Leonard Cohen is thought of as one of the 20th century’s greatest musicians. He has a string of hits in his own right and has had his songs covered by countless artists. Recently a group of Irish artists accompanied by the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, it was on radio last week and was finally shown on television last night (Saturday 25th April) Among those performing were Lisa Hannigan, Phelim Drew (son of Dubliner Ronnie) Mick Flannery, and Suzanne Savage.
To start things off Suzanne Savage and Phelim Drew took to the stage to perform Democracy, a song from the 1992 album The Future. This was a slightly more stinted version, however it seemed to suit the style of the respective singers and was a credible enough version in it’s own right. This was followed by First We Take Manhattan a slightly less atmospheric version, however the respective singers manage to make it their own. Next up to perform one of the legendary singer’s songs was Moncrieff with his rendition of Bird on a Wire, it’s debatable whether it recreated the magic of the original, however the singer does manage to make the song his own. The highlight of the piece was a guitar solo by orchestra member Kevin Rowe
Commencing the second part was Came so far for Beauty, a song which features on Coen’s 1979 album Recent Songs, wonderfully performed on this occasion by Lisa Hannigan, without doubt an early highlight in the proceedings. Next up Mick Flannery took to the stage to perform Famous Blue Raincoat audibly easily one of the most Cohen-esque performances of the night. To end the part Moncrieff performed So Long Marianne. This without doubt is one of Coen’s most iconic songs and it seemed to please the assembled audience.
Starting part three was Phelim Drew and Suzanne Savage with Slow. This was followed by Suzanne Savage and Mick Flannery singing Who by Fire. Things simply couldn’t have ended more perfectly than to put the star on the tree Lisa Hannigan gave the best performance of Halleluiah this particular reviewer has yet to hear. Since this review was originally written it has been announced that this concert will be available ton the RTÉ Player until June, so audiences can decide for themselves.