Legendary singer returns to stage after 15-year absence from limelight

From the Canadian Press – After a series of “rehearsal shows” in eastern Canada, legendary singer/poet Leonard Cohen is officially kicking off his world tour in Toronto.

The reclusive artist, who was ordained a Buddhist monk during his 15-year absence from the limelight, took the stage Friday night, getting waves of applause from roughly 3,200 fans who filled the Sony Centre.

The Canadian icon opened with a brief offer of thanks before launching into his 1984 serenade, “Dance Me To The End Of Love,” clutching a mic with two hands and filling it with his rich baritone.

Although the Toronto show is being dubbed his official return to the stage, Cohen has been performing since May, warming up his vocals at smaller venues throughout eastern Canada.

The 73-year-old Montreal native has three more shows set for Toronto.

He’ll then head to Ireland, Britain and Europe to complete a three-month tour that will have him perform 42 soldout shows in 14 countries.

Cohen’s much-publicized financial problems are said to be behind his return to the concert circuit.

Other appearances in Canada include three shows in Montreal later this month, where Cohen will be honoured with a tribute at the Montreal Jazz Festival.

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