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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Tuesday, January 31

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Review Thu May 07 2009

Review: Leonard Cohen @ Chicago Theatre, 5/6

Live music is about the transcendent moments. They're the times when you stand (or sit) in awe of a performer and think, "There is nowhere I would rather be right now than right here." (Actually, you're probably not even thinking because you're overcome with emotion.) It's what every single person who pays to see a concert hopes to feel. In a time when any ragtag flavor of the week band can headline with 25 minutes of material, those sublime moments seem to be fewer and farther between than ever. But when they do present themselves, they really hit a sweet spot.

At Wednesday's Leonard Cohen concert at the Chicago Theatre, the audience was treated to a few of those rare moments; whether it was hearing the first recognizable notes of an iconic song or just reveling in an incredible performance of one. Few, if any, will soon forget it. Even with a six-piece band and three backing singers, the highlight of the evening was clearly the deep, rich voice that filled the hall with exceptional warmth. When the band sounded a bit cheesy in its arrangements, Cohen pulled the show back to respectability. When a solo stole, he tipped his hat to the player. But, of course, it was all about him - a 74-year old singer laying out the songs that made him a legend.

The rapturous cheers at the onset of "Bird on a Wire" and the squeals of delight for "Chelsea Hotel" were all the proof anyone would need to cement the iconic status of Leonard Cohen. But it's not acknowledgment that makes a great concert. It's when 3,600 people leap to their feet in applause at the end of "Hallelujah." It's when someone next to you simply sighs, "Oh my." It's a song impacting you more profoundly than the other thousand times you've heard it.

For three hours Leonard Cohen entertained with a lot of songs, a little poetry, some fine-tuned banter and a gracefully-aged voice. There is absolutely nowhere else I would have wanted to be during that time.

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wendy Messina / May 8, 2009 4:45 PM

Incredible night! Only thing missing was 'Hey, that's no way to say goodbye' , but I'm still glowing!

wendy Messina / May 8, 2009 4:46 PM

Incredible night! Only thing missing was 'Hey, that's no way to say goodbye' , but I'm still glowing!

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

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Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
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