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4.8 out of 5 stars
214
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 1 February 2016
I was never a Leonard Cohen fan - he was someone who was just "there" but who I considered, with his, um, idiosyncratic vocals and his downbeat style, as something of a joke when I was growing up. You know, the whole "Laughing Lenny" bit. My sister had one of his early albums and I'd hear it through my ceiling when she'd play it at night, in her bedroom above mine. I never understood the appeal; even though in later years when I heard (and quite liked) "First We Take Manhattan", I wasn't interested enough - or brave enough - to take the plunge with an entire album.

Then he went away, and then he came back. He'd already done a round of concerts in London, and I'd heard they were great. Another round was announced and I asked my partner,almost jokingly, if she wanted to go. We both laughed at the idea, but we went. And it was....revelatory. It was, without a doubt, one of the best concerts I'd ever seen, and this double live album captures this very special experience beautifully.

Now, bear in mind the context: Cohen returned to touring because his business manager waltzed off with $5 million of his money and he needed to put something back in the bank and fast. He could have easily have knocked together a "Greatest Hits" tour: an hour and a half of the familiar, "Thank you and goodnight" and take the money. But he didn't - these concerts were over two hours long, pushing nearly three hours, and the dapper and urbane Cohen, backed by an eclectic mix of World and Jazz musicians, presented a more-than-generous overview of his career, unfolding with warmth, with love and with intelligence. As this 74 year-old man rushed on and off stage, doffed his hat to the audience, joked drolly in between songs and acknowledged the contribution of each and every one of his band members, I was in awe at his energy and his obvious, radiant enthusiasm for what he was doing and who he was doing it for. It was a thrilling, magical night and the music was rapture-style uplifting. I became a fan that night and treasure this album and the pleasure it gives me and the memories it evokes. And the songs? They remain articulate, intelligent expressions of the passion and pain of being a human being, riveting dissections of the human psyche and the soul performed with melancholic,barbed humour and slow-burning passion. If you care about music and you care about anything, you should have this album. I not only went back and dusted off the CDs in my partner's collection, but went ahead and ordered the box set of everything he'd done up until then and now buy every new release since.

Look, I'm no spring chicken, and have seen many of my idols fade or fall by the wayside. I feel lucky, however, to have lived in a time when Leonard Cohen is making music as good as this. Now, when I hear his songs I laugh - but it's a joyous laughter.
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“Live in London” – Leonard Cohen

Recorded at the O2 London Arena in 2008, this was Leonard Cohen’s only complete concert available as an album. Indeed, you can also get a complete DVD version (that is also excellent). Leonard Cohen's performance belies his age of 73 at the time of the performance. It is said that the tour took place due to the state of his finances as he controversially lost a reported $5M of his retirement nest egg. Although he sued and won, he never received a penny.

This is a joy of an album of his best work, albeit somewhat re-arranged over the years. While I have other albums by him (including the iconic ‘Songs of Love and Hate’), this is actually one of my favourites – perhaps because it’s a tad less dour and more mellow? It’s certainly easier to listen to. My 2 favourite Leonard Cohen tracks "Suzanne" and "Hallelujah" are present and correct!

Disc-1:
1. Dance Me To The End Of Love (Live In London)
2. The Future (Live In London)
3. Ain’t No Cure For Love (Live In London)
4. Bird On The Wire (Live In London)
5. Everybody Knows (Live In London)
6. In My Secret Life (Live In London)
7. Who By Fire
8. Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye (Live In London)
9. Anthem (Live In London)
10. Introduction (Live In London)
11. Tower Of Song
12. Suzanne
13. The Gypsy’s Wife (Live In London)

Disc-2:
1. Boogie Street (Live In London)
2. Hallelujah (Live In London)
3. Democracy (Live In London)
4. I’m Your Man (Live In London)
5. Recitation w/ N.L. (Live In London)
6. Take This Waltz
7. So Long, Marianne (Live In London)
8. First We Take Manhattan (Live In London)
9. Sisters Of Mercy (Live In London)
10. If It Be Your Will (Live In London)
11. Closing Time (Live In London)
12. I Tried To Leave You (Live In London)
13. Whither Thou Goest
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The music itself gets five stars. I saw this concert twice (it was that good). I was elated when I saw a vinyl version of this album was being released. The three record set includes the entire contents of the CD version and is housed in a single pocket jacket (a gatefold would of been nice). Making up for this a 4 page color booklet highlighting the concert is included. The records themselves are heavy 180 gram vinyl and are dead quiet. The music sounds better than ever (although on par with the CD version. I'm sure in this case the same digital masters were used). Garnishing the records are modern generic Sony Music labels. The set overall is nicely done and makes for both an enjoyable listen and a worthy edition to any collectors library.
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on 15 May 2017
Brilliant album of live songs made more pertinent as I was there when it was recorded. One of the all time great concerts that will live forever in my mind. The CD evokes great memories every time I hear it.
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on 12 June 2017
Absolutely outstanding live recorded album at O2 London, reflecting the genius of words, music, humour and humanity that was dear Leonard
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on 8 April 2017
Wonderful album, possibly beaten just by Songs From The Road. Cohen at his live best.
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on 18 March 2017
Not as good as his greatest hits!
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on 1 June 2017
Ok but one of the songs slips near the endand cant be bothered to send back
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on 1 June 2017
Lovely album.
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on 20 May 2009
Although I had been aware of Leonard Cohen's reputation for many years, I had not really appreciated his music until he appeared on "Later with Jools Holland" and performed three live songs. I was hooked. I then bought a couple of studio albums but found them strangely muted and lacking in intensity.
Years passed and then this album came to my attention. What a difference from the studio albums. This is how I remembered the earlier live performance. With brilliant backing from musicians and vocalists, this is a album to appreciated for years to come.
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