Leonard Cohen what could be his last-ever UK tour date last night (July 14) with a three-hour gig at the Liverpool Echo Arena.
Jogging onto the stage, the 74 year-old singer-songwriter opened with ‘Dance Me To End of Love’ in a greatest hits set that saw several standing ovations.
Backed by a six-piece band and three backing singers, Cohen introduced his band twice with such titles as the “prince of precision” for drummer Rafael Gayol and the “maestro of breath” for saxophone player Dino Soldo.
On second song ‘The Future’, the Webb Sisters, two of Cohen’s backing singers, did cartwheels during the line, “and the white girls dancing“, while on ‘Hallelujah’ he provoked huge cheers when he changed a line to sing: “I didn’t come to Liverpool to fool you“.
After the 15-minute interval, he resumed with ‘Tower of Song’ which had him laughing when he sang: “I was born like this, I had no choice, I was born with the gift of a golden voice“, an ironic reference to his gravelly vocal tones.
The crowd remained respectfully quiet for the majority of the set, but perked up on ‘First We Take Manhattan’ by clapping along.
He closed the set with the fitting ‘Closing Time’, co-written with backing singer Sharon Robinson, before coming back on to play the tongue-in-cheek ‘I Tried To Leave You’ to another round of rapturous applause.
Leonard Cohen played:
‘Dance Me To The End Of Love’
Ain’t No Cure For Love’
‘Bird On A Wire’
‘In My Secret Life’
‘Who By Fire’
‘Waiting For The Miracle’
‘Tower Of Song’
‘Sisters Of Mercy’
‘I’m Your Man’
‘Take This Waltz’
‘So Long Marianne’
‘First We Take Manhattan’
‘Famous Blue Raincoat’
If It Be Your Will’
‘I Tried To Leave You’
The gig was only his second UK date of his European tour, after playing the Mercedes-Benz World in Surrey last week (July 11).