A 7th Anniversary Commemoration Of Leonard Cohen’s Final Concert – Auckland: Dec 21, 2013

Seven Years Ago: Leonard Cohen’s Final Stage Performance

At the last Leonard Cohen concert, the Dec 21, 2013 Auckland show, Leonard and his band performed 27 songs, beginning, as always, Dance Me to the End of Love and ending with Save The Last Dance For Me.1

Stage Setlist2

While the final song, Save The Last Dance For Me, has garnered the most attention, several of the performances in this concert, including The Future and First We Take Manhattan, were especially strong. An audio recording of the entire show can be found at Leonard Cohen ‘s Last Concert.

A Note On “The Last Leonard Cohen Concert”

This concert was indeed the last Leonard Cohen show, but on Dec 21, 2013, it was by no means certain that it would be Leonard Cohen’s final public performance. There were, in fact, hints of another tour.  The following conversation between Leonard and me took place during our Aug 6, 2014 visit:

At one point, Leonard responded to a comment I made about the wonders of his doing concerts lasting more than three hours with “We’ll have to do that again.”

Being the intrepid blogger I am, I prompted “So, there’s going to be another tour?”

Without hesitation, Leonard Cohen leaned forward, flashed his grandest smile, and immediately replied in a firm, clear voice, “Maybe.”

Not satisfied with that equivocation, I pushed forward with “Is that a definite maybe?”

Leonard smiled again, answering “A tour is a definite maybe.”

I countered with “Well, you have to do something. Your retirements haven’t been very successful.”

Leonard came back with “Or maybe I’ll write a book.”

That conversational thread ended with my offer to ghostwrite his autobiography.3

In an interview during the 2014 NAMM meeting, Roscoe Beck spoke of his plans for 2014, including working on Leonard Cohen’s new CD, co-producing a new Jennifer Warnes CD, and “maybe a little more touring with Leonard at the end of the year.”

More evidence arises from Robert Kory’s statement that, even in his final decline, Cohen would talk about wanting to get back onstage: “He kept saying, ‘Maybe we can do just a couple more concerts.’”4


These striking photos and the image atop this post were taken by Steve Peters (aka Birminghamfan)


“We just want to send you home with this old song”  – Save The Last Dance For Me

The concert ended poignantly with Save The Last Dance For Me, a song made famous by The Drifters in 1960 (see “Save The Last Dance For Me,” Doc Pomus, & Leonard Cohen).

The finale included Leonard summoning the Unified Heart Touring Company crew to the stage.

Finale – Unified Heart Touring Company Joins Leonard Cohen On Stage
Auckland: Dec 21, 2013
Video by kiwisaner


You can dance every dance with the guy
Who gives you the eye, let him hold you tight
You can smile every smile for the man
Who held your hand ‘neath the pale moon light
But don’t forget who’s takin’ you home
And in whose arms you’re gonna be
So darlin’ save the last dance for me

Leonard Cohen – Save The Last Dance For Me
Auckland: Dec 21, 2013
Video by Wirebirds aka Henry Tengelsen


Pass Sheet

Contributed by Maarten Massa

Band Day Sheet

Contributed by Maarten Massa


  1. Set One
    01 Dance Me to the End of Love
    02 The Future
    03 Bird on the Wire
    04 Everybody Knows
    05 Who By Fire
    06 The Darkness
    07 Amen
    08 Come Healing
    09 Waiting for the Miracle
    10 Lover, Lover, Lover
    11 Anthem

    Set Two
    12 Tower of Song
    13 Suzanne
    14 Chelsea Hotel #2
    15 The Partisan
    16 Alexandra Leaving
    17 I’m Your Man
    18 A Thousand Kisses Deep (poem)
    19 Hallelujah
    20 Take This Waltz

    21 So Long, Marianne
    22 First We Take Manhattan
    23 Famous Blue Raincoat
    24 If It Be Your Will
    25 Closing Time
    26 I Tried to Leave You
    27 Save the Last Dance for Me []

  2. Contributed by Maarten Massa []
  3. From Calling On Leonard Cohen & Kezban: The Cat, The Cane, The Conversation []
  4. From Remembering Leonard Cohen: Close Friends, Collaborators & Critics on How He Changed Music Forever by Sasha Frere-Jones (Billboard: November 17, 2016) []

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