Leonard Cohen in concert Monday night 4.13.09 the Paramount Theater, Oakland, CA
The palatial beauty of the Paramount Theatre equaled the intrinsic and intimate perfection of this Jewish Buddhist monk dressed in a fedora, a charcoal grey suit, and string tie, shiny black shoes that covered slender feet, and a voice that emanated from the minor key of God’s repertoire. Not a movement, not an action out of place. This slim and agile troubadour with a nose that stands larger than ever on his aging but not aged face, moved only his mouth; his eyes held shut as he allowed the words, the rhythm, the melody, the message from some force running through him to emerge and be magnified by the microphone he gripped tightly with his right hand, his left hand mimicking the fist of his right, as if to distill every last drop of this elixir he was placing on the altar of his devoted disciples.
Every so often he knelt on one knee honoring the spirits around him, humbling himself to his master musicians, to the sounds of a mandolin, the call of a saxophone, to a world of vibration, initiated not only by him, but by that which moved through him.
No one missed the meaning of this once in a life-time experience, the modern-day revival, the Monday that is all Sundays for all times compressed into a three-hour journey through the halls of God’s apartment filled with sacred sex and hate and love, filled with divine detritus of lost loves, empty whisky glasses, and songs floating every where. Dreams and prayers braided into naked bodies in single-room walk-ups, silence flowing through minuscule monk’s cells, love walking out the door. The sacred and profane floating on the sounds of a supple seventy-four year old voice, seeping through the cracks where the light comes in, the simple ray of light that breaks through without being asked, Leonard Cohen, our twentieth century prophet with his twenty-first century creations, promises nothing and gives everything.