Music legends bring out our inner-hypocrite. We love their music, but prefer the earlier stuff; we buy tickets to see them in concert but afterwards we complain about how it just wasn’t the same; somewhere between being young(er) and arrogant and having to face our own mortality, we complain about the ageing state of musical legends but then shed tears and utter creepy, desolate one-liners (like “The world is now a sadder place”) when we learn of their deaths or retirements from the music scene.
Leonard Cohen isn’t a hypocrite. “I’m old and the mirrors don’t lie,” he confesses in one of his songs off his latest album, Old Ideas (which also gave the title to the world tour he’s currently on), yet another poetic comeback about love and loss, after almost eight years of no album releases. “Listeners have been relying on Cohen’s heartbroken yet grinning, world-weary yet hopeful voice to get through that night for decades,” observed Time magazine. “And this album should continue that for a whole new batch of souls.”
But as charming as he remains today, not even Cohen, the eternal poet/troubadour, is spared the unnecessary comments about his age or his seemingly fading voice in some of his concert reviews. Still, others prefer to commend his maturity, taking delight in discovering a new side to him, more charming and wise, and a deeper, gruff voice, reminiscent of Tom Waits.
Because just like a Christmas party hosted at the local culture house in any small Danish town, his concerts attract so many different people – of all ages, musical tastes, backgrounds etc – to whom he is the common denominator through the lyrical beauty, truthfulness and simple wisdom of his songs. “All I’ve got to put in a song is my own experience,” he tells The Guardian.
And his human experience will invariably mirror those of his fans. ‘Dance me to the end of love’ reminds one of his parents’ love story, ‘I’m your man’ is the song another heard on her first date with her boyfriend, while ‘Chelsea Hotel’ gives a third butterflies at the thought of an impossible love from long ago. Even if you’re not a dedicated Cohen fan, most people have a song that rings deep inside them and summons a love story: a memory that makes their hearts hop. Just ask them.
That’s why he’s persevered for 50 years, releasing 12 studio albums, four poetry books and two novels (and also a lot of private time). This is his first visit to Denmark, a country where he is particularly popular (hence the choice of the spacious grounds of Rosenborg Castle) since his triumphant 2008-2010 world tour, which featued a touching three-hour long concert in Odense. Like then, he will also be joined by the British female duo The Webb Sisters.
Leonard Cohen & The Webb Sisters
Saturday 19:30; 770kr