Watch Leonard Cohen: Live at the Isle of Wright 1970
- 1 hr 4 min
In 1970, Leonard Cohen was riding the wave of his recent commercial and critical success with the release of his third album, "Songs of Love and Hate". That same year, he was invited to perform at the Isle of Wight music festival, one of the largest outdoor music festivals of the era. The result was a legendary performance captured on film and released in 2009 as "Leonard Cohen: Live at the Isle of Wight 1970". The film begins with a brief introduction to the festival itself, setting the stage for what was to come. The camera then cuts to Leonard Cohen sitting alone on a stool on the massive outdoor stage, guitar in hand. He starts to strum the opening chords of "Bird on a Wire", and the crowd erupts in cheers. From there, the film takes the viewer on a journey through Cohen's setlist, including classics like "Suzanne", "Chelsea Hotel #2", "So Long, Marianne", and "Famous Blue Raincoat". One of the most striking things about Cohen's performance is the sheer intensity of it. He pours his heart and soul into every song, delivering each lyric with a depth of emotion that is palpable even through the screen. His voice, distinctive as ever, is rough and gravelly but always in control. He alternates between strumming his guitar and playing haunting melodies on his harmonica, and at times he even breaks into a frenzied dance, the music moving him in ways that seem almost supernatural. As the concert progresses, Cohen is joined onstage by several fellow musicians, including Kris Kristofferson and Judy Collins, both of whom perform a duet with him. These interludes provide a welcome break from Cohen's intense solo performance, and they also allow for some playful banter between the performers. The chemistry between them is palpable, and it's obvious that they are all enjoying themselves immensely. Throughout the film, the camera cuts between close-ups of Cohen and shots of the massive crowd swaying and singing along to his music. It's clear that Cohen has a profound connection with his audience, and there are moments when it feels like the entire festival is joining him in a collective spiritual experience. One of the most memorable moments of the film comes near the end of Cohen's set, when he performs an epic rendition of "Hey, That's No Way to Say Goodbye". The song builds slowly, building to a powerful crescendo that has the entire crowd on their feet. Cohen's performance is raw and intense, and you can feel the emotion pouring out of him with every word. The film ends with an encore performance of "Suzanne", with Cohen alone on stage once again. As the song comes to a close, he steps back from the microphone and takes a deep bow, gazing out at the sea of faces before him. The crowd erupts in applause and cheers, and the film fades to black. "Leonard Cohen: Live at the Isle of Wight 1970" is a powerful testament to the enduring legacy of one of the most unique and beloved artists of the 20th century. From start to finish, Cohen's performance is mesmerizing, and it's easy to see why he has inspired generations of musicians and fans alike. Whether you're a lifelong Cohen devotee or a newcomer to his music, this film is an absolute must-see.