The recent Leonard Cohen concert at Rogers Arena was late starting and an hour too long in my opinion, but the nearly 9,000 fans in attendance obviously loved every minute of this legend's gloomy repertoire.
In his trademark suit, Cohen sauntered onto the stage and opened with Dance Me to the End of Love. All the old girls felt warm all over and Cohen knows how to add that sardonic sense of humour that old guys love, too.
Cohen is our age (78) and has been around as long as I can remember. He has been described as 'always old' and 'born in a suit,' as the son of a Montreal haberdasher. He rocked and rolled during the '60s and '70s, consuming drugs, booze and women with gusto.
Cohen is the singer-songwriter/poet who has never lost his dignity and that's why he?ll always be a Leonard, never a Len or a Lenny - of this world, but not entirely in it.
His poems and songs span decades of our years and his output is truly amazing. His latest studio recording is his 12th. His new Old Ideas concert featured recent tracks that fit right in with the classic Amen and Come Healing and the deep, gravelly voice, although not what it once was, mingled with the harmonies of backup singers, longtime collaborator Sharon Robinson and sisters Hattie and Charley Webb.
The early reference, "I'd like to stay on the road for another few years mostly because I want to start smoking again when I turn 80, and I don't want to do it alone," sounded like the lead in to yet another reincarnation, another re-assessment of past burdens, troubles and sorrows. The crowd was entranced.
Cohen lifted his hat in respect to the band members as he introduced them, the stand-out being Neil Larsen on the Hammond B3. The band was spectacular all around and Cohen moved smoothly to deliver A Thousand Kisses Deep to a crowd that held its breath. A poem describing the frailty of love and body. We can all relate to Canada's coolest troubadour. Of course, Hallelujah was a triumph.
Before the event, we spent the afternoon at the Vancouver Aquarium and I fell in love at Penguin Point. Those little South African penguins are smaller than they appear on TV. It is the speed of their swimming that makes them so endearing. The Amazon Rainforest is a treat with sloths, ibis and butterflies the size of your hand. And I loved the up-close observations of the bats lunching on bananas.
Jeanette Dunagan is an Okanagan artist who has lived in Kelowna for more than 30 years. Her column appears each week in the Okanagan Saturday. Email her at