Absolute front row. Almost dead centre. Brisbane Entertainment Centre.
An eerie hush is broken by thunderous ear-splitting applause as he appears. The seventy-six-year-old ‘Ladies Man’, is down on bended knee singing Dance me to the End of Love and I wonder momentarily if I have drifted into a parallel – and absolutely perfect – universe.
Age has not wearied the man with the golden voice and he still oozes sex appeal from the tips of his toes to his rakishly perched hat. The drooped corners of his wise and somewhat sad eyes evoke a sense of mystery, while his rare smiles reveal a child-like mischievousness.
He is accompanied on stage by top-notch musicians and back-up singers, yet nothing surpasses the sound of him alone, dragging notes from the gravelly sole of his boot and broadcasting them from his lofty window in The Tower of Song. His recitation of A Thousand Kisses Deep reminded us that a poet of such magnitude needs no accoutrements.
The poignancy of Suzanne with her ‘tea and oranges’ and her ‘rags and feathers from salvation army counters’ had me watching Leonard through a gauze of tears as his poetic fingertips soothed my soul. And when he sang I’m your Man, I sighed ‘oh yeah’, along with thousands of other concert-goers.
We Cohen fans came to Boondall with one thing on our minds – Leonard – so it was with considerable finesse that Clair Bowditch, as support act, bewitched the crowd with her sweet-and-sultry lyrics and soft bluesy voice.
I had the pleasure of meeting up with a couple of LC forum fans and was presented with a very official-looking lanyard by Dean from Adelaide which I happily wore with pride. Dean is spending a huge chunk of time, not to mention a considerable fist-full of cash, to attend a heap of concerts. You can follow his progress at lcdownunder2010.
Life, as they say, is full of regrets. I thought I would forever live with the regret of missing out on the Leonard Cohen experience when I failed to get tickets in 2009. I never dreamed I would get a second chance. So now I have one less regret to pack into life’s suitcase and my baggage feels all the lighter for it.
Mr Cohen may have left the building but I for one will never forget him.
PostScript: My novel, 8 States of Catastrophe, is due for release in January 2011 and will be distributed by Pan Macmillan. Fans of Leonard Cohen may enjoy it for its references to the great man and his lyrics. I’ll post launch details as soon as they come to hand. If you would like to go into the draw to win a signed copy of the book, please complete the survey.