Pick of the Day: Leonard Cohen: Live at the Isle of Wight

This DVD came into our office a couple of months ago. It sat around for a bit before I bogarted it to watch. It documents a remarkable performance by Canadian poet/singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen at the Isle of Wight musical festival on August 31, 1970. The festival was tumultuous, to say the least. First off, there were around 600,000 people there. It was the height of the counter-culture movement, and some audience members acted out against what they regarded as the creeping corporatization of the festival by tearing down fences and setting fire to equipment and other structures on the festival grounds. The Who played the festival that year, as did Miles Davis and Jimi Hendrix. Taking the stage at 4 a.m. after a fiery performance by Hendrix had further aroused the crowd, Cohen, as fellow performers like Joan Baez, Kris Kristofferson and Judy Collins recount in the DVD, captured and enthralled the crowd with calm stage presence and beautiful songs -- which , back in the day, he actually did a pretty good job of singing. The sound and video quality of this DVD are both excellent, and it's definitely worth a look. Here's a clip from the DVD of Cohen performing "Suzanne" (YouTube)

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