Sunday, October 04, 2009



"Dance Me To The End Of Love" - that's my favorite Leonard Cohen song and the one with which he opened his concert at the Ramat Gan Stadium last Thursday evening - and Marallyn and I were actually there!

Don't ask about the excitement - of getting there - of being there - of being a part of that magical, electric, exciting, smashing evening.

The short version is that Marallyn has a friend - whom she hasn't seen in about fifty years - who remembered that she lives in Israel - who has a son who was coming to do the sound for the Leonard Cohen concert - who offered to get her two complimentary VIP tickets - who got the tickets - and there we were.

Can you imagine - she didn't even consider asking her kids to go with her - I was the lucky invitee. Another "don't even ask" - you all know that I have the chush kivoon (sense of direction) of a toaster oven - with my apologies to toaster ovens - they probably have a better sense of direction than I have. (That we arrived there and back home in the same century was a miracle.)

Anyway - off we went. The concert was due to begin at 7:45 PM - and L.C. always begins his concerts on time. So we left Jerusalem at 3:00 PM - and none too soon, I might add. Marallyn called people for directions. I called people for directions. We looked on the internet. And had it not been for a very nice lady who took pity on us when we didn't know where we were and led us directly to the street we needed - I'd still be driving around. It only took us two hours to get to the stadium - mind you, the immediate world was going there - or at least 49,998 other people. Yes - 50,000 people were there.

And there was not nearly enough parking space. The spaces we did see were being "guarded" by people with cell phones who were directing their husbands / wives / friends to the spaces they were holding. So we drove up one aisle, down another aisle, up another aisle etc etc etc. Until suddenly - well, those of you who know Marallyn know she doesn't move too quickly - she doesn't run, doesn't sprint, doesn't hurry - Marallyn was no longer sitting beside me. She had seen someone going towards a car - she jumped out of my car - ran to the soon-to-be-available-spot - and stood there guarding it until I was able to get in. OK - so the space wasn't exactly legal - a bit on the grass - a bit on the sidewalk - who cared - it was a place to leave the car.

Forget all the rest of it - going to kupa 1 (box office 1), going to the trailer, going back to kupa 1, going back to the trailer, finally getting our tickets, walking halfway around the stadium to our entrance gate, walking up a million stairs, walking down a million stairs, finding ourselves in the wrong section and walking back up and down the other million stairs - we were there.

And then the magic began. No half naked dancers, no pyrotechnics, no dry-ice smoke - just Leonard Cohen - a 75 year old man wearing an Armani suit and a black hat - and singing his heart out for us. We all loved him. He loved us back. After all - we belonged to him and he belonged to us. He was a Jew coming home. He spoke to us a bit in Hebrew - he introduced his enormously talented back-up singers and musicians - and at the end he gave the priestly blessing (Birkat Cohanim) that only a Cohen (priest) can give - and he is Leonard Cohen after all.

Israeli audiences are the best - we appreciate the hell out of everything - we react - we show love - we are there with the performer. There were moments you could hear that proverbial pin drop - there were moments when we all sang along with him - you could feel our love for him and his love for us. He sang for 3 1/4 hours - all my favorite songs - and at the end he even had the energy to skip off the stage.

Bank Discount sponsored the concert and on each one of the 50,000 seats was a green and black canvas bag in which was a pillow (to make it a bit easier on our tushies), and a "thingie" - I don't know what it's called but when you bend it the liquid inside lights up and stays lit for several hours. Just imagine the sight of this large stadium - the largest in Israel - with 50,000 people waving these green lights in time to the music - slowly, quickly - but in time - in tune - with Leonard Cohen.

It was magic - it was electric - it was not-to-be-missed - and to my dearest, dearest friend - Marallyn - I can only say simply - Thank You.

Yalla, Bye.

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