Old Ideas World Tour Reporting

Following Leonard Cohen's Old Ideas World Tour through media and fan reports.

Dec 26 2013

Leonard Cohen “Old Ideas” Tour Ends
Posted on Dec 22, 2013
Thanks to all the wonderful people who supported the tour!  Hope to see you again down the road…

An entry from the website of Sharon Robinson.

Leonard Cohen “Old Ideas” Tour Ends

Posted on Dec 22, 2013

Thanks to all the wonderful people who supported the tour!  Hope to see you again down the road…

An entry from the website of Sharon Robinson.

Dec 23 2013

Facebook and Newspaper Comments and Additional Tweets and Statigram about the December 21, 2013 Concert in Auckland


Ronelle Henning 
I attended the truly awesome Leonard Cohen concert with 12 000 other fans at the Vector Arena last night. Seven standing ovations, seven encores. What an inspiration at 79!

Teresa Ann Harris
Mr Cohen…….I take my hat off to you. Absolutely blown away by you and the band last night. Thank you xx

Margherita Cavani
yesterday night has been a pleasure and a privilege to see the last concert of the greatest between all. you should be young forever, Leonard. I’ll keep the memory of the event forever in my heart, you didn’t want to leave your last stage and we didn’t want you to go…. most of us had the tears rolling… you said that you were going to give us everything and you did it. thanks! thanks for being!

Pete Thomas
Thanks for the time, energy and rollercoaster ride you gave me and the others at last nights concert in Auckland. Eyes were closed at times and the body moving to your songs. Years have passed since I was a young boy and first heard your songs yet they disappeared as you gave a concert of your, and the Bands talent. Thank you Thank you

Marianne Spiller
Dear Leonard Cohen
I was at your concert last night in Auckland NZ, superb, amazing, your charisma and your humility, no words to describe the nearly 4 wonderful hours I had, you are a marvel and an inspiration!
Your poetry and music will live on, thank you for the incredible way you just draw me in, THANK YOU!!!


Ken Parker.. Rotorua
John…What an excelent tribute to an amazing artist, artists and total performance. Vecta arena sound technicians must also be congratulated on the well balanced audio as to the ear every note and voice was so clean and clear without the hurtful loudness we often get at live performances. I think this performance was the best of all the recent events I have attented at this arena.


Rachel Haggie
Fantastic opportunity to see/hear him again so soon afterr 2010. The set mix was perfect with several songs from his new album and I enjoyed his different version of Hallelujah. And all that kneeling and popping back up to standing without putting his hands on the floor!!!! Fantastic concert

I liked Dino Soldo but I much prefer the more traditional acoustic sound of the violin. Saw him three times on his most recent tour of Australia and I wish I could’ve seen more. I’m in awe of Leonard and his superb band.

Anita rundlof
The best show ever, saw it in Stockholm, so perfect and Leonard great singer and entertainer, and his band…wow….<3


I was one of those 30 year olds feeling and probably looking right out of place in the line outside Vector Arena, but I’m so pleased I went along. I really felt like I was basking in the presence of an old great, and the feeling was overwhelming that this amazing guy who comes with such rich past was likely delivering the last big public performance of his life. Truly humbling.




Had a different kind of Saturday night…I accompanied Dad to #LeonardCohen because Mum couldn’t go, and even though I was the youngest there by a few decades I had so much fun. Him and his musicians are so talented, and at 79 years old and doing the last show of a five year tour you can’t have anything but respect for him.

From jordynaitken

Review of December 21, 2013 Concert in Auckland - Libel Music (blog)

Leonard Cohen

Date / Venue: Saturday December 21st, Vector Arena, Auckland

Fresh from performances in Christchurch and Wellington, the final show of Leonard Cohen’s celebrated Old Ideas world tour unfurled in Auckland on Saturday evening. Before even sounding a note, the packed Vector Arena gave Cohen a standing ovation as he took the stage, a fitting tribute to one of the greatest singer songwriters of the modern age.

Although Cohen and his band had over 120 shows under their belt from a tour that began in August 2012, he promised Aucklanders that “tonight and especially tonight, we’re going to give you everything we’ve got.” Beginning with three of his most celebrated songs Dance Me to the End of Love, The Future and Bird on a Wire Cohen treated the delighted audience to highlights from his long career and most recent album. Delivered in the gritty timbre that can set the hairs on the back of your neck alive, Leonard Cohen’s lyrics were as evocative as ever and that characteristic voice had lost none of its delightful leathery growl.

