Bono showed up at the Isabel Bader Theatre in Toronto tonight, paying tribute to Leonard Cohen.
'Leonard Cohen, I'm Your Man', a documentary film directed by Lian Lunson, in which U2 perform with the legendary singer-songwriter, received its world premiere.
Bono was on hand to do the honours in introducing the film to a packed theatre. Welcomed on stage by the director, Bono recalled how he and Lunson had met in the 1980's and argued for two weeks about the quality of films then being released. Wim Wenders 'Wings of Desire' was the only film they both loved.
'I couldn't understand why every film she saw she thought was crap,' remembered Bono, with a laugh. 'So I said 'You try making a great film!'
'Alright I will!' she said.
And now, said Bono, she has!
'Leonard Cohen, I'm Your Man' features 13 Cohen classic songs performed by
a stellar list of fans including I'm Your Man by Nick Cave, Hallelujah by Rufus Wainwright and Death of a Ladies Man by Beth Orton and Jarvis Cocker. U2 perform Tower Of Song with Cohen in a New York bar. Interwoven with the performances is an incredibly intimate interview with the Montreal-born songwriter about his life and work.
At tonight's premiere Bono described how Cohen's songs have 'been conversations I have been trying to have all my life with some of the same people implored.' Here's some highlights of what he had to say.
'I don't know what to say about Leonard Cohen. Silence is probably what The Monk would call proper. But I'm not a monk, I'm an Irish rockstar who loves the sound of his own voice and who is here to genuflect and pay homage to another pilgrim much further along the road in many respects...
'I would not know how high to jump or how far I was falling without Leonard Cohen. His songs are conversations I have been trying to have all of my life with some of the same people implored: Jesus Christ;.Judas Iscariot; Yahweh; all the women in the world; Buddha...
'Oh yes, to raise the bar and drink at it was one thing. To serve at it and pray with the customers, another.
'To live on the hill and keep looking up. That's what I admire about Leonard Cohen, that's the trick... and it's tricky this religious stuff, believing in consequences to actions, but above all else believing that Grace may outmaneouvre Karma ...or else Leonard we're both in trouble.
'That's what I came away with after thirty years listening to Leonard Cohen - humour as a rhyme for humility.'
More on the film here