Setlist History: Leonard Cohen's Final Performance

Legendary Canadian singer/songwriter/poet, Leonard Cohen, had performed for over four decades on the live stage. On November 7, 2016, the hugely influential artist passed away at the age of 82, but his massive musical catalog, alongside his poetry, will carry forever. On this day (December 21) in 2013, the “Hallelujah” singer took his final bow at Vector Arena in Auckland, New Zealand. At the time, it wasn’t known if this would be the enigmatic singer’s final world trek while supporting his 2012 album, Old Ideas. The “Everybody Knows” vocalist would release two subsequent albums, 2014’s Popular Problems and 2016’s You Want It Darker, but he didn't tour behind either record. You Want It Darker came out just 19 days before his passing. Ironically, the record focused on elements of death, heaven, and humor.

Leonard Cohen - "I Tried To Leave You" + "Save The Last Dance"

Cohen became music’s most unforgettable singer-songwriters in his forty year-plus run. When the “Tower of Song” singer played his final four shows in New Zealand for his Old Ideas World Tour, it was noted as Cohen’s most grand production. His tour included one hundred and twenty five dates spanning three continents and each concert had featured a three-hour setlist. Cohen’s final performance, the December 21 gig, featured the 79 year-old singer playing an astounding twenty eight songs. He even had three separate encores that comprised of two to three songs each. He performed “So Long, Marianne,” “Suzanne,” and his most well-known tune, 1984’s “Hallelujah.” For his song, “Alexandra Leaving,” singer Sharon Robinson joined him on stage to sing. In his second to last encore set, Cohen welcomed the Webb Sisters out on stage to help him perform, “If It Be Your Will.” He capped the show with 1974’s “I Tried To Leave You” and a cover of The Drifters’ “Save The Last Dance For Me.”

Leonard Cohen's setlist by

During Cohen’s final live performance, he told his fans, “Tonight, and especially tonight, we’re going to give you everything we’ve got.” Later on, when bidding farewell, he addressed the crowd with, "Friends, I want to thank you for the wonderful hospitality you've showed us tonight. I want to thank you not just for tonight, but for all the years you've paid attention to my songs. I really appreciate it." He continued with, “Drive carefully home and don’t catch a cold. May you be surrounded by friends and family all the days of your life, or god bless you in your solitude.” Cohen removed his signature fedora cap as he walked off stage with an applause by his band and crowd.

Nine months later in September 2014, Leonard issued a brief statement, saying there would be “no tours in the foreseeable future.” December 21, 2013 became the beloved singer’s swan song.

Check out our most recent Setlist History pieces on One Direction, Paul McCartney, Jim Morrison, Metallica, 30 Seconds to Mars, U2, Frank Zappa, Elton John & John Lennon, and Death Cab For Cutie.

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Last updated: 21 Jun 2024, 13:17 Etc/UTC