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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Leonard Cohen: Live at the Isle of Wight 1970


The final Isle of Wight festival produced some of rock's greatest moments, but the dark side of the peace and love generation. At 2 a.m., folk singer Leonard Cohen walked on stage and faced a riot, as the beleaguered audience ripped and roared following one of Jimi Hendrix’s last, incendiary performances of his career. Somehow, Cohen's monotone storytelling brought a vast chunk of the raging 600,000 back to earth, and he proceeded to deliver one of the most mesmerizing concerts of the decade. Backed by what was basically a country western band including banjo player Elkin Fowler and fiddler Charlie Daniels (yes, that Charlie Daniels), Cohen's dark poetry intertwined with the vastness of the night and hypnotized the masses. The event, filmed by Murray Lerner, is almost 40 years old. In a stark visual comparison to the recently released Live in London 2008 DVD, 1970's Cohen is scraggly, unkempt, but just as enigmatic and committed to his words. Ageless, indeed. (Sony Legacy) 4 stars out of 5

(Photo Courtesy Sony Legacy)

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