Love, Ludwigshafen & Leonard Cohen: Mystery Of Phantom 1974 Concert Finally Solved

Did Leonard Cohen Play Ludwigshafen On Oct 16, 1974?

On July 16, 2012, I posted (at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric and AllanShowalter.com) about a mysterious ticket for a Oct 16, 1974 Leonard Cohen Ludwigshafen concert – a show that was not listed in any record . The content of that post follows:

I was initially attracted to this ticket on sale at an auction site because of the charm of its rugged, worn appearance. Checking the exact date of the concert for which the ticket was issued, however, revealed a mystery.

The ticket is for a show at Friedrich-Ebert-Halle in Ludwigshafen, Germany on Wednesday, October 16, 1974. The problem is that no record of Leonard Cohen concerts I’ve reviewed1 lists a show taking place anywhere on October 16, 1974. Nor do these records list any Leonard Cohen concert taking place in Ludwigshafen on any date in 1974.2

The October 1974 Leonard Cohen concerts, according to CohenLive (no longer online), follow:

  • 1974/10/01 Rotterdam, Nederland – (De Doelen)
  • 1974/10/02 Amsterdam, Nederland – (Jaap Edenhal)
  • 1974/10/04 Heidelberg, Deutschland (1) – (Stadthalle)
  • 1974/10/04 Heidelberg, Deutschland (2) – (Stadthalle)
  • 1974/10/06 Frankfurt, Deutschland – (Jahrhunderthalle)
  • 1974/10/07 Wien [Vienna], Österreich – (Stadthalle)
  • 1974/10/08 Strasbourg, France – (Hall du Trivoli)
  • 1974/10/12 Barcelona, España – (Palau De La Musica Catalana)
  • 1974/10/13 Barcelona, España – (Palau De La Musica Catalana)
  • 1974/10/14 Madrid, España – (Teatro Monumental)
  • 1974/10/19 Paris, France (early) – (Olympia)
  • 1974/10/20 Paris, France (late, 1 a.m.) – (Olympia) ¶

The only reference to a 1974 Cohen appearance in Ludwigshafen I’ve found (other than the ticket) is a 2008 LeonardCohenForum post, which reads, in part,

I saw Leonard Cohen 1974 in Ludwigshafen/Germany, the second time in 1993 in Zürich, the third time 2008 in Montreux and … 25th october in Zürich. [emphasis mine]

Potential Solutions

1. The October 16, 1974 was somehow left off the indices of Cohen concerts. A five day gap exists between Madrid (Oct 14) and Paris (Oct 19) so a show on the 16th in Ludwigshafen is certainly possible. Even by road, the distance from Ludwigshafen to Paris is only 516 km (321 miles).

2. The ticket was intentionally misprinted, either as a prank or as a means to profit by fraud. This seems dubious, and I have no reason to believe nor any evidence to indicate that this is a counterfeit ticket. I raise it only as a theoretical possibility included for completeness. Creating such believable text and printing a ticket seems an extravagant effort for a joke, and if an unscrupulous seller wanted to foist a fake ticket onto a buyer, using a legitimate concert date on the ticket would require little effort and would be less likely to raise suspicion.

3. The ticket is for a show which was planned but never took place. I suppose this could be a ticket printed for a concert that was scheduled but was then cancelled. During the 2008-2012 Leonard Cohen Tour, for example, shows scheduled for Honolulu and Cambodia were cancelled. It seems statistically unlikely, however, that a full complement of tickets was printed for a cancelled show and only a single ticket survived to be sold almost 40 years later. And there is that LeonardCohenForum member who recalls being at a Cohen concert in Ludwigshafen in 1974.

OK, this is not an exhaustive list of possibilities. It does not, for instance include Leonard and his band boarding a bus that navigates a traversable wormhole linking two points in time-space, one of which is October 16, 1974 in Ludwigshafen. There may well be a simple solution that isn’t apparent to me but is obvious to others. Or perhaps the key to this apparent discrepancy is well known to everyone but me. In any case I encourage readers to offer personal or documented information about the concert, explanations, hypotheses, speculations…

Credit Due Department: Photo by Immanuel Giel – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia

Comments From Original July 16, 2012 Post

BaoTzeBao aka Valerio Fiandra July 16, 2012 at 9:34 am: SherlHECK of a Guy !!

Diana Dahart July 16, 2012 at 10:28 am: I’m keeping my Honolulu ticket safe, but doubt I’ll be around in 30 plus years to sell it on whatever exists then!

