Please click the link and view the photograph of Cohen's response to the standing applause when he walked on stage.
And all of those in the audience were grinning right back at him, just as delighted.
It *was* a special night.http://dailygleaner.canadaeast.com/---/298276
Leonard Cohen concert was a night to remember
Published Friday May 16th, 2008
"There is a crack, a crack in everything / That's how the light gets in."
- Anthem by Leonard Cohen
It is a night that I will never forget - and something that can never be taken away from our fair city.
Leonard Cohen actually did begin his first tour in 15 years on Sunday night in Fredericton.
It was one of those electric evenings that will be etched in my mind forever.
Put it this way: When my time on this mortal coil nears to a close and, if by grace, some pivotal life moments are allowed to rattle back into my mind, this night will be one of them.
The graciousness of the man with his audience, his clear gratitude and happiness as he began this journey in our presence, and the sheer musical strength of the performance were all beyond my expectations.
All I wanted, after all, was a chance to be with Shelley as we together saw the artist whose gifts she introduced to me early in our relationship, after long assuming that we had seen him in his last tour ever. The show we saw back in 1993 was great, but this was something of a far more profound depth.
To be able to simply have an evening together in our own town and ease into amazing seats in a beautiful little venue to see Leonard again would have been quite enough.
Cohen gave us more. The band was stronger overall than the nice unit that backed him in 1993, and we could literally see them work out the little jitters as the first set began.
As another great sign of the magic of it all, I have already had my chance to write my detailed analysis of the concert itself, so enough about that.
Please check out the review from Tuesday's paper if you are so inclined. Suffice it to say that Cohen sang with a strength and passion that I could have never dreamed I would see from a man who was until recently thought to be a retired septuagenarian.
The other thing that made it all so special was the personal connection that Cohen established with those of us who were privileged to be among the little throng that night. When he followed his band on the stage at 8:05 p.m., he began the night with comments of warmth towards the city that had taken him to heart during the days he quietly spent in our midst despite "all the troubles of the swollen river."
He declared "the hospitality has been impeccable" before he kicked off the concert.
He admitted some nervousness after the warm response to his second track The Future, quipping "I was kind of nervous. You know, this is the first time I've done this in 14 years. I was 60 years old the last time - just a kid with a crazy dream."
While he graciously and with frequency thanked his audience and acknowledged his bandmates back in 1993, which was one thing I always remember from that show in Toronto's O'Keefe Centre, he did so even more on Sunday.
It all reached a crescendo near the end of his second set. Leading into the set closer Take This Waltz, he spoke about the life that he chose as a poet.
He noted "this city is the home of many great poets," citing 20th century spanners Bliss Carman and Fred Cogswell, and speaking of a time when he regularly read our literary magazine The Fiddlehead.
Displaying his wit and charm yet again by referencing a legendary UNB English professor, writer and literary critic, he said, "Desmond Pacey came from here. He criticized me very severely ... I don't hold it against you."
Leonard Cohen. Here. Triumphantly starting his first tour in a decade and a half.
It makes me feel like I am just a kid with a crazy dream. But, I'm not.
It really happened. It's a night I'll never forget.
Longtime Daily Gleaner columnist Wilfred Langmaid is employed by the University of New Brunswick. He resides in Fredericton.