Leonard Cohen performs in Tampa March 18

March 14, 2013 

It's been four years since Leonard Cohen last performed in Tampa, but the memory of that show hasn't faded for the people who were there. It's not uncommon for seasoned music-lovers to call it the best concert they have ever seen.

Cohen was wry and witty, his songs were gorgeous, and his band, which featured keyboardist and former Sarasota resident Neil Larsen, was impeccable.

Perhaps the most heartening and most surprising aspect of that concert was that Cohen, at age 75, looked hearty and lively, despite having collapsed on stage in Spain only weeks before. He actually skipped across stage on several occasions. That's not something you expect from the composer of such lachrymose songs as "Suzanne," "Famous Blue Raincoat" and the oft-covered "Hallelujah."

Cohen and his band, including Larsen, are coming back to the same venue, Carol Morsani Hall at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa, on Monday.

Earlier this week, there were still tickets available, including some good seats. But a Straz officials predicted the show will sell out.

Cohen's "Old Ideas" tour started in August of last year and continues until August. It's named for his 2012 album, his first record of new material in eight years. Critics have almost universally gushed about both the album and the tour.

Details: 8 p.m. March 18, Straz Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N. MacInnes Place, Tampa. Tickets: $119.50-$475. Information: www.strazcenter.org or 813-229-7827.

-- Marty Clear

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