Leonard Cohen has always been to some more of a poet than a musician, but it's hard to deny that even in his golden years, his booming voice still carries a weight that has not waned. The live recording contains significant passages that are spoken rather than sung, creating a prophetic effect on "A Thousand Kisses Deep" and "If It Be Your Will." The man who has earned the right to rest on his laurels and phone in it takes great care to project to every corner of the hall and physically shift with the songs. He takes creative liberties here and there with his creations, tingeing "Bird on a Wire" with bluesy flourishes and instrumental ornaments and addressing the crowd on "Tower of Song," and throughout, he toys with syllabification and word stresses to rejuvenate his masterpieces.
Throughout, the accompanying band backs him up perfectly with supreme talent, tackling all genres Cohen has dipped his toes into. But to truly understand the depth and character of Cohen's performance in Dublin's O2 Arena, one needs to view the sight of a grinning Cohen, waving his hat and skipping off stage to a standing ovation. The oft-mimicked and covered songwriter — 50 years after his initial studio album release — still manages to mesmerize audiences around the world with perpetually relevant and insightful work, leaving packed and satisfied stadiums in his wake like he does here. (Columbia)