Many in the crowd were longtime Leonard Cohen fans, they’d been with him for years and he treated them like old friends. With profound humility and gratitude it felt like Cohen invited his audience to share not only in his back catalogue, but also to recall the memories we attach to songs that impact our lives. That’s the beautiful thing about Cohen’s music - the insightful, witty and occasionally nihilistic words are his, but the songs become ours, they belong to the listeners. That, perhaps, is Cohen’s greatest gift to his fans.

Also on stage were more old friends, band members and back up singers who have toured with Cohen for many years, respectfully introduced and honored by him for their contribution and talent. The violinist Alexandru Bublitchi added a welcome and fiery gypsy flavour to several songs, while Cohen’s collaborator Sharon Robinson sang their song Alexandra Leaving solo. The sublime Come Healing from the 2012 Old Ideas album, a secular hymn for our time, saw Cohen pair in close harmony with Charley and Hattie Webb.

Leonard Cohen is a hypnotic live performer. His is a measured, thoughtful and intensely felt performance, more likely than not delivered on his knees before quickly springing back up again. In his hands the melancholy lyrics of Tower of Song find a sweet poignancy and humorous irony, a joke the audience is in on and enjoys just as much as the singer. The nearly 80 year old Cohen has stage presence and charisma fitting for someone Lou Reed described as “…a figure whose body of work achieves greater mystery and depth as time goes on.” He’s also still looking pretty sharp in that trademark fedora and dark suit.

"Leonard Cohen" by Kelly Carmichael, Libel Music, December 23, 2013.

Dec 22 2013

Review of the December 21, 2013 Concert in Auckland - The New Zealand Herald

Concert review: Leonard Cohen, Vector Arena

—Respect flows like wine as crowd thrills to classics old and new and musicians given their moment to shine.—

Friends”, he called the crowd that packed Vector Arena to see the dark poet of song who had enchanted them at times in their youth.

They know him better now. When he skipped on to the stage for the final concert of his third tour in five years, they rose in ovation before he had sung a note. Leonard Cohen, nearing 80, doffed his now-trademark hat, thanked them genuinely and rewarded them with more than three hours from his life’s catalogue.

The splendid band around him is almost as well known to the audience now, thanks to his frequent introductions and the respect he pays them throughout. This time he had a different guitarist, Mitch Watkins, and a violinist, Alexandru Bublitchi, in place of the wind instruments of previous tours.

The sound was not as full but the violin brought some beautiful solos to songs such as Suzanne. Cohen knows the ones he must do: I’m Your Man, Tower of Song, Chelsea Hotel, Hallelujah, of course.

He knows exactly how much of the familiar repertoire to repeat. As on previous visits, he opened with two upbeat numbers from The Future album, followed by Bird on the Wire, the deceptively simple tune that he is said to believe he has never quite nailed.

Then came the new ones, from the album Old Ideas released last year. On the recording the songs sound sleepy and almost carelessly indulgent. On stage, he invests them with vocal intensity and songs such as Amen and Show me the Place are revealed as anthems to rank with his best.

Best of them all is Come Healing, a haunting close harmony with his back-up singers, Sharon Robinson and the Webb Sisters.

Robinson, co-composer of some of his work, stole the show for a moment on Saturday night. He gave her a solo for the sublime Alexandra Leaving which they recorded in duet on the Ten Songs collection. Robinson slowed it down, drew it out and made it exquisite.

Hattie and Charley Webb had to wait for the encores for their solo, the heavenly If it Be Your Will, with the angelic Hattie playing harp.

Cohen gives all of his supporting cast their moment in the light, turns to them and doffs his hat while he listens. Respect is the defining character of his performance, not just for them but for the audience, the music and the words that only he knows how hard he worked to chisel them to what he wanted, often long ago.

It is the mature respect that does not take itself too seriously. He calls himself, in another track from the latest album, “a lazy bastard living in a suit”. One of those words is not true. On stage he is anything but lazy, dropping to his knees and standing up on cue, still lithe at 79.

After two-and-a-half hours he skipped from the stage to another standing ovation, but it was another 45 minutes before we let him go. For the last of four encores he departed from his own material to lead the audience in Save the Last Dance for Me. But the most appropriate sign-off came on the second encore. Famous Blue Raincoat normally ends, “sincerely, L Cohen”. This time he sang, “sincerely, a friend”.

"Concert review: Leonard Cohen, Vector Arena" by John Roughan, The New Zealand Herald, December 22, 2013.

Dec 21 2013

From ”Leonard Cohen – Vector Arena December 21, 2013” by Marty Duda, The 13th Floor, December 22, 2013. Photos by Michael Flynn.

