Sunday, November 14, 2010

Cohen in Auckland

Leonard Cohen performed in Auckland October 28 and 29. We went to the concert on the 29th. He looked a little thinner than when I saw him 20 months ago, and still put on a great show. A new element was a fabulous Spanish Guitar player originally from Zaragoza (Javier Mas). Cohen's team have picked a band that compliments his music with great variation of colour and tone, while leaving the essential purity of the lyric lines and their metaphoric journeys untouched. It would be so easy to drown out his poetry, but they haven't. His singing voice has matured into a monumental instrument, full of weight and gravity, but still allowing his often ironic humour to lightly play over the lines. Many musicians and  bands eventually become self-parody acts or just regurgitaters of a greatest hits setlist, but Cohen's arrangements breathe new life into some of the most profound works of our culture. The man and his music are both living taonga.

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