Leonard Cohen enthrals at Dublin concerts

The Royal Hospital in Kilmainham proved to be a wonderful venue for the much-anticipated Leonard Cohen concert which was attended by your correspondent on Friday night last. From the moment the 73-year-old songwriter and poet took to the stage the audience were enchanted by his presence. This concert oozed style and class from the presentation of all on stage to the quality of music on offer.   The six-piece band and three backing singers along with Cohen treated us to two hours and forty minutes of mellow and melodic music and song, which was totally appreciated by the 12,000 audience, most of whom were of ‘a mature vintage’.   Cohen’s image as being a withdrawn and morose figure proved to be totally inaccurate as he captivated the audience by his warmth and apparent humility. Throughout the entire show he interacted warmly with his audience, announcing on several occasions that it was an honour to perform for us and it did seem that he was doing much more than going through the motions as he performed in his characteristic laidback style.    Dressed in a grey suit topped off with a trilby hat, Cohen’s deep gravelly voice delivered familiar song after song of love and loss and faith and redemption. Among the favourites were: ‘Bird on the wire’, ‘There ain’t no cure for love’, ‘Closing Time’, ‘I’m your Man’, ‘Suzanne’ and his anthemic ‘Halleluiah’ which brought the audience to a standing ovation.    Cohen showed great respect for his fellow performers introducing them again and again and standing in a respectful pose with hat doffed as he honoured their singing and playing.   Three generous encores wrapped up this wonderful night’s entertainment and left us all wanting more. Your correspondent and friends enjoyed this concert immensely and felt privileged to have had the opportunity to enjoy this unique poet, songwriter and singer who has forged a unique niche in the world of folk music over the past few decades.   The fondness for this icon of the 1960s and 70s was almost tangible – Leonard, thanks for the memories and come back soon.   P.S. A word of congratulations to Longford man John Reynolds who heads up POD Concerts, promoters of this event. It was very smoothly run with very discreet stewarding and a relaxed, inviting atmosphere.  – T. H.