Belfast Telegraph

Cohen coaxed back by tribute gig

Leonard Cohen was coaxed back on to the stage by a tribute gig in Ireland, his impresario has revealed.

Rob Hallett, the concert promoter who persuaded the singer and poet out of retirement, said he used a show in Dublin six years ago to win his argument.

The president of international touring at AEG Live, who also worked with Prince and on Michael Jackson's ill-fated comeback, first met his childhood hero Cohen in February 2007.

The singer, then retired in Los Angeles, was under financial pressures and the pair sat down and talked about touring.

"He had several concerns - the main one was that no one would want to see him," Hallett recalls.

"He thought no one was interested, it had been a long time. 'No one wants to see me now.'"

Despite worries about embarrassing himself, the promoter and life-long fan persuaded Cohen there was a massive audience waiting to see him mainly on the back of a two-night tribute concert in Dublin, called Came So Far For Beauty, the year before.

"I said: 'Leonard, if a bunch of people who are not that well-known can sell out two nights at The Point in Dublin just singing your songs, imagine how many nights you could sell,'" he told the Press Association.

"That was a major feature of my argument."

The bill for the tribute concerts included Lou Reed, Nick Cave, Beth Orton and Jarvis Cocker.

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