angeles. 

Of course, New York label Sundazed Records, which has specialized in vinyl reissues for 20 years, has been unquestionably ahead of the trend. And what better way to get acquainted (or reacquainted) with vinyl than with Sundazed's new version of the classic debut from Leonard Cohen, a superb singer-songwriter who is enjoying a new wave of popularity thanks to his highly acclaimed tour?

"Songs of Leonard Cohen" was originally released by Columbia Records in 1967 and contains such signature tunes as "Suzanne," "Sisters of Mercy" and "Hey, That's No Way to Say Goodbye."

Sundazed also is releasing four other early Cohen collections: "Songs From a Room" (which includes "Bird on the Wire"), "Songs of Love and Hate" ("Famous Blue Raincoat"), "Live Songs" and "New Skin for the Old Ceremony" ("Chelsea Hotel No. 2)."

The latest catalog from the New York indie features more than 250 vinyl recordings, including such classic works as Bob Dylan's "Highway 61 Revisited," the Byrds' "The Notorious Byrd Brothers," the Stooges' "Fun House," Simon & Garfunkel's "Bookends" and Otis Redding's "Otis Blue." Each album has been remastered from the original Columbia Records stereo masters and pressed on "high-definition vinyl." They feature the original artwork and liner note pages where applicable.

The company is so vinyl-friendly that its website, www.sundazed.com, even sells turntables.

To vinyl supporters, being able to hold an album as opposed to simply downloading enables you to establish a closer relationship with the artist and the music -- not to mention that the album artwork is typically more elaborate than that of a CD and vinyl offers a richer, warmer sound than an MP3 file.
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Coachella 2009: Leonard Cohen's spiritual oasis

Cohen500

I have to confess I was feeling pretty skeptical at the thought of seeing Leonard Cohen outdoors in the desert for a mere one-hour Coachella set, just a week after taking in the full breadth of a 3 1/2-hour theatrical evening with the granddaddy of rock 'n' roll poets.

I should have known better.

What was sacrificed in the way of time spent in his soul-deep presence last week at the Nokia Theatre was largely compensated for with the desert surroundings, palm trees bathed in the crimson shades of the setting sun around the Empire Polo Field.

The songs were all gems, and with an adoring standing-room crowd of thousands spread before the 74-year-old Canadian wordsmith, his Coachella performance gained an intimacy and power that the cavernous and sterile Nokia couldn't touch.

He delivered the selections pretty much identically to the L.A. Show, except for the unexpected locale reference humorously dropped into "Hallelujah": "I didn't come to Coachella to fool ya," a moment that was about as close as he gets to spontaneity.

However meticulously rehearsed it might have been, "Hallelujah" became an exceptionally powerful communal experience, most of the onlookers joining in on the chorus like a shared prayer.

A religious experience in the desert -- who'd have thought?

-- Randy Lewis

Photo: Leonard Cohen. Credit: Spencer Weiner / Los Angeles Times
 

Review: Leonard Cohen at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live

Cohen29_khzu1pnc "No matter how old you get, if you can keep the desire to be creative, you're keeping the man-child alive," the actor and filmmaker John Cassavetes once said. Cassavetes, who died at age 59, never really got to test out his assertion. Leave it to his spiritual brother, Leonard Cohen, to prove the point. During his carefully staged but spirited three-and-a-half-hour performance Friday at Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live, the 74-year-old poet and chanteur represented for the wintery side of manhood, but his beatific smile revealed the little boy within.

Within the pop world, Cohen has always been an elder statesman; he released his first album in 1967, at age 33, already a published poet and novelist. The fact that he's always projected a certain maturity has helped him as he's become actually old; the transformation doesn't seem as drastic.

Cohen's foggy voice, formed over decades of time spent at what he once called "the little Parthenon of an unopened pack of cigarettes," still has power -- kicking the habit was obviously wise. It's the instrument he's had since the mid-1980s, an epic groan whose deepest rumble he deployed in "In My Secret Life," singing about "the wisdom of old," and whose pinched high range he heroically attempted in "So Long, Marianne."

Mostly he used his gift for conversational chant to clearly put forth the lyrics his elated fans knew so well. He also did a little agile dancing and often knelt in the pose of a gospel preacher, though he left the cartwheels (only one, actually) to his young back-up singers, the sisters Charley and Hattie Webb.

