Leonard Cohen’s World Tour

At his induction to the American Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on 10 March 2008, multi-award winning Canadian singer, songwriter, poet and novelist, Leonard Cohen released details of his 2008 world tour – his first in more than fifteen years. Many of the world tour venues were sold out within days of tickets being released, indicating that appreciative fans are waiting in keen anticipation for this talented and enduring artist to be in, or near, their home town.

The Leonard Cohen tour began on 11 May 2008 with a memorable performance at the Fredericton Playhouse in Fredericton, Canada. Critics were lavish in their praise of Leonard Cohen and his nine multi-instrumentalist band members, agreeing that the long wait for this live performance was well worth while. Band members Roscoe Beck (musical director, bass, background vocals), Neil Larsen (keyboard, accordion, brass instruments), Bob Metzger (guitar, steel guitar, vocals), Javier Mas (bandurria, laud, archilaud, twelve-string guitar), Rafael Gayol (drums, percussion), Dino Soldo (keyboard, saxophone, wind instruments, vocals), Sharon Robertson (vocals) and musical duo The Webb Sisters (vocals), are all accomplished musicians in their own right, and together they are nothing short of amazing.

After the performance in Fredericton, the tour moved on to Halifax, Charlottetown, Glace Bay and Moncton. Upcoming performances include three nights in St. John’s from 25 May, before visiting Saguenay, Kitchener, Hamilton and Toronto. The European leg of the tour kicks off with three performances in Dublin, Ireland, moving on to Manchester in the UK before heading back to Canada to perform at the Montreal Jazz Festival on 23, 24 and 25 June. The Glastonbury Festival in the UK on 29 June is the next stop before heading off to Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Holland, back to the UK for concerts in Edinburgh and London, and then Portugal, Spain, Germany, Italy, Greece and back to the UK for the Big Chill Festival at Ledbury on 3 August 2008.

Leonard Cohen was born in Westmount, Quebec, on 21 September 1934. He published his first book of poetry in 1956, followed by his first novel in 1963. Although he is an accomplished poet and novelist, it is Cohen’s music talent that he is most recognized for. His 1967 album, Songs of Leonard Cohen, contains many of his very first songs, which are believed to have been inspired largely by folk music melodies. In the musically turbulent 1970s, Cohen embraced pop, cabaret and world music genres and since the 1980s his singing style has changed from high baritone to the lower registers of bass baritone and bass. His work often focuses on complex interpersonal relationships, as well as themes of isolation, depression, sexuality and religion.

Leonard Cohen’s songs have been used in numerous films and have been covered by countless artists, often translated into other languages. He has also been the inspiration behind the work of many well-known artists. It is little wonder then, that the Leonard Cohen 2008 World Tour is playing to sold-out audiences.