Cohen Bounces Back

Three days after cutting short a show in Valencia because he was suffering from stomach cramps, Leonard Cohen was back on stage and celebrating his 75th birthday with 14,000 fans at a sold-out Palau St. Jordi in Barcelona.

After the Valencia show Sept. 17, Cohen was taken to the local Nueve de Octubre hospital by ambulance but was discharged the following morning. A spokesman for his tour said Cohen had suffered from food poisoning.

YouTube video shows Cohen performing the first part of “Bird On A Wire,” one of his best-known songs, then sitting down on the edge of the stage for a few seconds before collapsing. His band stopped playing immediately and rushed to his aid.

A member of his band, Javier Mas, came out almost an hour later to tell the thousands of people gathered in the Luis Puig Velodrome that Cohen was suffering from a stomach complaint and would not return to the stage that night but that he hoped to reschedule the show for another time.

It was the fifth of six shows he played on the Spanish leg of his European tour, which were all promoted by Barcelona-based Doctor Music.

Company chief Neo Sala was kept up to speed on Cohen’s recovery and on the morning of the show told Pollstar he was confident it would go ahead.

Canadian-born Cohen’s career took off in the 1960s, but his retirement plans were thwarted when he discovered that £3.1 million ($5 million) of his pension fund had disappeared.

Despite winning a £5.5 million ($9 million) judgment against his former manager, he’s not been able to collect the money.
At one stage he became a Buddhist monk under the name Jikan and lived in retreat on Mount Baldy, Calif.

The need for fresh funds was said to be one of the reasons he hit the road again, selling out many shows in Europe as his fans clearly hadn’t deserted him.

After leaving Spain, Cohen’s next show is scheduled for the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Fla., Oct. 17.