Yesterday we had some very bad storms here in Granada; they began in the afternoon and washed most of the loose soil and rock down the hill and into the village. Mop up today has been somewhat hampered by further rain and hail but still in true Spanish style the biggest digger in the world was driven out to scrape all the mud away.
Thankfully we did get to the show last night. And oh and what a show. There were shades of the local shop window about it, in so much as the gritted bull ring complete with cloven hoof stamped marks combined with the containment of so many Spaniards gave the event more than a hint of over excited chaos. Several times I saw a swarthy man impersonating a matador for his lady, like they just couldn’t help it. Refreshments were served from the callejón which is the wooden structure that circles the arena and acts as the escape route, everybody seemed to love standing up on tip toes to reach a drink.
The evening was all very social to begin with particularly on the bullring floor and although there were allocated seats nobody seemed to be sitting in them. Groups stood around smoking (yes smoking, everybody smoked) and drinking and talking. Then suddenly without any warning the entire arena was sunk into darkness and complete pandemonium ensued. The band had started to come onto the stage, everyone is desperately trying to locate their seats which have moved, literally as none of them fastened down but with their numbers on the chairs themselves what is to stop you rearranging them! Remember this is Spain.
Well a sort of sitting down eventually happened. Then Leonard came on, a roar goes up and everyone is up, chars folding shut. The first ovation lasts forever. Your man wears a pin stripe suit and a rakish fedora, “it’s been a long time” he says. The first number is Dance with me, it is long and brilliantly arranged and as the sound guys get the feel of this bullring with 3,000 people right the music emerges beautifully.
The entire band was nothing short of flawless, spellbinding, and the venue was extraordinarily intimate. Leonard Cohen held us all in the palm of his hands with his beauty and his disarming humility. This was a true legend doing his magic for each of us, imploringly sensual and deeply spiritual. Everyone was rapt.
Discovering Leonard Cohen for the first time was a life-defining experience, and seeing him for the first time made it all perfect. .