Youth and the moment may have grabbed the spotlight during Fashion Week, but last night, the New York stage belonged entirely to a sexy 74-year-old rocker named Leonard Cohen. Looking rakish as ever in his slim black suit and fedora, angled just so, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer dug in for a three-hour, sold-out show at the newly-refurbished Beacon Theater. It was his first U.S. concert in 15 years and scalpers were charging $750 a ticket.
“It’s been a long time since I stood on a stage in New York,” Cohen told the wildly-enthusiastic crowd, who greeted nearly every Cohen hit with an ovation. “Then I was 60 years old—just a kid with a crazy dream. I’ve since taken a lot of drugs—Prozac, Ritalin, Tylenol Extra Strength.” Nobody works a lyric like Cohen, who was by turns mournful, gnomic and effortlessly droll. (Small wonder that he was Bono’s muse.) Poking fun at his years in a Buddhist monastery, he quipped at one point: “I turned to a study of religion and philosophies—but cheerfulness kept breaking through.” And so it did all night—his raspy voice sounding no worse for wear—in the way he ran through his songbook and skipped off the stage in between encores. We didn’t want to let him go and Cohen obliged us by returning to sing First We Take Manhattan, Famous Blue Raincoat and then, I Tried to Leave You. Finally he did, showing the youngsters in the house what style is all about.
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