Pick Of The Day (Tomorrow Edition): Leonard Cohen

Canada’s eminence grise of poetry and song Leonard Cohen is in town Saturday night to play a show at Brandt Centre (curtain at 8 p.m., tickets $59.50-$145.50.) I wouldn’t describe myself as an “over the moon” type fan like some people are, but I do respect his talent both as a songwriter and a performer.

The ultimate demonstration of that came early in Cohen’s career, when he headlined at this massive festival on the Isle of Wight that drew a crowd of around 600,000 from Aug. 26-31, 1970. The festival was modelled after Woodstock, but Altamont had occured eight months earlier, and as the Isle of Wight festival progressed the crowd turned surly — lighting fires, smashing down fences and booing Kris Kristofferson off the stage in a hail of thrown bottles.

Cohen’s appearance happened on the final day of the five-day festival. Jimi Hendrix preceded him, and during his performance the stage had been set on fire. Undaunted, Cohen came out with his band around 2 a.m. and absolutely mesmerized the crowd.

I know all this because a DVD of the concert came into the office a couple of years ago. It sat around for awhile, so I finally claimed it and really enjoyed it. Here’s Cohen performing “Hey, That’s No Way To Say Good-bye” at the Isle of Wight festival:

Update: CBC is reporting that the Leonard Cohen concert has been rescheduled to April 28 as a number of band members apparently have the flu.

Author: Gregory Beatty

Greg Beatty is a crime-fighting shapeshifter who hatched from a mutagenic egg many decades ago. He likes sunny days, puppies and antique shoes. His favourite colour is not visible to your inferior human eyes. He refuses to write a bio for this website and if that means Whitworth writes one for him, so be it.

4 thoughts on “Pick Of The Day (Tomorrow Edition): Leonard Cohen”

  1. I don’t know if Altamont (where Hell’s Angels “security guards” stabbed a back man to death and beat many others) so much as spawned copycat festivals as it marked the end of flowerpower in general, changing ppl and attitudes intot he messy 70s.

  2. That is to say, hippies were giving way to early headbangers (Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, etc.), a more aggressive, unruly and self-absorbed form of counter-culture & bad drugs. Altamont was just a sign of the changing tymes.

  3. Thanks for posting! LOVE this!!!! ( ahh….. +sigh…… great way to begin the day….. am drifting in bliss!)

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