Leonard Cohen Tour Diary – Detroit to Montréal



Imagine the joy, dear reader, of waking at 5am in a bunk, covered in one’s own sweat, clawing at the air for oxygen. At some point in our journey to Detroit, the heat fairies must have been at play, creating a perfect, swamp-like world in the bus. At this time, I grogilly arose, cursing somewhat, changing the heat into cold air via the electronic thermowhatzit and returned to a broken sleep until eight-ish.

Today is my little baby boy’s birthday. Ten years ago, I paced the halls of Women’s College Hospital in Toronto with my little bundle of meconium and today, he ain’t so little. Truth be compact, it totally sucks not being home right now, but complaining is useless without action. After all, what action shall I take? None. So what’s the use in complaining? None. The irony, making known a vehement non-complaint.

Detroit’s Fox Theatre is likely the inspiration behind Donald Trump’s interior design. Indian-style adornments cause me to conjure the word Hindu when casting a panoram around the room. Not to be without the okay of a major online encyclopedia, it seems my instincts are correct: there is an agreed blending of the exotic so-called Orient about the place. Faded red pillars and winged creatures surround the theater-goer in an opulent display of architectural theatre.

It has to be said that at the time of drafting today’s goings-on, it is with difficulty the writer expresses the details, preferring to run through the motions rather quickly, as notes are sparse due to the mind-occupation of family health and the absence of home for what feels like a long period. For this the writer apologises, knowing the mature reader will understand.

The aesthetically astute concert-goer might notice something different about tonight’s show. There is a certain amount of space between LC and the audience, and in this space lies only space. Above the stage hangs a fire curtain, which if ever needed, would create a tight baffle between the stage and the rest of the room. This thick panel, suspended by ropes to be summarily severed in the event of an emergency, determines where we place things on the stage today. In terms of equipment, nothing substantial may sit in the fire curtain’s path and potentially affect its method of separation; we must place the carpets (therefore everything on them) behind the fire curtain line. Ergo tonight, LC is further from the lip of the stage than usual.

There has been mention before of the light gauze which makes up the majority of the show’s set. At the start of the show, from behind these (the Veils of Sheer Deceit) I can glimpse that many people are engaging in an upright ovation. LC is humble in his acceptance of the ritual of appreciation, but before him lies a sheet of paper with a bunch of song titles on it. You cannot have Closing Time without all the others.


Autumn dies in quiet throes
Trees stand naked and alone
To bear its pall on twisted boughs
Waiting for the shroud of snows.

Despite the bus needing a repair in its water system, Wayne manages to get us out of Ontario and into the province of Québec and by around 1pm, Montréal. When I got into my hotel room, I made sure to telephone my mum who lives here, saying I arrived, and outlined the sketch for the next few days. I had already made plans for tonight, to see a couple of friends and their one year-old daughter. Tomorrow will be a full-on show day, and although I may have a clear morning on the day of the second show, I felt it wise not to make social plans in case I had anything to repair after the first show. It’s like a backwards-forwards method of thinking, but since we have plans to see each other on the 30th, I felt it best to retain some sanity and avoid humans in favour of selfish alone-time. Normally, I would write in that time, but given the recent news of my stepfather, I don’t much feel like documenting the days with notes.

As I write this, it is actually the 5th of December and there is more news to come. I fill the virtual pages with recalled memories and thoughts, in an attempt to keep up with the diary, and to keep my mind off the realities of life.


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