Fairly quick one today, as I’m trying to write a longish review of the new Leonard Cohen album, “Live In London”, for the next issue of Uncut and have a couple of old Cohen live albums here on my desk that need re-examining – once I get past the formidable distraction of the new Super Furry Animals album (more of that later in the week), that is.

Fairly quick one today, as I’m trying to write a longish review of the new Leonard Cohen album, “Live In London”, for the next issue of Uncut and have a couple of old Cohen live albums here on my desk that need re-examining – once I get past the formidable distraction of the new Super Furry Animals album (more of that later in the week), that is.

Anyway, the Cohen is a fine thing: two CDs that take in the entirety of his first London show at the O2 last July. For anyone who’s seen him over the past year – or at least on the European and Canadian legs, I haven’t studied what he’s been up to in Australia etc thus far – you’ll know what to expect. Most of the onstage pronouncements by Cohen (banter seems far too vulgar a way to describe such artfully turned phrases) are the same as they were at the show I reviewed in November, as precisely rehearsed as the songs they introduce.

As you might imagine, too, such a meticulous, controlled live show transfers unusually effectively to an album: every last exquisite Javier Mas solo comes over tremendously. And apart from a nice souvenir of some incredible shows, it’s important, I think, to have a record of Cohen performing some of his earlier songs in his latterday voice: “Who By Fire”, especially, is imbued with an even greater sepulchral gravity in this reading, part of a sequence of songs that close the first half of the show (with “Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye” and “Anthem”) that’s possibly the highlight of the set.

No “The Partisan” or “Chelsea Hotel #2”, which I don’t think crept onto the setlists until nearer the end of the year. But still, 25 songs will do, sensibly including “If It Be Your Will”, where Cohen cedes lead vocals to the Webb sisters, which shows the full scope of the shows.

But I need to save some ideas, or at least adjectives, for my review for the mag. Sorry for being a tease. Before I go, though, anyone seen the show this year? Have there been any big new additions or radical changes? Let me know if you have a moment.