Leonard Cohen Concert Stage Setlist Mysteries Revealed

Tour Road Manager Joseph Carenza Explains How The Concert Stage Setlist Is Constructed

This photo of Leonard Cohen and Roscoe Beck pondering the Denver setlist on the Leonard Cohen Facebook page in conjunction with the forthcoming release of the Can’t Forget album created an auspicious point for publishing the explanation of the Leonard Cohen concert setlist,1 originally posted July 21, 2013 on the DrHGuy.com site.

The Leonard Cohen Concert Stage Setlist: Attention? Parentheses? Who? When?

After posting several times about the “Attention” section of the Leonard Cohen concert setlist and receiving questions about it and other aspects of the stage setlist, I realized it was time to ask someone knowledgeable about the subject. Joseph Carenza, the World Tour Road Manager was good enough to answer my queries and, as a bonus, send along today’s setlist (see above) for the July 21, 2013 Leonard Cohen Prague concert [“Today’s setlist” refers to the time of the original post: July 21, 2013] as an example.

Joseph Carenza On The Leonard Cohen Stage Setlist

The Songs In The Attention Section
The attention section is just songs the band has in the back pocket, often these are songs that get worked on at soundcheck, but there is no formal rules for this section, LC and I move songs in and out the this section usually at the start of a leg.

The Songs In Parentheses
Songs in (parentheses) are on the fly choices that work at that particular part of the set should LC want to call an audible.

The Construction Of The Setlist
After soundcheck, I conspire with LC for the order, then type up and print the set lists, which then go to Paul Stratford (stage manager) for distribution to the crew.

There are actually two versions of the set list printed every night. One I believe you’re familiar with (see Type 1 below). The other is a slightly more readable version that works well under bright lights (see Type 2 below).

Setlist Type 1

Setlist Type 2

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 first posted July 21, 2013 and again with some additions May 2, 2015.


  1. At least, the format of the Leonard Cohen concert setlist as it existed during the 2008-2013 tours []

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