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Downtown Detroit Events, News & Living


Encore Detroit!

Detroit is experiencing a resurgence, an ‘encore’ of sorts. But the increasing growth the city is seeing – small businesses opening, corporations moving in or moving their employees Downtown, locally- and individually-owned restaurants & retails ‘popping up,’ or chains with national name recognition putting down roots – is not what this blog is about.

I love all of the above, but this blog is about one of the lesser mentioned (though certainly excellent) perks of living Downtown.

Alright. It’s about Leonard Cohen too.

Cohen is a musical legend, a cult figure with a following of fans and musicians who cover his work, who’s making a resurgence, an encore, of his own.

A story not entirely dissimilar to the city of Detroit’s.

Yep. You could say Cohen’s heyday is past, he’s encountered some financial difficulties, and, well, the man was born in 1934, so some of his ‘architecture’ (while still very attractive) does show its age. But let me just tell you, at 78 years old, this is one musician and performer, one legend, who will knock your socks off.

Again. Not dissimilar to the city of Detroit.

Seeing Cohen was special in and of itself. Seeing him at the Fox Theatre was incredible. No doubt you’re familiar with the venue. Gorgeous interior, incredible history, sheer elegance and plenty of grandeur.

But what you might not be familiar with is what makes a night like this even more amazing: attending it when you live Downtown.

The friend who went with me to see Cohen just moved back to Michigan, and this was his first ‘event’ since his return. He showed up at my loft about two hours before the doors ‘opened’ at the Fox. That was nice. It gave us a chance to visit.

It would have been even nicer if every 15 to 20 minutes he hadn’t stopped to ask, “Should we leave now so we get there on time?”

While I’d like to chalk this repeated concern of his up to excitement at seeing Cohen take the stage, that wasn’t it.

My friend simply could not believe it was possible for us to leave my loft and be at the Fox in only five to ten minutes. Having previously lived in the Detroit Metro area, his past experience told him that attending an event Downtown meant having to give himself lots of time in order to be on time.

Only when we had actually made the walk (seven minutes door-to-door: we both timed it) did he believe that it was possible to throw on your coat, enjoy a leisurely stroll, and be at a concert in just a few minutes. (BTW: In that last sentence you can also substitute musical, play, orchestra, opera, baseball game, football game etc. for ‘concert’.)

After having plenty of time to enjoy the gorgeous lobby of the Fox and more than enough time to find our seats and drink in the incredible architecture of the theatre itself, we found ourselves immersed in Cohen’s incredible performance. His entire performance.

I emphasize ‘entire’ because we were there for Cohen’s encore.  (Actually, make that encores. Plural. The performance lasted from 8 p.m. until nearly 11:30 p.m.)

But not everyone who’d bought tickets that evening got to hear “Famous Blue Raincoat.”

Not many, but enough people to make it noticeable (especially to my friend) left before or during the final encore.

“Why are they leaving?” he asked, amazed that anyone would not stay until the last note was played and the lights went on.

Apparently the ‘my loft is only seven minutes from the Fox’ lesson had sunk in, and my friend had completely forgotten that the audience members who don’t live Downtown needed to get to their cars, leave the parking lot or structure, and then drive home in ‘event-traffic.’

Before I lived Downtown, that’s what I did myself. And it’s not really that bad.

But it sure isn’t as nice as a leisurely seven-minute walk home to your front door.

And it is even nicer in those seven minutes to be able to replay and relive a mental encore of an incredible evening, including every minute of the performance, in your mind.

Oh. And it’s also nice to know that when other amazing shows are playing in Detroit (which is basically every week), you’ll be able to do the same thing again. Another encore of sorts. But this time, an encore of the experience, and all that it offers, of living in Detroit.

Posted on December 18th, 2012 in: Detroit, Detroit Events, Detroit Music with the tags: , ,

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