So. I learned today that Leonard Cohen had died earlier in the week. It was not entirely unexpected – in fact, it had sort of been announced a few weeks ago. Yet, I have so much emotional baggage riding on his songs; there’s a great sense of loss.
The last time I saw Cohen live was in September 2009, in Barcelona, on his 75th birthday. On that occasion, he played a short set, followed by a break that made us think it would be a short night as he had recently been ill, but he came back and did a very long set from the back catalogue, really showing the breath and quality of that catalogue. The man has so many great songs to his name.
One song that came out really well that night was Famous Blue Raincoat. It’s one of many songs that I will always bring with me, that will always tell me a story, and that will always recall other stories. This, I think, more than anything else was the gift of Leonard Cohen.
Cohen, of course, continued making new material right to the end – possibly despite his own wishes. His very last album You Want it Darker is haunting, and the title song both beautiful and classic Cohen.
Thanks for everything. Rest in Peace.