Review of December 21, 2013 Concert in Auckland - The 13th Floor

Leonard Cohen – Vector Arena December 21, 2013

It was like a reunion of old friends…Leonard Cohen, his band and his fans…back together in Auckland’s Vector Arena for the third time in five years. But, this show had a special feel about it, a sense of history, as the 79-year-old Cohen announced that, after five years on the road, this was the last show of the tour.

I know people who didn’t attend this show because they saw him either in 2009 or 2010 and where so overwhelmed by how perfect the show was that they didn’t want to “ruin” the experience by daring to see him again. Others stayed away fearing that it would be too similar to the previous shows and so there was no reason to see it again.

While I kind of understand both views, I have to say, you missed one of the best shows ever to come this way.

Yes, Leonard and his incredible band started out with Dance Me To The End Of Love, just as they had done in the two previous shows and yes, the set list included Everybody Knows, Bird On A Wire, Tower Of Song and Hallelujah…all of which had been performed here before. But, my God, they were beautiful versions! And why wouldn’t you want to hear them again?

Fortunately, plenty of people did, as the Vector was just about full.

The main difference between this show and the ones previous was the addition of songs from Cohen’s 2012 album, Old Ideas. There were three during the first half of the show (Darkness, Amen and Come Healing) and one during the second half (Going Home). These new entries stood up well against his old classics, with Going Home drawing plenty of laughs as Cohen referred to himself as “a lazy bastard living in a suit”.

In fact, there was plenty of humour throughout the three-hour show. At the beginning, Leonard thanked the folks sitting high up for endangering themselves and then thanks the rest of the crowd for endangering their budgets by buying tickets.

Cohen has held the same band together throughout his long tour and they are simply amazing:

Roscoe Beck – bass & musical director

Javier Mas – archilaud, guitar, bandurria

Mitch Watkins – guitars

Alexandru Bublitchi –violins

Rafael Bernardo Gayol – drums

Neil Larsen – keyboards

Sharon Robinson – vocals

The Webb Sisters – vocals

Mike Scoble – harmonica

Long-time collaborators Sharon Robinson got her moment in the spotlight when she sang Alexandra Leaving and was absolutely mesmerizing…what a voice.

The Webb Sisters performed If It Be Your Will with a delicate touch that made the song that much more beautiful.

And as for Leonard, well, he’s never sounded better. He hit some impossibly low notes during Bird On A Wire and did a stunning recitation of A Thousand Kisses Deep that left me and about 10,000 other fans breathless. And I have to say that his performance of Famous Blue Raincoat was one for the ages.

This very special night ended with eight encores that eventually ended with Cohen’s entire crew joining him on stage for a sing-along of The Drifters’ hit Save The Last Dance For Me. A perfect end to a perfect night.

Of course at age 79, who knows if we will get the chance to see Leonard again? But judging by the spring in his step as he left the stage after his three-hour show, I’m guessing we haven’t seen the last of him. And even if he doesn’t return, well, we still have all those wonderful songs to listen to.

"Leonard Cohen – Vector Arena December 21, 2013" by Marty Duda, The 13th Floor, December 22, 2013.

Review of December 21, 2013 Concert in Auckland - Stuff.co.nz

Leonard Cohen bedazzles Auckland

Leonard Cohen
Auckland, Vector Arena December 21

There are so many Leonard Cohen lookalikes at Vector Arena, you think you’ll be desensitised when you see him. The trademark hats are everywhere. The place smells like a mixture of expensive perfume and incense. Thirty year olds feel young.

These walls are used to the travelling pop star circus and a crowd of youngsters who capture the spectacle behind the glow of their phones. But last night, Vector Arena enjoyed a different crowd as Leonard Cohen and his band gave the final show of their world tour.

"Tonight, and especially tonight," he said, "we’re going to give you everything we’ve got."

No great light show, no dramatic costume changes, no giant props, just the man and the music. It was everything.

He sang all the greats. He called us his friends. He belted out a great deal of the set from down on his knees. When he was upright, he bopped. He took his hat off to every band member and gave each plenty of time to dazzle us. In return, they expertly propped Cohen up without stealing the limelight. They all worked beautifully together.

Leonard Cohen’s songs are so great that sometimes you have to close your eyes. Suzanne was one. And Anthem. And Tower of Song. You look back to see others with their eyes closed, smiling, like they are holding their faces up to the sun. A few try capturing it on their phones, but nothing would come close to having been there.

The spoken word version of Thousand Kisses Deep was another highlight. Cohen sings and speaks as though he’s whispering in your ear.

