Earlier this morning I happened upon this live recording of Leonard Cohen’s recent concert at the Beacon theater in New York. I listened to it over the blare of megaphoned trucks and the clinking of public school xylophone rehearsals. In my own uneasiness about North Korea, letting my mind lazily conjure apocolyptic prophecies, I was caught by the second song, ‘the future,’ which had the 74 year old Cohen ferociously hissing doomsday anxieties:
Give me back the Berlin wall /Give me Stalin and St Paul/Give me Christ /Or give me Hiroshima/Destroy another fetus now /We dont like children anyhow /Ive seen the future, baby:/It is murder /Things are going to slide/in all directions/
Being a Cohen fan, albeit ambivalent about his affinity in the past decades for synth-jazz, I was blown away by the power and quality of this performance. The man is older than John McCain, for Christ’s sake. If Burrough’s is the grandfather of punk, Cohen is the grandfather of, shit, I don’t know, grandfathers? He just owns it. All the songs, even recent ones, are impressively arranged with a live band- no cheesy, pixelated, eurofied, Bozz Scaggs bullshit here. Give it a listen, It’s affecting.
This video is pretty classic, also: