Thursday, 3 March 2011

Bird on a Wire (1974) - Tony Palmer

Leonard Cohen tour film documentary in much the same vain as Dont Look Back. This was filmed during laughing Len's '72 European tour and is as much about what goes on behind the scenes as what happens up on the stage. Thought lost for the past thirty years, it's an absolute joy to finally be able to watch it. Obviously the soundtrack is wall to wall Cohen, he's in good form too, with a great band that included Jennifer Warnes on backing vocals and legendary producer Bob Johnston on organ. Cohen himself is in great voice, and actually isn't the bringer of doom that people tend to think he is. He smiles (a lot) and even cracks a fair few jokes.

There's plenty of fly on the wall footage, you'll see Cohen being chatted up by a variety of ladies, talking typical 70's nonsense, crying backstage and best of all smoking but not inhaling. There are arguments with promoters over faulty monitors, disgruntled fans in Denmark getting all riled up over bad sound and a never ending flow of journalists, none of whom dare to take Len up on any of the claptrap that pours out of his mouth every time he opens it. Weirdest of all is the final gig in Tel Aviv, everything (including Cohen) falls apart and things get very strange indeed. It's a real cracker of a documentary, so if you're already a fan of the old boy then this is without doubt something you should consider getting your mitts on as soon as possible.

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