"I loved you when you opened, like a lily to the heat, you see I’m just another snowman standing in the rain and sleet, who loved you with his frozen love, his second hand physique, with all he is and all he was, a thousand kisses deep."

The crowd fell more in love with the man as the evening progressed. At times you wonder how he pulls it off - being 79 years old and singing an enormous amount about sex - but he’s been a charmer his whole life and tonight was no different.

Somewhere around the middle of the show, a keyboard was placed in front of Cohen. He apologised for it. It’s not teched-out and digital, he said, “but it speaks of an earlier time, a gentler time.” And that’s exactly how the night felt.

At the end, after countless standing ovations and four encores, he thanked us for all the years we have paid attention to his songs and said, “drive carefully home and don’t catch a cold. May you be surrounded by friends and family all the days of your life … or god bless you in your solitude.”

He took his hat off to us and bowed deeply through our cheers and we all fell in love with him a little more as we watched him skip like a young man, off the stage.

"Leonard Cohen bedazzles Auckland" by Aimie Cronin, Stuff.co.nz, December 22, 2013.

Tweets and Statigrams from the December 21, 2013 Concert in Auckland







Great seats for date night :-) 7th row, smack dab in the centre. Mum dad and fetus all pretty excited! James is jumping! #leonardcohen

From deehobbit


Leonard Cohen with the sis #auckland #leonardcohen

From kyalw


The old guy’s still got it! #leonardcohen #beautiful

From hart_olivia


#longest#encore#ever. #leonardcohen #worldtour #endshere with #savethelastdance and a #standingovation (or four) #weareuglybutwehavethemusic

From korencross

Dec 20 2013

Facebook and Newspaper Comments and Additional Tweets and Statigrams about the December 17 and 18, 2013 Concerts in Wellington


Kiwibird Wiseman
Thank you Leonard for a wonderful night in Wellington last night.

Andrew John Jackson
Dear Mr Cohen, thank you. From Wellington, New Zealand.

Jane Brenan
BIG thanks to you Leonard and your amazing band and those incredible support singers for last night in Wellington. LOVED it

Patrick Lane
Wellington, 17/12 - fantastic night with Leonard Cohen and band last night - thank you.

Sally Saunders
So impressed… Leonards Wellington concert last night was amazing.. WOW..

Bethan Check
We were at yr concert Wed in Wellington Thank You for a fantastic evening xxxx

Gaye Sutton
MMMMMHMMMM Wellington Concert, Tuesday night was…oh, what is the word, sublime, marvelous, wonderful, uplifting… so satisfying… we just loved it. One thousand thank yous…no two, perhaps four or five… many, many thousand thank yous.

Heather Ashton
Wonderful concert in Wellington last night - well worth putting a dent in the budget! Wouldn’t have missed it. Please come & see us again.

Martin Doyle
Great concert in Wellington last night..Leonard, Sharon and the Webb sisters


Brilliant show and he just got better as he went on. He connected with the audience & the backup team who he made sure got a good showing were very impressive. It was a real experience by any measure.

Fantastic show - didn’t make it to his earlier performances so this was a fresh treat for me. Without a doubt the best 79 year old singer touring today. ;) A lot of younger performers could learn a lot from how much he gives on stage and how much material he performs for a show


Indeed, a wonderful concert - flawless really. There was a serenity about this performance and the whole evening was a heart-warming experience - Cohen’s band, the vocalists and the lighting and sound were so well integrated and utterly professional and tasteful. It was a privilege to have been able to attend. I wish Cohen well, with good health to keep performing as long as he wants, and a happy retirement when he eventually hangs his hat on the peg for the last time.




A giant, really. Leonard Cohen, nearly 80 and still rocking! What an amazing night!!

From virsine


Leonard Cohen in Wellington NZ last night. Unforgettable. I was on the brink of tears half the time, and over the brink the rest of it. Shared this beautiful moment with my great friends @theduge and @matthew_steinke

From mattkelly250

Dec 18 2013

Tweets and Statigram from the December 18, 2013 Concert in Wellington




#leonardcohen #tsbarena loving the way this man respects his band

From wellymars

Dec 17 2013

"Leonard Cohen: Melancholy with a winking eye" by Jule Scherer, Auckland stuff.com.nz, December 18, 2013. Photos by Maarten Holl/Fairfax NZ.  

Review of December 17, 2013 Concert in Wellington - Auckland stuff.com.nz

Leonard Cohen: Melancholy with a winking eye

—Leonard Cohen, Wellington, TSB Bank Arena
December 17—

Never has depression been more enjoyable than when watching Leonard Cohen perform.

