Monday, November 17, 2014

Why does Leonard Cohen kneel down on stage so often during concerts in old age? =====================One cannot imagine there are many popular concerts in which the star spends as much time on his knees as Leonard Cohen. In many of his moving three-and-a-half hour performances, Cohen spends a good deal of the concert kneeling in the middle of the stage surrounded by the nine members of his band. Although he is 80 years old, Cohen certainly did not appear to be kneeling because he was tired of standing. He bounced up and down and danced on and off the stage with the agility of a man who seems much younger. Cohen kneels through much of his concert because much of the time on stage Cohen is praying. A Jew-Bu praying. A Jewish Buddhist. His songs are offered reverently to a hidden unnamed presence that permeates even those songs that celebrate the pleasures of physical desire and passion. Cohen prays about forgiveness; he prays about pain. He offers up the brokenness of life longing for redemption and healing: O, gather up the brokenness Bring it to me now The fragrance of those promises You never dared to vow The splinters that you carried The cross you left behind Come healing of the body Come healing of the mind And let the heavens hear it The penitential hymn Come healing of the spirit Come healing of the limb Leonard: Behold the gates of mercy In arbitrary space And none of us deserving Of cruelty or the grace O, solitude of longing Where love has been confined Come healing of the body Come healing of the mind O, see the darkness yielding That tore the light apart Come healing of the reason Come healing of the heart O, troubledness concealing An undivided love The heart beneath is teaching To the broken heart above Cohen is deeply aware of his own mortality. He admits his failures and acknowledges with profound vulnerability the confusing conflicted path that is characteristic of so much of life. At times Cohen sounds like the Apostle Paul longing to be away from this troubled world and at rest in God. Paul prays: we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. (II Corinthians 5:8) Cohen seems to share Paul’s yearning for release from this painful world when he sings: Going home Without my sorrow Going home Sometime tomorrow Going home To where it’s better Than before Going home Without my burden Going home Behind the curtain Going home Without the costume That I wore He wants to write a love song An anthem of forgiving A manual for living with defeat But most of all Cohen prays and performs with an enduring and profound trust in the power of love. Tell me again when I’ve been to the river And I’ve taken the edge off my thirst Tell me again we’re alone and I’m listening Listening so hard that it hurts Tell me again when I’m clean and I’m sober Tell me again when I’ve seen through the horror Tell me again tell me over and over Tell me that you’ll love me then Amen Cohen makes no apology for his faith in the hidden power that his concerts celebrate. He is not embarrassed to admit in public his awareness that the long journey of his life has been haunted by unseen powers that he cannot fully explain or entirely grasp. His deep faith in the transcendent and abiding power of love gives a Cohen concert the profound sense that the audience has for a moment been invited to enter a temple. Cohen is still praying and inviting his audiences to join with him in a corporate act of deep devotion.




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Leonard Cohen’s Onstage Dance Moves
Posted on December 2, 2012 by DrHGuy | 2 Comments

Montreal Gazette Proposes, DrHGuy Discloses
In spite of his long-undeserved reputation as the doyen of depression, Leonard Cohen is, in fact, something of a song and dance man. Performing before 12,600 devoted fans at the Bell Centre Wednesday night, Montreal’s favourite son worked his three default moves – the crouch, the jaunty two-step and the full kneel in soulful supplication – with good-natured grace. Watching the 78-year-old singer-songwriter and poet tucking into his formidable repertoire with such glee, it was hard to imagine anything quite as life-affirming. [emphasis mine]

Opening lines of Bernard Perusse’s Concert Review: Leonard Cohen at the Bell Centre; Nov. 28, 2012 (The Montreal Gazette, Nov 29, 2012).

Ongoing readers will perhaps recognize something familiar about the notion of Cohen’s ” three default moves – the crouch, the jaunty two-step and the full kneel in soulful supplication” since these have been discussed in some detail in previous Heck Of A Guy posts. The following content is from this site’s archives.

The Crouch
From Crouching Cohen, Hidden Icon: (posted July 22, 2012):

The Cohen Crouch In Posed Photos
When I recently posted the above photo at The Inexplicable Leonard Cohen, I rhetorically asked, “Is there any other icon who could look cool in this pose?” While I haven’t come up with another icon with that capacity, I did recall that this was not the only photo of the ever more inexplicable Leonard Cohen himself assuming a similar posture.1 (click on thumbnails to enlarge image)


The Cohen Crouch In Performance Photos
The true epiphany, however, was the realization that these crouches were precursors of the moves Leonard Cohen performed onstage during the 2008-2010 World Tour. (click on thumbnails to enlarge image)


The Jaunty Two-Step
While I can’t be certain, I suspect that Mr Perusse’s “jaunty two-step” refers to the move known in these parts as “white man dancing,” which has been covered here many times, including According To Leonard Cohen, The Future Has White Folks Dancing (posted February 4, 2009):2

White Man Dancing
There’ll be the breaking of the ancient
western code
Your private life will suddenly explode
There’ll be phantoms
There’ll be fires on the road
and the white man dancing
You’ll see a woman
hanging upside down
her features covered by her fallen gown
and all the lousy little poets
coming round
tryin’ to sound like Charlie Manson
and the white man dancin’
~From “The Future” by Leonard Cohen

The concerts of the Leonard Cohen World Tour have featured, as noted in a previous post, Cohen running, skipping, and performing “high kicks.”

As it turns out, he has also taken to illustrating the “white man dancing” lyrics of “The Future,” as demonstrated in the videos below.3

In the first part of the tour, the dance was a measured shuffle, carefully executed.

Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada (May 23, 2008)

Sometime during the next two months, the dance became more adventuresome.

Leonard Cohen – The Future – Lisboa (July 19, 2008)

The Full Kneel
Well, we like to call it the “Full Cohen Kneel,” but that would be splitting hairs. Regardless, three years ago, Heck Of A Guy was posting about someone else imitating the already established Full Cohen Kneel: Dino Soldo Executes Full Cohen Kneel At Leonard Cohen San Jose Concert (posted Nov 15, 2009):