“He’s an addiction”: U2 pay emotional tribute to Leonard Cohen

The Irish band paid tribute during a show in Cohen's native Canada.

U2 have paid an emotional tribute to the late Leonard Cohen during a show in Toronto – with Bono hailing him as “an addiction I can’t give up”.

The iconic Irish band, who are currently touring to celebrate the 30th anniversary of ‘The Joshua Tree’, paid tribute at a show in Toronto over the weekend.

Bono said: “Tonight we hold onto some things, as you let go of others. I’m not quite sure how to let it go, but I know tonight I’m holding onto the music of Leonard Cohen, thinking about it today. It’s been on my mind. He’s an addiction I’m not ready to give up, so I’m going to sing this one to Leonard Cohen.”

The singer then instructed the 50,000 fans present to light up the Rogers Centre with their phones – before launching into a cover of Cohen’s ‘Suzanne’. You can watch an excerpt of their cover below.

He said: ” Just think. Think of Leonard. He called us friends. Really, we were just fans. That was okay by me. For Leonard Cohen. Stay with me. That’s beautiful. Stars coming out for Leonard. Different part of the country, but you know he loved this city. Stay with me now. I want to try something.”

He also opened up on his friendship with the singer – and recalled his desire to smoke a cigarette on his 80th birthday.

” I asked him, ‘Leonard, what do you want to do on your 80th? Have you made any plans?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, I want to smoke a cigarette.’ [I said] ‘But you’d given up cigarettes for 27 years,’ [and he said] ‘I’m just going to have one.’ We could all be so lucky to live a life like that.”

U2 are scheduled to bring their Joshua Tree tour to the UK next month – performing at London’s Twickenham Stadium on July 8 and 9.