Album: Leonard Cohen, Live at The Isle of Wight 1970, (Columbia)
Friday 13 November 2009
Now that Leonard Cohen is acknowledged as a musical treasure, it's fascinating to revisit this performance from a time when his star was in its early ascendancy.
The 1970 Isle of Wight Festival was a glorious disaster – 600,000 starving youngsters stranded in a field with barely enough facilities for 100,000 – with conditions exacerbated by the "free festival" revolutionary faction, leading to a fractious atmosphere that saw quieter performers like Joni Mitchell and Kris Kristofferson brutally heckled. Cohen was one of the last acts to play, shortly after Hendrix had set fire to the stage; but his zen-like calm and gently paternalistic attitude – he was already 35, twice the age of most of the audience – seemed to mesmerise the crowd right from the first bars of "Bird on a Wire". Backed by a loose aggregation of session musicians known as The Army, Cohen interspersed poems, aphorisms and background details among his songs, revealing for instance how "One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong" was written as he was "coming off amphetamines and pursuing a blonde lady that I met in a Nazi poster". Accompanied here by Murray Lerner's documentary DVD of the event, it's a remarkable, gripping performance.
Download this: So Long, Marianne, Hey, That's No Way to Say Goodbye, Sing Another Song, Boys
Geoffrey Macnab reviews The Desolation of Smaug - the meat in Peter Jackson's Hobbit sandwich
Chiwetel Ejiofor and Idris Elba get nods for Best Actor, which no black Brit has ever won
voicesJust when you thought you could find a man, get married, and have a baby by the age of 35... it turns out you’re too late, says Grace Dent
Swedish stars ask fans for £195 pledges on crowd-funding website
Arts & Ents blogs
The desolation of the Weinstein brothers: Film producers sue Warner Bros for $75m over Hobbit films
Your Money, Money, Money please - Abba ask fans for £195 pledges on direct-to-fan website
The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug review
Not all right on the night
Lost Peter Sellers films Dearth of a Salesman and Insomnia Is Good for You hailed as the movie equivalent of 'finding Dead Sea Scrolls'
- 1 Nelson Mandela memorial: ‘Bogus’ sign language interpreter made mockery of Barack Obama’s tribute in Soweto
- 2 French café starts charging extra to rude customers
- 3 Australia: Gay marriage law reversed by high court less than a week after first weddings
- 4 Not all right on the night
- 5 Australia incest case: Severely deformed children found in remote farming community after generations of inbreeding
- < Previous
- Next >