Pop Matters – Review: SONGS FROM THE ROAD

From the nimble and spirited “Lover, Lover, Lover” that opens the disc to the version of “Closing Time” that rounds it out, there’s really not a bum moment to be found here. “Chelsea Hotel,” anchored by soulful organ, strikes a perfect note of weathered nostalgia, and its closing line, “I don’t even think of you that often,” continues to kill. “The Partisan” is a showcase for both Cohen’s vocals (especially the way he growls his way through the French portion of the lyrics) and Javier Mas’s amazing bandurria playing. “Famous Blue Raincoat” strikes with a delicate blend of accusation and forgiveness, aided by Dino Soldo’s light saxophone work. Throughout the disc, it’s striking how Cohen makes you not only reconsider songs you might have dismissed as lesser efforts (such as “That Don’t Make It Junk” from 2001’s Ten New Songs), but also marvel at how songs you’ve heard a thousand times before (such as “Hallelujah,” “Suzanne,” or “Bird on the Wire”) continue to offer something new. — Pop Matters, September 24, 2010 http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/130635-leonard-cohensongs-from-the-road/

Blogcritics – Review: Song From the Road

Unlike other concerts where there is a clear demarcation of roles for both performer and audience, the line at these concerts seemed to blur somewhat. It was like the connection between the two was so strong each song became an experience to share, not something one sat back and passively observed. One of the best examples of this is the recording of Cohen’s performance of “Hallelujah” recorded at the Coachella Music Festival in California… With a crowd that size standing in front of a stage you’d expect to notice people being distracted or looking around. Not on this night at this moment. Every face seemed riveted on the slightly stooped grey suited figure holding the microphone, hanging on his every word and awaiting their cue to start singing along with the chorus. As producer Sanders says in his notes, if he had to pick a moment as a highlight from the tour it would be hearing the tens of thousands of voices raised in a chorus of one word at the end of the song — hallelujah. – Blogcritics, September 16, 2010 http://blogcritics.org/music/article/music-cddvd-review-leonard-cohensongs/#ixzz0zlEreEpY

Seattle Post Globe – Review: Live at the Isle of Wight

Once in a while, though, the poet breaks through to the people and poetry becomes prophecy. The world stops spinning for a sacred moment in which everyone joins the dance. Such an occasion was the 31st of August, 1970, at four in the morning, when, after five days of wallowing in their own sludge, 600,000 people awoke to a similarly ragged and haunted Leonard Cohen. For one angelic hour, both performer and audience occupied the column of smoke that rose from the singer’s breath and was carried away by passing clouds. – Seattle Post Globe, March 8, 2010 http://seattlepostglobe.org/2010/03/08/film-review-leonard-cohen-live-at-the-isle-ofwight-1970/

New Haven Register – Review: Live at the Isle of Wight

There have been very few live albums over the last decade as wonderful, essential, illuminating and jaw-droppingly beautiful as Leonard Cohen’s Live At The Isle of Wight, a CD/DVD package that should be in the collection of not only fans of the legendary singer/songwriter, but of music fans in general. – New Haven Register, October 23, 2009 http://www.nhregister.com/articles/2009/10/23/entertainment/doc4ae0993be10f9826971270.txt

Quietus – Review: Live In London

Every song is a gem. There is no second of filler. What transpires, in the Cohen tradition, is a constant flicker from spiritual profundity to slight teasing. It all perfectly slots together; the dark sexual stirrings of ‘I’m Your Man’ and ‘Ain’t No Cure For Love to the world weary cynicism of ‘Everybody Knows’ to blasts of optimism such as ‘Anthem’ and ‘Democracy’. — Quietus, April 14, 2009 http://thequietus.com/articles/01475-leonard-cohen-live-in-london-album-review

The Detroit Free Press – Review: Live In London

Twenty-six songs offer a full sweep of moods as Cohen gets sentimental, gruff, wry and intimate, traipsing through a set (“In My Secret Life,” “Sisters of Mercy,” “Bird on a Wire”) that visits all the key corners of his five-decade career. Fans enamored of “Hallelujah” in its assorted covers — by John Cale and Jeff Buckley, among others — can absorb it here in the masterful hands of its creator. The majestic, stirring performance is a typical high point in a 2-1/2 hour show that delivers one after another. — The Detroit Free Press, April 5, 2009

The Independent – Review: Live In London

But what becomes immediately apparent listening to this wonderful double-album is that Cohen is possessed of a rare and remarkable ability to make colossal venues like the Royal Albert Hall and even the O2 Dome shrink to about the size of a police-box – or, more appropriately, a suburban boudoir. Blessed with the most sensual basso profundo since Barry White, he makes the act of singing for thousands seem like pillow-talk for one’s ears alone. For confirmation, just listen to the mighty roar of acclaim which greets the now famous line from “Tower Of Song” about being “born with the gift of a golden voice”: it’s because every member of his audience is, in a sense, there alone with Leonard as he croons through romantic favourites like “Sisters Of Mercy”, “Suzanne”, “I’m Your Man”, “Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye” and “Ain’t No Cure For Love”, or shares the world-weary wit of “Everybody Knows” and “Democracy”. – The Independent, March 27, 2009 http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/reviews/album-leonard-cohenlive-in-london-columbia-1655061.html

The Phantom Tollbooth – Review: Dear Heather

Spiritual concerns are evident throughout and the album is topped and tailed by questions of love’s stamina to hold out in a world that must weary it beyond measure. In Lord Byron’s “Go No More A Roving” there is suggestion it needs a breather and the penultimate track, “The Faith,” nicked from a Quebec folk song, asks, “Oh love, aren’t you tired yet?” Of course a recent event that must have left love short of breath was 9/11 and Cohen gives it a short reflection leaving a few hints at answers (“Some people say/It’s what we deserve/For sins against g-d/For crimes in the world”) as he asks why. But in the end he is happy to get on with it in the confusion, refusing conclusions (“I wouldn’t know/I’m just holding the fort/Since the day/they wounded New York”)… Like Cohen himself, his music is tailored and tasteful, handsome on the outside and tender of soul within. Earthly pleasure and heavenly desire rarely compliment each other so well. — The Phantom Tollbooth, November 21, 2004 http://www.tollbooth.org/2004/reviews/lcohen.html

Blender – Review: Dear Heather

Dear Heather is top Cohen: It begins by addressing women (“Because Of”) in a ripe, humane baritone, then gets dramatically literary (“The Letters”), looks at 9/11 (“On that Day”), and dovetails back toward sex with the subtle yet explosive title piece. Its lyrics read: “Dear Heather/Please walk by me again/ With a drink in your hand/And your legs all white/From the winter.” — Blender, October 2004