The grandmaster of melancholy entertained Wellington’s audiences with humour, excellent arrangements of the highlights of his 12 albums and a voice that hasn’t lost an iota of its growling deepness.

The 79-year-old, who performed for the third time in four years in Wellington, received standing ovations even before he started his 3 1/2-hour show, divided into two sets with three encores to boot.

He thanked the audience in the packed TSB Arena for “climbing to the high place at the back”, and, addressing the occupants of the front rows, for “endangering the family budget for acquiring the seats”.

His sound technicians did an excellent job with the at times challenging acoustics of the arena, making sure the audience could hear “every single depressing nuance” of Cohen’s 26-song set.

The stage was set up with big drapes, and, most importantly, big oriental carpets. Not only did they provide a cosy backdrop for Cohen and his nine musicians, but they were also an important prop, considering that the singer spent a lot of time performing on his knees.

There are no words to be lost on his excellent songwriting and his devoted audience would surely have been happy with whatever the maestro delivered.

But the arrangements with these outstanding musicians, who made many of his mid-period songs more klezmer than disco, made the night even more special.

All fears that Cohen’s timbre, his growl, his deep and unique voice would have cracked with age were baseless.
The Canadian poet proved to be in great shape. Occasionally some high notes were a tad pitchy, but, really, who cares.

The whole show was clearly a well-oiled machine, with everybody knowing exactly when and where to move, and the wonderful backup singers, Sharon Robinson and the Webb Sisters, moved mesmerisingly like seaweed in the current.

Cohen did not hog the limelight, but also put the spotlight on his musicians, and let them shine in their solos.

Outstanding were Javier Mas who mastered a whole range of string instruments like the guitar, 12-string bandurria and laud and Alexandru Bublitchi on the violin.

Yes, Cohen has been on the road with this show for quite a while. It might not have been much different from his previous shows (to which I haven’t been), but, heck, he managed to connect with the audience, making everybody feel this was a special night.

Cohen is an entertainer, a 79-year-old whose lusty lyrics still ring right, a poet whose recitations of his lyrics still feel like coming from the heart and who has a spring in his step and a winking eye that make watching him an honour.

"Leonard Cohen: Melancholy with a winking eye" by Jule Scherer, Auckland stuff.com.nz, December 18, 2013.

From &#8220;Diamonds among the rough&#8221; by Colin Morris, The Dominion Post, December 18, 2013. Photo by Maarten Holl/Fairfax NZ. 

From “Diamonds among the rough” by Colin Morris, The Dominion Post, December 18, 2013. Photo by Maarten Holl/Fairfax NZ. 

Review of December 17, 2013 Concert in Wellington - The Dominion Post

Diamonds among the rough


Leonard Cohen

TSB Bank Arena, Tuesday, December 17

Reviewed by Colin Morris—

The sprightliness belies his age.

This dapper man in a dark suit, the ubiquitous trilby (circa James Bond, From Russia With Love) at a cocky angle and that baleful voice full of gravel and flowers, an instrument of pure joy - yet the bane of much criticism by his detractors - graces the stage once more and, while far from conventional, his pearls of wisdom that drip slowly from his pen via his mouth provoke more discussion than perhaps any songwriter other than Dylan himself.

The art critic Robert Hughes famously once said, “it takes art to make life bearable” and on the surface that seems terribly melancholic but then nobody does melancholy like Mr Cohen.

But to quote Leonard himself: “You know me, I’m the journalist of the inner dismal condition.”

Behind the facade of seemingly depressing songs - though there is plenty of humour for those willing to look - there lie diamonds. This lodestone is hewn out of rock whilst Dylan’s are formed on the back of napkins.

The result of all this mining is a concert that pleases everybody. The songs are all well known by this most appreciative of audiences, resulting in a Zen-like glow usually reserved for the likes of the late Ravi Shankar, which I’m sure is a result of Cohen’s perceived reclusiveness.

There is a sense of admiration for an artist who doesn’t hang his washing out for all to see.

Cohen doesn’t shatter myths but creates illusions with lyrical ambiguities, songs about unrequited love (Suzanne), the bitter prophesies in Everybody Knows, and My Secret Life reminds us that we all have a secret love in the past we cling to and that may have made us a perfect person.

Then there is Bird On A Wire, Who By Fire and Dance Me To The End Of Love, all from a measly 12 albums over a period of 40-plus years.

As Mr Cohen hinted that this might be his last trip Down Under, we can only say a big, big thank to you and your flawless band, it’s been a wonderful love affair.

"Diamonds among the rough" by Colin Morris, The Dominion Post, December 18, 2013.

Tweets from the December 17, 2013 Concert In Wellington



Page 1 of 59