Bob Dylan dropped in a neat Leonard Cohen tribute during his Montreal show earlier this week.
Two legendary songwriters, Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen were mutually appreciative of one another’s works. Although not exactly friends – they weren’t close, certainly – a high degree of respect existed between the Canadian poet and the American bard.
Taking his acclaimed tour to Canada for a flurry of dates, Bob Dylan played Montreal on Saturday night (October 28th).
Deciding to throw in a surprise, he performed a moving rendition of ‘Dance Me To The End Of Love’. It’s a nod from one legend to another – Leonard Cohen was brought up in Montreal, and composed some of his most famous songs in the city.
There could be another reason for the song’s inclusion. On the surface, ‘Dance Me To The End Of Love’ is a love song, but it actually draws on mood and imagery more redolent of the Holocaust.
“A string quartet was pressed into performance while this horror was going on, those were the people whose fate was this horror also,” Cohen said in 1995. “And they would be playing classical music while their fellow prisoners were being killed and burnt. So, that music, ‘Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin,’ meaning the beauty thereof being the consummation of life, the end of this existence and of the passionate element in that consummation.”
So, is Bob Dylan referencing rising anti-semitism by performing this song? Or are we reading too much into it? You can never tell with Bob Dylan.
Watch fan footage of the moment below.