Only Photos Of Leonard Cohen’s Historic First Show Of His First Tour: Hartford April 8, 1970

Leonard Cohen & The Army Open 1970 Tour At University of Hartford

George Tunick, the fellow in glasses in the above shot, was a student at the University of Connecticut when he took these photos at the concert held at the auditorium of the University of Hartford in West Hartford that opened Leonard Cohen’s 1970 Tour.1 The show took place April 8, 1970 before a crowd of a few hundred.

As far as I can determine, these are the only known photos from that 1970 Hartford show, which carries special significance as Leonard Cohen’s first concert of his first full-fledged tour.2

The final photo in the series (see below) is the earliest known photo of Leonard Cohen performing in concert with his 1970 band, the group later to be known as The Army.

Update: Less than two weeks after posting these photos, I serendipitously discovered the following reference to this event in Life On The Ledge With Leonard Cohen by Jon Marlowe (The Miami News: Nov 9, 1977):

Interviewer: “You did a concert in Connecticut and you walked out in this long trench coat and jeans and said ”I left my suit home in honor of this occasion’”

Leonard Cohen: “That was my first concert ever. I remember it. It was Hartford, Connecticut. You’re right. The trench coat and everything.”

I asked George about any memories he had of the event. His response (ellipses his) follows:

I’ll never forget..as he was walking by..(when I got the close shots..and for the one with me)..he was like chanting as he walked..like a cantor saying prayers to himself ..beautifully “ haunting”

George goes on:

1970..I was “obsessed” with the first album..especially..”One of us Cannot be Wrong ‘..( l lit a thin green candle..to make you jealous of me. But the room just filled up with mosquitoes……..and on)..saw the 1975 show in NY..later 1988 and 1993 Wiltern theater in LA (pretty sure-2)……bought every vinyl … Favorite songs…I’m Your Man..Anthem..Tower of Song . The Stranger … The Future ..Famous Blue Raincoat..Dance Me to the End of Love

The concert “blew me away”…it was overpowering to meet him…they sang everything at that time…and obviously memorable..as I remember so much…and have these Photo Memories to “keep the experience alive”

Credit Due Department: Thanks to Sylvie Simmons and Jugurtha Harchaoui, who provided data about and perspective on the pre-1970 Leonard Cohen concerts. And, thanks to Carolyn J. Merkle, who confirmed that the location of the show was the auditorium of University of Hartford rather than, as first reported, Trinity College.

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 Sept 6, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric.

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  1. George recalls that the concert took place at the auditorium of a college in Hartford in late 1969 or early 1970. After we exchanged a few emails, it became clear that the concert was the 1970 show at University of Hartford . []
  2. Leonard Cohen performed a number of concerts prior to 1970. The 1970 tour, however, was the first sequence of concerts organized as a tour from a business perspective with Leonard Cohen, along with his own band and backup singers, promoted as a full-blown headline act rather than piggy-backing off of some other existing ticket-selling dynamic such as festivals such as Newport, York, and Mariposa. []

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