“It’s a very strange event” Leonard Cohen Attends 2008 Bob Dylan Concert

You and Bob Dylan were in St. John’s at the same time, playing consecutive shows.


I went to his [Bob Dylan’s] concert. It was terrific. I’ve been to many Dylan concerts. This one, there was a walkway from the hotel to the auditorium, so you could enter into this private area, the people who had boxes. We were in one of those boxes. First of all, I’ve never been in a private box in an auditorium. That was fun. And a lot of members of the band came. But it was very loud. Fortunately, Rafael, our drummer, had earplugs, and he distributed them. Because our music is quite soft and that’s what we’ve been listening to for three or four months. As Sharon Robinson said, Bob Dylan has a secret code with his audience. If someone came from the moon and watched it they might wonder what was going on. In this particular case he had his back to one half of the audience and was playing the organ, beautifully I might say, and just running through the songs. Some were hard to recognize. But nobody cared. That’s not what they were there for and not what I was there for. Something else was going on, which was a celebration of some kind of genius that is so apparent and so clear and has touched people so deeply that all they need is some kind of symbolic unfolding of the event. It doesn’t have to be the songs. All it has to be is: remember that song and what it did to you. It’s a very strange event.



Leonard Cohen


Cohen wore earplugs to a Dylan show? by Brian D. Johnson (Maclean’s: June 12, 2008). Photo of Dylan by Alberto Cabello from Vitoria Gasteiz – Bob Dylan, CC BY 2.0, Link

I am republishing selected posts from my former Leonard Cohen site, Cohencentric, here on AllanShowalter.com (these posts can be found at Leonard Cohen). This entry was originally posted Oct 23, 2016.

2 thoughts on ““It’s a very strange event” Leonard Cohen Attends 2008 Bob Dylan Concert

  1. I would argue that it’s LC who’s had a secret code with his audience. For his fans it was enough to be in his presence. Regardless of what happened on the stage, the electricity was palpable by virtue of his being there. The way he made you feel – still does! – can’t be replicated.

  2. It is true. It is the body of work that we remember and how it influenced us. Like certain people, we meet in life.

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