Leonard Cohen Live at the Isle of Wight 1970
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The audio quality is a sonic revelation, obliterating my expectations for a live multi-track recording from 1970 staged in front of 600,000 fans that had gotten rowdier as the festival progressed. Jimi Hendrix had performed his set before Cohen, with the crowd setting various things on fire like a piano and the scaffolding surrounding the stage. But the music was not to be denied, as Leonard Cohen slowly took the stage after they found a replacement piano and organ.
At 4 a.m. on August 31, 1970, the man introduced to the crowd as "a novelist, a poet, an author, a singer", began his intimate performance that encompassed most of the hits that had earned him acclaim, from "Bird On the Wire" to "Suzanne" and other well-known songs mainly from his first two albums. A nice surprise are the short stories Cohen shares and poem fragments he uses to introduce many of the songs. The crowd, who had booed previous performers like Kris Kristofferson, sat in rapt attention to the mostly acoustic set. My only quibble is that the complete audio performance by Leonard Cohen is not included on the Blu-ray. The CD version includes a couple of songs not shown in the documentary. I have no idea if the footage simply did not exist or was simply left out at the director's discretion.Read more ›
It's a meditation on personal power. His. Yours. Mine.
Essentially, I'm trying to figure out here what happens below the surface of your life so you can --- how you access your power for career advancement, personal gain and, not least, the good of the world.
But to do that, I have to tell you a Leonard Cohen story and urge you to watch a 64-minute documentary.
Here's the story.
In l967, 32-year-old Leonard Cohen --- a novelist and poet who was just starting out as a singer/songwriter --- walked onstage at Carnegie Hall, looked out at the audience, and started shaking. "I can't do this," he said, and left the stage. In the wings, Judy Collins took his hand, led him in front of the audience again and sang "Suzanne" with him.
In 1970, 35-year-old Leonard Cohen agreed to perform at England's Isle of Wight music festival. It was not a happy event. Angered that there was a wall to keep out those who hadn't paid, some of the young festivalgoers rebelled. They tore down fences. They crashed the gates. There were fires and fights. There was garbage.
600,000 people. Living outside. For almost five days.
At 2 in the morning of the fifth and final day, Leonard Cohen was awakened and asked to hurry onstage. There was no piano, no organ. Cohen, in his pajamas, insisted on both. And then he went back to his trailer to get dressed.
At 4 in the morning, Cohen took the stage. He looked into the darkness and, gently, slowly, told a story of going to the circus as a kid and liking only the moment when the audience lit matches in the darkness. He asked the crowd to light matches, and he waited while they did, and then he sang "Bird on a Wire.Read more ›
By Peter Solomon
Memories, Dreams and Reflections - Isle Wight 1970.
Me and... Leonard Cohen at Isle of Wight 1970 and 2009
By Peter Solomon 1970 and 2009
I was just two months shy of my seventeenth birthday at 4 am on August 31 1970 and I knew all the words, I was maybe 50 to 75 yards from the stage just outside the overrun VIP and Press enclosure and Leonard Cohen was about to appear on stage at the Isle of Wight Festival.
My older brother Chris was to blame for me being there, for he introduced me to Leonard Cohen, and I had become smitten, I had caught the Leonard Cohen bug big time, which I would be unable to shake off for the rest of my life.
I knew all the songs and all about Marianne, Suzanne and Nancy. And I knew Tonight Will Be Fine, for I had waited 5 days and nights with hardly any sleep, after hitch hiking 250 miles with a friend Johnny Vernon from Manchester in the north of England to be there. I had just slept through most of Jimi Hendrix's set, though disappointed to have missed him, that was unimportant as I had come to see Leonard Cohen, and was slowing moving forward to get as close as possible to the stage.
Looking back now after nearly 40 years it seems like a dream and I have woken up and am watching the DVD of my Dream, compulsively, 3 consecutive times so far and also listened to the whole CD. It's as if time had become dislocated and the warp and woof of reality expanded to include a 40 year Present Moment.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of the most amazing talents of our time... A Shakespeare of song.Published 17 months ago by George Van Laethem
I'm a huge fan of Leonard Cohen, but he looks and sounds like he's dying during this concert- shagged-out and pill-rattled. It's a distinctly unpleasant thing for me to watch. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Paul A. Tatara
A great video of Cohen at an early concert in his career. Very nice video for Cohen fans!Published 22 months ago by deejay512
Very good audiophile recording for a live venue. Captures the young Cohen and all his rambling blather but it's precious and wonderful.Published on August 24, 2014 by Brian W Beck