Late-night thoughts on Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen.

Read my full concert review in the November 19 print edition of Las Vegas Weekly. For now, a few semi-random thoughts, compiled sometime after 1 a.m. ...

*For those worried about Leonard Cohen’s health after his September onstage collapse: The folk-rock icon actually appears healthier at 75 than he did at 74. During his hour-long set at April’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Cohen took several rests, sitting while singing for parts of his performance. Tonight at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace, Cohen—who moved past the three-quarter-century mark on September 21) stood for the entirety of his colossal three-and-a-half-hour concert (save a 20-minute intermission), remaining upright even during full-song lead-vocal turns by his backing singers, Sharon Robinson (“Boogie Street”) and the Webb Sisters (“If It Be Your Will”). Cohen also galloped—seriously, no exaggeration—on and off the stage between each portion of the show, which ended with three separate encore segments comprising six total numbers. Take that, weary 20-somethings.

*Most significantly, Cohen’s famously dark voice sounded far more fit than frail, creeping through the filled 4,000-capacity room with relative ease (okay, the overall sound could have been more robust, but that’s no reflection on the man’s vocal fortitude). Perhaps Vegas lucked out, with Cohen coming in off two nights’ rest following a November 9 show in Kansas City. Wonder if Friday night’s gig in San Jose, California, will be any worse for wear …

*Best changed lyric: “I did not come to the Palace at Caesars to fool ya,” in “Hallelujah.”

*Best storytelling line: “I was taking a vacation from my deeply authentic life,” as Cohen related the backstory to “Chelsea Hotel #2.”

*To further tide you over, here’s Cohen’s complete Vegas setlist:

Set 1

“Dance Me to the End of Love”

“The Future”

“Ain’t No Cure for Love”

“Bird on the Wire”

“Everybody Knows”

“In My Secret Life”

“Who by Fire”

“Chelsea Hotel #2”

“Waiting for the Miracle”


Set 2

“Tower of Song”


“Sisters of Mercy”

“The Gypsy’s Wife”

new song (“The Other Blues Song”)

new song (“The Darkness”)

“The Partisan”

“Boogie Street”


“I’m Your Man”

“A Thousand Kisses Deep” (spoken word)

“Take This Waltz”


“So Long, Marianne”

“First We Take Manhattan”

“Famous Blue Raincoat”

“If It Be Your Will”

“Closing Time”

“I Tried to Leave You”

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Spencer Patterson

Spencer Patterson is the Editor of Las Vegas Weekly, having previously served as Managing Editor, Arts & Entertainment Editor and ...

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