Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 23 October 2014

Belfast says a mighty hallelujah for Cohen

Veteran Leonard Cohen performs at the Odyssey

George Michael turned it into a disco, Kylie into a party, Bruce into the best night in a bar ever.

Last night Leonard Cohen and his Unified Heart Touring Company turned the soulless barn of Belfast’s Odyssey into the best cafe in Europe, one of those all-night bars in Paris known to the few.

Of course, when you get a standing ovation before you’ve a note growled out then you’re among friends.

Those who don’t get Cohen miss a treat. Yes there are the songs of loss and loneliness, but leavened with a wit drier than a drought in the sahara.

And songs of love among the greatest ever written.

Kicking off to Dance Me To the End of Love a near-full house of mainly middle-aged reliving the bedsit years moved with every note. And clung on to every word. It was almost a revivalist meeting and not just because he spent a lot of time kneeling on the carpet.

With a perfect band a special mention must go to the backing trio of Cohen collaborator and lover Sharon Robinson and sisters Patti and Charley Webb.

And how could you not love a man who writes, “I fought against the bottle, but I had to do it drunk”.

Hallelujah won a deserving standing ovation and a place in hell for Simon Cowell, while you haven’t lived until you’ve seen a 74-year-old man seduce every woman in the audience during I’m Your Man.

It’s a bad world out there. Cohen provides a soundtrack to understand it. Genius.

Shane Donaghey

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It's important to treat yourself well. Constantly deferring to others will deprive you of the finer things in life. Carve time out of your busy schedule to pamper yourself. Taking a nap, solitary walk or hot bath will revive your spirits. Get into the habit of spending more money on creature comforts. Treat such as gourmet food, beautiful clothes and intriguing books are investments in your happiness. Others may object at being put farther down on your list of priorities, but that's their problem.More