Back in 2012, Leonard Cohen announced plans for a world tour in support of his album Old Ideas. As one of pop’s greatest singer-songwriters for more than four decades, this would be one of his most ambitious productions yet: 125 dates that spanned three continents, with each individual concert featuring a three-hour setlist of his greatest hits. Cohen turned in his final performance on December 21, 2013 in Auckland, New Zealand — a concert that would end up being his last. EW is looking back on the momentous occasion following Thursday’s news of Cohen’s death.
That night, Cohen’s setlist featured his greatest hits “So Long, Marianne,” “Suzanne,” and “Hallelujah,” and he capped the concert with an encore of the Drifters’ “Save The Last Dance For Me.” Check out footage below.
After Cohen wrapped up his Old Ideas Tour, the artist kept a largely low profile. And though he released his fourteenth studio album You Want It Darker in November, his health had begun to fail in recent months. Cohen’s son Adam, who had produced his father’s final album, told Rolling Stone, “Among many other things, he had multiple fractures of the spine. He has a lot of hard miles on him.”
But during Cohen’s final live performance, the late great appeared exuberant, according to footage and recaps of the show. “Tonight, and especially tonight, we’re going to give you everything we’ve got,” he told the crowd, according to the New Zealand publication Stuff. And when he bid farewell for the evening, he told the crowd, “Drive carefully home and don’t catch a cold. May you be surrounded by friends and family all the days of your life … or god bless you in your solitude.”
See fan-shot footage and clips from his final show in Auckland.