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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 8 July 2014
I recall going to the cinema circa 1974 to watch this, so memories came flooding back. Looking at it now it's astonishingly refreshing on many levels: a) How young the man looks compared with the elder statesman he has become b) The somewhat amateurish nature of the tour in terms of organisation and paucity of both equipment and pretension c) The disarming edginess of his performances. All of these in contrast to the corporate corpulence of recent tours-" When legend Cohen takes to the stage it is no less than an event of Biblical dimensions." ( The Independent ) No doubt all outwith his control or approval!

" The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there." It was good to be reminded of the way things were. When you could turn up, as I did at Newcastle City Hall in September 1974, the day before and buy two tickets for Cohen, get change from £3 and not be assailed by merchandisers pushing everything from fridge magnets to coffee mugs. So, in conclusion, educational for the young to see tours in their infancy and good for the oldies to bask in their rose tinted memories.
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on 11 June 2014
Yes arrived quickly and was brilliant, watched it the other night, I had an original made up copy from TP which I can't find at moment, it is somewhere, so ordered this one as wanted to watch again, it is such a good tour video
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on 12 May 2016
I had never seen this film before. I was hoping for a concert; but this is not a concert: this is a documentary about a concert tour. Oddly (and frustratingly) for a documentary about MUSIC it actually has very few FULL songs on it. The listing on the case suggests 'Music includes performances of...' and then lists 15 LC classics. However, most of the performances here are either cut irritatingly short or interrupted intermittently with spliced documentary footage, a good sized chunk of which I found pretty superficial stuff. In that sense, this film reminds me of Dylan's Don't Look Back: plenty of shots of the beleaguered artist dealing with the mundanity of touring -- airport check-ins, groupies at receptions, and facing awkward questions by insensitive and poorly informed interviewers -- but very little real music! I think there are only three anywhere near full versions of songs here: Avalanche (over Leonard swimming naked), Story of Isaac (over horrifying Vietnam War footage), Bird On A Wire (over end credits!?). I guess this is because, as is documented to the extreme throughout, the tour was an overall disaster both in terms of organisation and that many of the performances seem to have been plagued by technical hitches. We even get to see snippets to illustrate these disasters -- how heavy-handed security guards dealt with an unruly Tel Aviv crowd; a brief comic interlude as Leonard sings an impromptu composition to a feeding back speaker etc etc. The bits that are often left out of most concert DVDs to make them more watchable and enjoyable become the mainstay here and add little to the viewing experience but an overall air of gloom and despondency. Sadly this is all at the expense of the brilliant music the artist was creating at the time, undoubtedly one of the highest creative peaks in his long and outstanding contribution to popular music.

Of course, as you'd expect Leonard has some fairly interesting things to say during the film. He is a frank, effective and often charming orator even in the face of adversity. Here, amongst other things, he exposes the music industry for the vulture we all now know it to be. But do we need to know? Or to be shown? Well, maybe we do, during that era perhaps more so than now. But that the entire film seems to have been put together to further bemoan that same fact over and over hardly seems constructive. By not showing us how music can triumph over such adversities it fails to illustrate why the public are often willing to tolerate the beast in order to have access to the kind of music artists of this calibre create. That seems to me a lost opportunity and the glaring flaw in Tony Palmer's film.

All in all, this is not the kind of DVD I would personally put on again and again to enjoy some music -- as I might with Leonard's Isle of Wight, Live in Dublin or Songs From The Road. In fact, I'm starting to wonder if I really need to watch this ever again. I give it a very generous three stars for the cinematography, the few pieces of music and poetry we do get, and because I'm a biased big fan.
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on 6 October 2014
The Leonard Cohen DVD Bird on a wire is an excellent choice for fans of both his music and as an interesting man.

It is a comprehensive mix of both amusing and informative interviews. He oozes charm and insightfulness into his writing and lyrics.

I would definately give this dvd 5 stars as i will play it many times.
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on 27 July 2014
If you love Leonard as I do you'll want to experience this. Purposely nieve innocently provocative. Harrowing scenes that put the story of Issac into crystalline reality. What a great man, what a great documentation. A must have for any Cohen fan.
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on 5 May 2014
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on 2 October 2013
The movie shows that he was/is a really sincere guy. Loves what he does and loves his audience. Thanks are due to his accountant/manager for being so bad to him to asllow him to come back to his fans
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on 28 May 2014
Great because it is a film about Leonard Cohen. Great poet, songwriter, and performer. The film matches with Dylan's Don't Look Back and is a must for lovers of music documentary.
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on 9 November 2014
Life long Cohen fan so it's just brilliant viewing for me. Interesting and informative. Well worth buying. Will watch it over and over it's very interesting.
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on 5 August 2014
A boxful of emotions from another time and space. Essential for ANY music lover not only for Cohen fans.
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