The Watcher Cat

The Watcher Cat

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Quality of a Leader

Toward the end of last year, I got to see Leonard Cohen in concert at Madison Square garden--which he filled, quite thoroughly, by the way. He played from 8:30 (OK, late start) through to 11:45p.m., with one 15 minute break.

One of the things about Cohen's performance style that really struck me, and I think must reflect the man himself, is admiration for his fellow artists on storage--musicians, singers,etc.--and his desire to showcase their talent and honor them.

So Cohen extends "I Tried to Leave You," allowing each of his fellow artists to shine, and put her or his own stamp on it:

Notice how he identifies each player by name, and, for the musicians, their instrument/role in the overall show.

Again, with "Take This Waltz":

Note the soubriquets, too--the "incomparable Sharon Robinson;" the "sublime Webb Sisters" (always identified by name, too); the "sweet shepherd of strings" Javier Mas.

(By the bye, these performers absolutely deserve the praise Cohen generously heaps on them (just visit their linked sites).)

And, easy as it would be to deploy this excellent artists as background, Cohen cedes whole songs to Robinson and the Webb Sisters, and "Who By Fire" is now as much Javier Mas as Cohen, et al:

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