The Best Of Leonard Cohen: Closing Time At The 2009 Wet, Wonderful Weybridge Show


Where’s That Famous Blue Raincoat When You Need It?

The photo atop this post showing the deluge of rain falling on Leonard Cohen (who is on an ostensibly sheltered stage while the audience is unprotected from the skies) has become indelibly identified with Leonard Cohen’s wet, wonderful Weybridge show.

The photographer, dorsetbays,1 who took these shots and generously permitted them to be posted here, summarizes the setting:

Leonard Cohen put on an amazing concert at the Mercedes Benz Arena, Surrey on The weather was atrocious, heavy rain and gale force winds, but the atmosphere was electric.

This video, a one minute fragment of “Ain’t No Cure For Love,” is useful for garnering a perspective of the look and feel of the venue.2 In another video, one can observe Leonard wiping the rain from Javier Mas’s guitar.

Leonard Cohen – Ain’t No Cure For Love (incomplete)
Weybridge: July 11, 2009

The Leonard Cohen Weybridge Concert

Leonard Cohen – Closing Time
Weybridge: July 11, 2009

“Closing Time” is an important and beloved Leonard Cohen song. This energetic rendition, delivered near the end of a 3+ hour concert held concurrently with a rainstorm, surely qualifies for the “Best Of” distinction.

That this performance captures a rare Cohen miscue manifests as a bonus rather than a detriment. For an explanation of the error, I defer to mnkyface, whose post at LeonardCohenForum alerted me to the fun:

Mistake, and a slick recovery, happens after about 5:00 [in the video]. Leonard loses track of the fast chorus (missed you since our place got wrecked/gates of love they budged an inch/etc) and seems to think it’s pretty darn funny, as does Rafael Gayol. LC calls “where are we?” (I think) to the singers and I LOVE the way he gets back into it. What a pro. 8) :lol: I didn’t even notice this the first time I watched it.3

An Aside – The Advantages Of Being A Leonard Cohen Fan

Those of us who admire Leonard Cohen do so primarily, of course, because he writes and sings songs which resonate with the music of the cosmos, creating in us a profound capacity for love, a sense of awe when contemplating the universe, and joyfulness rampant in the face of adversity.

One cannot, however, discount the incremental value of belonging to one of the few groups who can, without fear of social censure, invite one another to enjoy watching (and re-watching) a 74 year old man, who has been singing, dancing, and skipping through a three hour show in an outdoor venue during what appears to be the sort of gale associated with small craft advisories, commit an error singing the lyrics of a song he wrote and has performed perfectly hundreds of times.

Leonard Cohen – Closing Time
Weybridge: July 11, 2009
Video by


A Soggy But Stalwart Suzanne Vega Opens

Those able to reach the venue in time to hear the opening act, long time Leonard Cohen admirer, Suzanne Vega, report she was a class act and in good voice for her ten song set, including Luka, Tom’s Diner, and Pornographer’s Dream.

I am republishing selected posts from my former Leonard Cohen site, Cohencentric, here on (these posts can be found at Leonard Cohen). This entry was originally posted July 13, 2009 at


  1. Many more photos of this concert can be found at the link []
  2. I’m not a professional appraiser of branding efforts, but I have to wonder if Mercedes Benz is getting a positive return on their investment in naming rights for Mercedes Benz Arena. []
  3. The – oh, let’s not characterize it as mistake, let’s call it – “The Weybridge Variation.” The Weybridge Variation begins around the 5:00 mark. The lyrics of the last verse follow, with the point where things go awry marked:

    Oh the women tear their blouses off the men they dance on the polka-dots
    It’s closing time
    And it’s partner found, it’s partner lost
    and it’s hell to pay when the fiddler stops
    It’s closing time
    I swear it happened just like this:
    a sigh, a cry, a hungry kiss
    It’s closing time

    [This is where things start to slide, slide in all directions]

    The Gates of Love they budged an inch
    I can’t say much has happened since
    But closing time
    I loved you when our love was blessed
    I love you now there’s nothing left
    But closing time
    I miss you since the place got wrecked
    By the winds of change and the weeds of sex.

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