I said I'd be writing about Leonard Cohen this week, having run out of room last week to talk about the singularly uplifting show he played at the Vector arena. A week is a long time in column land I know, and Leonard's been and gone, but there are still things about that night I think are worth mentioning.
Not that I'm any good for a review, really, to be honest I've forgotten most of the set list since last Thursday. I didn't know the song he opened with and while I recall the last number was an elegant and thoughtful way of saying goodbye, I can't remember the name of it to save my life.
Truth to tell, I wasn't really as much of a long-time fan as the diehards who surrounded me in their beaming, swaying hundreds, tears streaming down their faces as they listened to the likes of If it be your will and of course, Hallelujah. I did have the obligatory Laughing Len epiphany, discovering his lyrics at the age of 17.
We'd sit at the back of Mrs Breen's English class, passing around the lyrics to Suzanne or Bird on a wire, marvelling at their sad, mysterious sensuality when we were supposed to be making sense of Milton, or Patrick Kavanagh.
In terms of the songwriters who made us yearn for life, lust and experience, Cohen was up there with Dylan and Billy Corgan. We grew up though, and Suzanne somehow got left behind, with the poetry textbooks and homework journals and pregnancy scares.
It's been years since I heard any of his songs. Which is probably what made it such a remarkable thing to be a part of a decorous and devout cast of thousands worshipping at the altar of Len at Vector last week. A rapt crowd who greeted their idol with a standing ovation and found it difficult to keep their seats throughout the night, such was their delight at being part of the audience who received him.
For me the highlights were the songs that came with memories. I can't hear the arch incantation of Everybody knows without thinking of the devastatingly sexy arch of Christian Slater's eyebrow in Pump up the Volume, back when he was being funny and adorable, before he got fat and strange and started brawling with women on the street.
Famous blue raincoat is a song from the days of swooning, back when I knew the value of a good swoon and there were a few fellas of my acquaintance who benefited from that. New to me was 10,000 kisses deep, which proved I still have a swoon or two in me somewhere.
In fairness though, Leonard Cohen is a performer possessed of enough charm to make a graven idol tremble. From the moment he bounded on stage in all his puckish glory he had us in the palm of his hand, and he proceeded to woo and caress us all in turn, men and women, old and young alike until he had stroked and sung us into a satisfied kind of reverie, delivering us into the night beaming and content, if just a little disoriented from the wonder of it.
Much has been made of his "eerie" charm, his power over women. Believe it all and more. It was certainly enough to captivate me - 74 or not, I'd have willingly followed him home. I'm more than a little ashamed to admit that actually, I was saving myself for when Ryan Adams hits town next week.
But the one moment that sealed the deal, that turned the night from singular and special to completely unforgettable, happened right at the end. When I say right at the end, I mean after one of the innumerable encores that Leonard was kind enough to give us that evening.
I don't like encores, usually. They seem like an unnecessary protraction, a self-indulgent little pantomime designed to whip up gratitude and heighten feeling. And they always make me nervous; I'm afraid that if I don't clap long enough, don't shout loud enough I'm not really doing my bit as a diligent member of the crowd.
That the artist won't feel loved enough and will decide to just feck off home instead of playing the one more song that everybody wants. It's a strain. And of course it's pointless, because they always do play the one more that everybody wants, whether I shout and roar or stand there mute as a stone. Encores are a bit of a have.
This one was different though, of course it was. After one of his approximately 36 encores, a woman in the front row reached under her seat and threw a bunch of flowers at Leonard Cohen (he got knickers as well I think; obviously I am not the only one who believes he's still Got It). Off he skipped away, off stage, carrying the lovely bouquet with him.
I was sitting in a spot where I could see into one of the wings, and I watched him there, on-side of stage, pause, and bury his nose in the flowers. Leonard Cohen literally stopped and smelled the roses. And then came back and did what seemed like another 10 encores, and sent us all home happy, feeling more like members of a particularly blessed, joyous, literate congregation than punters at a gig.
Watching him do that did more for my resolve to get what enjoyment I can out of life, while I can, than any self-help manual ever will.
The ticket to the concert was a gift, and I'm very grateful to the giver, because it's one that's kept on giving. Ryan Adams and I have been soul mates for years now (in my head if nowhere else), but he's going to have to pull it out of the hat when he plays here next week, if he's to stand any chance of living up to Len.