Valerio Fiandra July 16, 2012 at 10:31 am: Verona’s 2012 venue was, as you know, changed. But I have tickets with the wrong day on. Ebay, I’m ready, but not Now….

Sylvie Simmons July 16, 2012 at 12:52 pm: Watson here. A site on google.de that claimed to list all of Leonard’s German shows since creatures first walked the earth, had no record of it either. Since Ma-Ma were involved with the promotion of at least the German part of Leonard’s 1972 European tour, maybe more, it’s not unimaginable they might call him up with a last-minute job on a quiet Wednesday night. Just as possible that the tickets were printed for a concert that was cancelled at the last minute…

Andrew July 17, 2012 at 3:00 am: I can’t offer any help regarding the veracity of the ticket or not, just that if I was making the journey now from Madrid to Ludwigshafen I would not go that way, but to the right of Andorra then via Lyonand Strasbourg, but then the roads in France would have been different in 1974. I doubt Googlemaps was able to slip back through a timewarp to give the best 1974 route!

DrHGuy Post author July 17, 2012 at 3:21 am: Today’s Google Maps application is indeed an anachronism for 1974 and I should have pointed out that its use may have introduced an error in the distance calculations. My use of the map was only to show that geographically, traveling between the three cities within the given time span was possible, and the approximation offered by Google Maps seems adequate for that purpose.

TGuy July 18, 2012 at 11:46 am: MaMa Concerts (Marcel Avram) does not list an LC concert in 1974.
http://www.marcel-avram.com/Concerts-and-Tours/5-29—.html
I have e-mailed the Friedrich Ebert Hall – maybe they will help solve this mystery.

Anjisan April 16, 2016 at 5:10 pm: And it’s neither in this list:
http://www.concerts-db.com/index.php?list=city&choice=Ludwigshafen

One Year Later

Teenage Infatuation Leads To Eyewitness To 1974 Mystery Concert

Over a year after the original entry (this second section was originally posted Nov 19, 2013 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com), a credible witness who attended that concert identified himself and emailed this account:

I was just 19 years old then. I had been spending some days the summer of 1974 in Villach, Austria. There I met Selma. I just had to leave Norway for this girl. Selma’s parents lived in Ludwigshafen am Rhein. We were going for a walk in Ebertpark, we did not knew that it was a concert in Eberthalle that evening in the middle of October 1974. Cohen – we both knew him – at least ‘Suzanne’ … bought tickets and found two free seats in the front of the concert hall at the same time as Cohen entered the stage. Dark dressed – he gave us a memorable evening. Cohen is still a favourite, we are listen to his songs daily. We waited until August 2012 before we decided again to visit one of his concert in Norway, where we have been living together since 1978.

Ebertpark – Ludwigshafen

 

Sorry: no ticket (we got tickets without seat-number ??), no picture was made.

Ludwigshafen am Rhein had a new modern railway station opened in 1969, and it was possible to travel directly from Ludwigshafen to Paris by train. Eberthalle (Friedrich-Ebert-Halle) exists from 1965 (Info: Wikipedia).

Roger the Norwegian3

While tangible evidence (e.g., a newspaper clipping, a ticket, a program …) supporting this report would have been ideal, I find this testimony, the concert ticket found on eBay, and the LeonardCohenForum member’s post about attending the show compelling support for the existence of a previously undocumented Oct 16, 1974 Leonard Cohen Ludwigshafen concert.

Credit Due Department: Photo of Ebertpark by Eireen – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia

Comments From Original Apr 17, 2016 Post

peter torbijn November 19, 2013 at 6:11 pm: thanks so much for this report, as I am the owner of the ticket bought through eBay. still strange that there appears to be only one ticket left.
maybe more witnesses show up in the near future?

Roman November 20, 2013 at 6:57 am: Cool. Thanks, Allan – for the post and the research; thanks to Roger – for the wonderful story!

Maureen Smillie April 17, 2016 at 11:35 am: Like I said elsewhere, well done Sherlock!

I am republishing selected posts from my former Leonard Cohen site, Cohencentric, here on AllanShowalter.com (these posts can be found at Leonard Cohen). These entries were originally posted Apr 17, 2016 and July 16, 2012 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric.

_______________________

  1. Including Is This What You Wanted by Jim Devlin, CohenLive (no longer online), and LeonardCohenFiles []
  2. CohenLive, Is This What You Wanted by Jim Devlin, and LeonardCohenFiles do list Cohen concerts at Friedrich-Ebert-Halle Ludwigshafen, but only on April 27, 1976 and November 26, 1979. []
  3. Roger sent me his real name; the alias is used online for privacy []

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