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Leonard Cohen reborn in the U.S.A.

Lcohen__ The 74-year-old songwriter is touring America for the first time in 15 years. Why now? He felt the flicker.

Reporting from New York
-- Bathed in the indigo light, Leonard Cohen leaned forward like a man eager to feel the wind on his face and, as the crowd at the Beacon Theatre in New York cheered, the 74-year-old singer narrowed his eyes and delivered another one of his unhurried, deep velvet threats:

They sentenced me to twenty years of boredom
For trying to change the system from within
I'm coming now, I'm coming to reward them
First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin

Ten nights ago, Cohen performed his first U.S. concert since 1993 at the restored and resplendent Beacon, which instantly became the stuff of legend -- at least in the music circles where Cohen is regarded as one of the great living titans of songwriting. It didn't hurt, either, that the Montreal native arrived backstage with tantalizing mysteries tucked in that guitar case.

This is the man, after all, who in the 1990s walked away from show business to wear monk's robes at a Zen monastery near the resort village of Mount Baldy. Then, after returning to his old fedora, he announced in 2005 that he had been robbed blind by his longtime manager.

Either of those life experiences might have led the poet and troubadour to the Beacon stage with a humorless severity. They did not.

"It's been a long time since I stood on a stage in New York," Cohen told the adoring, star-studded crowd. "I was 60 years old then. Just a kid with a crazy dream . . . "

The marathon concert (almost three hours) at the Beacon was the 99th performance by Cohen and his supple band during their recent tour of the world, but just the beginning of a major return to America. The 28 dates now announced include an April 10 show at the Nokia Theatre (tickets for that show go on sale March 9) and, one week later, a performance in an unexpected setting -- the massive Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. There, the dapper songsmith will share a bill with Paul McCartney, Morrissey and Paul Weller, but also with bands such as the Killers, the Cure and My Bloody Valentine.

The day after the Beacon show, Cohen was clearly pleased with the warm ovations from the night before. His hotel suite at the Warwick Hotel afforded him a view of a Manhattan afternoon that was as crisp as his tailored suit and, when a visitor arrived for an interview, he turned down the twangy country music from his laptop computer and offered a cup of coffee.

"It's been a great trip, man, a lovely time," he said. "Have a seat."

Cohen had a considerable contingent of family and friends at the New York show (as well as recognizable fans such as Harvey Keitel, Rufus Wainwright and Richard Belzer) and he said that "all of us felt a sort of special edge on the night, all of us wanted to do good."

Cohen looks fantastic, trim and graceful, which is worth pointing out not just for reasons of chronological age, but because of the previous night's late labors and the long touring road that led up to it -- beginning in Canada and then going on to Ireland; Bucharest, Romania; and other European stops, before a run through New Zealand and Australia. "The next one, in Austin, Texas, in four weeks will be our 100th show," Cohen said, "and it's just grand. And then we'll do another 100."

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Coachella rules need not apply? Leonard Cohen gets L.A. date

Leonard_cohen__

Leonard Cohen has announced an April 10 date at the Nokia Theatre in downtown Los Angeles.

This should be heralded as great news on multiple fronts. One, it's a Leonard Cohen date, and it's part of his first major jaunt across the U.S. in more than a decade. But just as important, it comes a week before the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, where Cohen will play April 17.

A chance to see such an artist outside of the sweltering heat and on his own should certainly be heralded. So, might this be a relaxing of the so-called radius clauses that permeate the summer festival season, which prevent artists from playing in a marketplace for a specified amount of time before and after an event?

Naw -- don't bet on most major Coachella acts getting similar treatment, outside of some not-so-secret,  last-minute club shows (see the Jesus and Mary Chain at the Glass House in 2007). While reps for Cohen and AEG Live have yet to clarify Coachella's radius clause to Pop & Hiss (our fingers aren't crossed), it's certainly expected that Cohen should be allowed to play by different rules -- this is his first tour in 15 years, after all.

But it's not just Cohen's living legend status that come into play here. It helps, of course, when your concert is being exclusively presented by AEG Live, which happens to own the Nokia and Coachella-founders Goldenvoice. But technicalities . . .

-- Todd Martens

Photo credit: Getty Images

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