Can’t Forget: A Souvenir of the Grand Tour
It’s one hell of a victory lap – and the hits just keep on coming…well, being recycled/reimagined/redistributed. He’s 80 and not slowing down…here’s his third album inside a year; the second live one from the last tour.
The hook, and there is one/it works, is the idea around these being rarities. Well, nearly dubious in a couple of cases – but to cover that up these are sometimes the soundcheck-versions. Also it’s one of those live compilations, recorded around the world. Kiwi Cohen fans can salivate over songs recorded in both Auckland and Christchurch on the last visit.
Laughing Len’s new gimmick is writing songs about being the aging lothario, he’s borrowed back the trick Nick Cave seems to have pinched from him. A little less swag, and maybe a pinch more panache.
Still, while I want to tell you that owning this is a bit like seeing him more than once (pleasant but unnecessary) there are thousands of people heading back to see him when and while they can. And hey, fair enough I guess.
Lovely versions of Light as the Breeze and Night Comes In are exquisite, giving the band a bit more – in the sense that this is less about the pageantry and promenade and more about the playing. Intimate and polished, correct but never soulless.
I prefer the live albums from his pre-“comeback”/original era. Particularly the stunning Field Commander Cohen, the version of its title track here, whilst a rarity, doesn’t even compete. There was a rawness to the seventies live albums. And that one from the 90s is the best live set Charles Aznavour never recorded.
This just seems a little too safe, gentile, polite – corners pinned down – and the casino-blues vamping gives me the shits a bit.
But it’s not terrible. How could Leonard ever be that. Or do that. No, he’d never.