Musician Alejandro Escovedo apparently likes to celebrate his January birthday with a lot of friends. This is the fourth year in a row that he has produced a January concert at the ACL/Moody Theater. All four have been quite different, but Bill and I have enjoyed each one. This year’s show was called A Thousand Kisses Deep: The Leonard Cohen Influence.
The two-hour concert featured songs that were either written by or influenced by Leonard Cohen. We especially liked the opening number: a driving rendition of Cohen’s Democracy.
Alejandro was backed by a few members of his old touring band, plus local collaborators, Elias Haslanger and Church on Monday. This talented group was joined by two musicians who have worked with Leonard Cohen: guitarist Mitch Watkins and singer/songwriter Julie Christensen. Actor Robert Patrick (of Terminator 2 fame) sang one duet with Julie and performed some dramatic recitations of Cohen’s lyrics. A girls choir added their uplifting voices to a few of the songs.
The ACL/Moody Theater looked spectacular, maybe the best we’ve ever seen (not counting the backdrop for the actual Austin City Limits TV show). Large wooden balls of light were hung from the ceiling and placed on the stage. Some of the lighting combinations were breathtaking.
My only disappointment was that Cohen’s most popular song, Hallelujah, wasn’t included in the set list, except as background music to a spoken dramatic piece. On second thought, maybe that’s OK. A few years ago, Bill and I saw Leonard Cohen perform Hallelujah live at Bass Concert Hall, so I think that’s the version that I’d like to remember.
Thanks, Alejandro, for a great show…we’re looking forward to next January!
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