Cohen begins Aussie tour in Perth

By Angie Raphael

The moment Leonard Cohen walked on stage, the crowd rose to their feet in appreciation before he even uttered a word.

Such is the respect for the 79-year-old Canadian singer-songwriter, who began his Australian tour at Perth Arena on Wednesday night.

You may not even realise you are a fan of Cohen, but you probably are.

His extensive catalogue of songs has been covered by many musicians over the past six decades.

"I don't know when we'll meet again," he told the crowd early in the show.

"We'll give you everything we've got."

He certainly did.

Hits performed during the show included Hallelujah, I'm Your Man, Anthem, Bird On The Wire, Suzanne, So Long Marianne, and Dance Me To the End of Love.

Cohen and his nine-piece band - featuring Sharon Robinson, the Webb Sisters and musical director Roscoe Beck - performed for three hours, with an intermission to break up the two sets.

"Thanks for not going home," he quipped after the interval.

At times, it felt like a poetry reading as Cohen recited lines with his famous raspy voice.

Other times, Cohen allowed his band to shine with solo moments, which drew loud cheers from the crowd.

Cohen is undoubtedly one the greatest modern singer-songwriters with poetry that captivates an audience.

In a world today where pop stars top music charts with grammatically-incorrect tunes, it is a delight to relish in some profound songs with real meaning.

That is the fundamental promise from a Cohen song and he received several standing ovations during the show, which included two encores.

"We thank you for your hospitality and your kind attention to our music," he told the crowd.

It seemed the audience was equally as grateful to Cohen for his endurance.

* Leonard Cohen plays the following dates:

Nov 16 - Entertainment Centre, Sydney

Nov 20 - Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne

Nov 23 - Bimbadgen Winery, Hunter Valley NSW

Nov 26 - Convention Centre, Cairns

Nov 28 - Entertainment Centre, Townsville

Nov 30 - Entertainment Centre, Brisbane

Dec 2 - Sydney Opera House

Dec 4 - WIN Entertainment Centre, Wollongong

Dec 7 - The Hill Winery, Geelong

Dec 9 - Palais Theatre, Melbourne

Dec 11 - Entertainment Centre, Adelaide

Dec 14 - CBS Canterbury, Christchurch

Dec 17-18 - TSB Bank, Wellington

Dec 21 - Vector Arena, Auckland