The stage darkened but for a blue glow and the silhouettes of musicians in waiting. The crowd, driven by excitement to shift restlessly in their seats, exploded in applause at the shadow of the diminutive poet’s fedora. And then the light caught him – his charcoal suit and achingly humble smile. We rose to our feet and got louder. He bowed graciously. The concert hall was rapturous. Already, tears dampened the cheeks of a few ladies sitting near me. Many likened the evening to a religious experience. Indeed, at that moment – at first sight – the sold out audience was overtaken with a show of ecstasy usually reserved for the miracle workings of Sunday morning television evangelists. But this wasn’t a church service. It was a Leonard Cohen concert. The then-74-year-old had thousands of us instantly and obediently in the palm of his hand. All this, mind you, before he uttered one word.

In 2008, Cohen embarked on his first concert tour in 15 years following a financial scheme that saw his business manager bilk the singer out of millions of dollars. The tour itself was a rousing success, resulting in sold-out shows, two live albums, and a pop culture reawakening.

In 2012, the beloved Canadian poet is set to hit the road again for a tour that includes 10 Canadian stops. The Old Ideas World Tour 2012 is named for his January album release that, upon reaching number one on music charts world wide, stands as the highest ranked of his career.

The North American leg of the tour, which includes the Canadian dates, was released today:

      October 31                   Austin, TX                 Bass Concert Hall
November 3                Denver, CO                1st Bank Center
November 5               Los Angeles, CA        Nokia Theatre
November 7               San Jose, CA               HP Pavilion
November 9               Seattle, WA                  Key Arena
November 11             Portland, OR               Rose Garden
November 12         Vancouver, BC        Rogers Arena
November 16         Calgary, AB  Scotiabank Saddledome
November 18        Edmonton, AB          Rexall Place
November 20        Saskatoon, SK         Credit Union Centre

November 23            Chicago, IL                   Akoo Theatre
November 26            Detroit, MI                    Fox Theatre
November 28        Montreal, QC             Bell Centre
December 2           Quebec City, QC       Colisee Pepsi
December 4           Toronto, ON               Air Canada Centre
December 7           Ottawa, ON                 Scotiabank Place
December 11         London, ON               John Labatt Centre
December 13        Kingston, ON            K-Rock Centre   

December 15            Boston, MA                   The Wang Theatre
December 18            New York, NY        Madison Square Garden
December 20            rooklyn, NY                  Barclays Center

Tickets for the Canadian shows go on sale May 11. Tickets for the American dates can be purchased beginning May 18.

The Canadian leg of The Old Ideas World Tour 2012 is presented by CBCMUSIC.CA, and the tour promoted by AEG Live.

-Mike Crisolago

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