Friday, 18 July 2008

Leonard Cohen>Hallelujah

For 6 months I have had one event in my diary that I've been waiting to come round - and last night it arrived! My Dad and I went to see Leonard Cohen. All the reviews of his current tour (the first for 15 years) suggested that it was going to be a great night - and we were not disappointed.

The band playing with him were impeccable and you might have expected his 73 year old voice to have detriorated but whilst it was low, it was still strong! The first half of the 3 hour concert contained some classic songs and whilst the quality was great it all felt just a little too perfect. When the second half began we were looking for something to give just a little more edge. The second half opened with the brilliant 'Tower of Song', then the classic 'Suzanne' - things were starting to hot up - then came the best performance of the night - 'Hallelujah' (Various Positions, 1984).

'Hallelujah' is probably Cohen's best known song. There have been a number of good cover versions - Jeff Buckley's I think the best - and Shrek brought it to a younger audience. Our children even sang it at their school concert last year. Last night, though, the song had a 5 minute ovation from 18,000 people when it came to a close. There was an intensity in the performance that simply wasn't matched for the rest of the night (although If it Be Your Will came closest).

The line that stuck out for me in the song (and Cohen has a number of different versions of the lyrics) was 'Love is not a victory march, it's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah.' What a great line that is - yesterday it sent shivers down my spine! And how much we Christians have to learn from it about the way of the cross...


RJ said...

What a gift to see LC with your pop! Blessings abound.I agree that "Hallelujah" is one of his finest tunes (and Jeff Buckley's version is primo - I also adore "Anthem" and "Democracy is Coming to the USA" plus a bunch of others...)When I was in Tucson, AZ we used this song in a Good Friday worship time - very powerful - thank you for your good and important words, brother!

Nick Coke said...

RJ - He sang all of the above and his rendition of 'Democracy is Coming to the USA' was top-notch. It's great being able to go with my Dad to concerts - we went to see Dylan last year. Let's see what next year brings!

Cosmo said...

I must admit that I first came across this song through Shrek! It's a nice song with clever lyrics - I like the fact if you have no musical theory knowledge that first verse has odd lyrics.

This 'hallelujah' seems to come from resignation - not the typical Hallelu Yah of many of the Psalms (and Gospel meetings over the years). Although I think I can hear Job resigning himself to say, 'The Lord gives and the Lord takes away; the name of the Lord be praised - (hallelujah).

Speaking of 'the name', I like how Cohen says he didn't take the name (presumably God's??) in vain - he didn't even know the name. Only he does, and it is found in the next verse - the Lord of Song.