Leonard Cohen Honoured At All-Star Concert In Montreal

On the eve of the one-year anniversary of his death, Leonard Cohen was celebrated by stars like Sting, Lana Del Rey and Courtney Love in his hometown Montreal.

Monday’s Tower of Song: A Memorial Tribute to Leonard Cohen at the Bell Centre even brought out actor Seth Rogen, who is in the city filming the comedy Flarsky.

“As a Canadian Jewish person, there is no greater honour than reading a Leonard Cohen poem in the middle of a hockey arena," he joked.

Cohen died at his L.A. home on Nov. 7, 2016 at 82.

“The goal was, as in many religions, to sing songs of praise for someone who is no longer with us,” said Adam Cohen, who performed “So Long, Marianne” and “Coming Back to You” — the latter with Basia Bulat.

“And I know that my father would have been very grateful, not only for the beautiful love that you have given him this evening, but for his songs being kept alive by these beautiful voices and accompaniments.”

Sting covered “Dance Me to the End of Love,” “Sisters Of Mercy” and “Anthem” and Love performed “Everybody Knows.” Del Rey paired with Adam Cohen for “Chelsea Hotel No. 2.” 

Also giving voice to Cohen’s words were Canadian acts like Feist (“Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye”), k.d. lang (“Hallelujah”), Ron Sexsmith (“Suzanne”) and Patrick Watson (“Who By Fire”). 

Irish singer Damien Rice mesmerized the audience with a performance of “Famous Blue Raincoat” and American songwriter Sharon Robinson, a frequent Cohen collaborator, sang “I’m Your Man.”

Elvis Costello performed “The Future” and “Bird On the Wire” and the Lumineers' Wesley Schultz and Jeremiah Fraites did “Democracy.” 

Philip Glass, who was part of the advertised line-up, had to pull out of the show.

The show also featured video appearances by Chris Martin, Céline Dion, Willie Nelson, Peter Gabriel and, of course, Leonard Cohen.

Prime minister Justin Trudeau was also on hand to pay tribute to Cohen. “In 1988 my father attended one of Leonard's shows at Theatre St-Denis and when he went backstage to see Leonard afterwards, he just said 'What does one have to do to get a good review in this town?’”

Tower of Song ended, naturally, with a performance “Closing Time.”

Proceeds from the show – which was also filmed for a Jan. 3 broadcast – will be donated to the Canada Council for the Arts, the Council of Arts and Letters of Quebec, and the Montreal Arts Council.