In the early 1950s Bill Haley and Elvis Presley burst onto the North American scene and the face of popular music worldwide was changed forever. A decade later the ‘60s saw the Beatles and the Rolling Stones emerging at the forefront of an extraordinary burst of creative talent that ensured the terms ‘Pop Music’ and ‘Rock and Roll’ were recognised in every household in the western world.
Thereafter almost every artist who has achieved fame and notoriety has inevitably toured to promote their music and there have been hundreds of thousands of ‘tours’ ranging in scale from Pubs, College campuses and small clubs to mega tours with artists of global renown playing in packed stadiums.
On May 11th 2008 at the age of 73 Leonard Cohen, one of the most iconic and influential figures in the history of 20th century Popular Music, resumed touring in Fredericton, New Brunswick after a 15 year hiatus. A limited number of concerts were planned in Eastern Canada and Western Europe partly motivated by the needs to replenish his savings which had been misappropriated by his former Manager.
What followed was unprecedented as the tour developed its own momentum to satisfy the insatiable demand of fans and music aficionados around the world. When the tour finally drew to a close in Auckland New Zealand on December 21 2013 Leonard Cohen now 79, had delivered 372 quite memorable concerts, all well over three hours in length, before audiences totalling in excess of 4 million people.
For many of his fans the concerts were akin to a spiritual experience whist the phrases ‘Musical excellence’ and ‘The best concert I have ever attended’ were frequently found amongst the hundreds outstanding reviews from Music critics.
By any measure Leonard Cohen in Concert 2008 -13 was one of the greatest tours in the history of Popular Music and this Exhibition was an attempt to record the on stage performances of this unique performer and his outstanding band and collaborators.