Pop Music’s Perpetual Old Man, Now 74, Is Back on the Road
Nicholas Roberts for The New York Times
Leonard Cohen at the Beacon Theater on Thursday night. The concert was the first in the United States in 15 years.
By NATE CHINEN Published: February 20, 2009
Mr. Cohen, 74, left little room for disappointment in a show that lasted just over three hours (with an intermission) and featured more than two dozen songs. The evening doubled as a preview, coming with the eagerly anticipated announcement of a North American tour this spring. Mr. Cohen began his return to the road last year, with a slew of dates in Europe and his native Canada; one of them yielded “Live in London,” an album and DVD due out next month from Columbia.
The rigors of performing have reinvigorated Mr. Cohen, whose trademark black suit and fedora conveyed a somber chic. He literally skipped offstage at the end of each half, and after each of his several encores. He sashayed back on, with the slyest of grins. And his voice, that grave and inflexible instrument, occasionally escaped its granitelike restraints. On “Chelsea Hotel #2,” one of the best-received songs of the night, he sang with the resonant candor of his younger self, though that moment was brief and bittersweet.