As I type, Leonard Cohen is coming out to greeted rapturously by a sold-out crowd in Madison Square Garden. Same scene coming in two days at Brooklyn's new Barclay's Center. And that's the way it's been for a few years now. Selling out arenas. Doing three-hour shows. Who'd a thunk, just six years ago, with Leonard seemingly in semi-retirement, after years in a Zen monastery and his former manager having run off with much of his dough. But here's a turning point: When thousands gathered for one of his bookstore signings in Toronto he joined some of the Barenaked Ladies and Ron Sexsmith, and then-girlfriend Adjani, on a nearby stage and got coaxed into singing "So Long Marianne." It seemed then it might be last live performance ever. But Leonard was slowly discovering that he still had an audience out there, which he had come to doubt. Now, just in recent months, a terrific bio of Cohen and a new book about his song "Hallelujah."
Here's one of my favorite vids, of that Toronto street "Marianne."