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Leonard Cohen drops to his knees to sing to guitarist Javier Mas during his sold-out performance Monday night at Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.
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Review: Leonard Cohen mesmerizes again


I knew going into Leonard Cohen’s return to Nokia Theatre Monday night that it couldn’t possibly be as magical as what I witnessed the first time he played there, a little less than four years ago, when he finally stepped on a Los Angeles stage again after a decade and a half away.

That was a miracle for which we deep admirers had pretty much stopped waiting. Those of us now in our mid-40s or so, who by and large initially encountered his singular music when we were in college, as other generations did and still do … well, we logically assumed we’d never see him live, ever. He hadn’t just ceased performing in the early ’90s, after all – he’d entered into a monastic Zen way of life that lasted until Y2K.

New material emerged once he did the same, including 2001’s Ten New Songs and 2004’s Dear Heather, fine additions to his catalog that, like so many discs before them, went overlooked by all but faithful critics and fans. But the resumption of his recording career was never reason enough to think such a reclusive figure would start touring again as he settled into his 70s.

But as Cohen’s lyrics have so often reiterated, whether pondering gray areas between love and lust, the intricacies of the spiritual mind or the atrocities of mankind, life is foremost unpredictable. Would he have returned to engross us in person had there not been an unexpected impetus, or would he have remained hidden from public view, making home wherever he lay his Stetson, issuing Another Ten Songs whenever more had been meticulously crafted?

Read more of this review and see the complete setlist on the Soundcheck Blog.

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