When I was a teenager, I remember hearing “Suzanne,” by Leonard Cohen, for the first time. I was haunted – by the sound of Cohen’s voice, by the images in the song. I never became a HUGE fan – I liked his music a lot, but didn’t particularly educate myself either about his life or his non-musical oeuvre. I was content simply to enjoy his music.
A week or so ago, T and I saw him at the new Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn. (Somehow, coincidentally, unexpectedly, bizarrely, we found ourselves seated – literally – next to L. As in, T and L shared an armrest. Hysterical. Crazy.)
Anyway, it was, for me a bit of a revelation.
Cohen is, if you don’t know,a 78-year-old Jewish balladeer and poet and novelist and former zen monk from Montreal. His voice is deep, scratchy, resonant. Sort of like Tom Waits on a lot of valium. And without Waits’s antipathy to tonality. Cohen’s voice is, in fact, beautiful, in an utterly idiosyncratic way.
I knew all of that before last night.
What I hadn’t known – perhaps because I simply hadn’t been paying attention – is that he’s not just a great musician, he’s a sex god.
When he finished, I looked over – at T, and at L. Both of them were melted, L literally fanning herself. I felt much the same way.
It was just awesome.