Leonard Cohen Live In London

Leonard Cohen Live In London
The fact that Cohen, in his mid-70s, is more popular than ever before is both pleasing and a bit surprising. By his high standards, his last couple of albums have been rather disappointing, but Cohen sagely relies on the treasure trove of his earlier material on current world tours. Live In London, filmed at his O2 Arena show last July, is already a best seller and it will please both recent concertgoers seeking a souvenir and fans who couldn't afford a ticket. A typically top-notch cast of musicians and backing singers are on hand and the master gives them space to shine, while the cinematography is effectively direct and unfussy. An excellent bonus feature on the DVD is a lyric sheet for all the songs played. Cohen begins the 25-song set by humbly thanking the audience for their presence then launches into a haunting gypsy noir version of "Dance Me To The End Of Love." It's hard to argue with Cohen's crowd-pleasing choice to stick with his best-known songs but it's too bad he completely ignores material from his bleakest tour-de-force, Songs Of Love And Hate. His signature wit is well in evidence, as when he jokes, "I last played London when I was 60. A kid with a crazy dream." Cohen may well ache in the places he used to play but we can be immensely grateful he still plays. (Sony)