Hear Bob Dylan Cover Leonard Cohen's "Dance Me to the End of Love" Live in Montreal

It's the first time since 1988 that he's covered a Cohen's song live

BY Megan LaPierrePublished Oct 30, 2023

Having just taken Toronto to unexpected and rewarding places with his band amid the North American tour behind 2020's Rough and Rowdy Ways, Bob Dylan kept his momentum going in Montreal.

While many had speculated that he would close his back-to-back nights at Massey Hall with a cover of Gordon Lightfoot or homage to Robbie Robertson and the Band, he played a rendition of Grateful Dead's "Stella Blue" that has been in heavy rotation for this stint on the road — however, the Montreal audience got the dedicatory cover they were hoping for when Dylan performed hometown hero Leonard Cohen's "Dance Me to the End of Love" last night (October 29).

This marks only the second time Dylan has performed one of Cohen's songs in concert, the first being in 1988 when he covered "Hallelujah" at performances in Montreal and Los Angeles before it went on to be covered by numerous famous artists, including Jeff Buckley, Rufus Wainwright and John Cale. "Dance Me to the End of Love" was also from Cohen's 1984 LP Various Positions and became the late legend's go-to concert opener.

Cohen himself wasn't much for playing cover songs in concert and never took on a Dylan tune live, but he was a noted fan, speaking about Dylan's Nobel Prize win during his final public appearance before his death.

Listen to fan-recorded audio of Dylan's take on "Dance Me to the End of Love" below, where you can witness at least one audience member exclaiming, "YES! OH MY GOD!" when they realized what was happening.


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