Tom Vater

Tom Vater

Irreverent, informed and downright eclectic crime fiction and reportage from Southeast Asia and beyond

Tom Vater RSS Feed

Leonard Cohen in Phnom Penh


It’s official!

Legendary songsmith and Canadian national treasure Leonard Cohen is playing a one-off show in Phnom Penh, on November 27th 2010, likely to add a positive footnote to Cambodia’s turbulent history and present the re-emerging Cambodian capital as a stage for international events for the first time in decades – probably since King Norodom Sihanouk celebrated his joie de vivre with international celebrities in the 1960s.

The concert will be held at the indoor arena of the beautiful 1960s built Olympic Stadium.

What’s more, rumor has it that this could be Leonard Cohen’s last ever public performance.

Here’s the press release from the show’s official website Mekong Sessions.


To celebrate and contribute to the restoration of the majestic city of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Leonard Cohen will perform at the Olympic Stadium on November 27, 2010. To aid victims of Cambodia’s recent tragic past, proceeds from this concert will benefit the Cambodian Red Cross and Cambodian persons with a disability. Tickets available online on July 15, 2010.

Leonard Cohen’s November 27th concert will be held under the patronage of His Excellency Samdech Hun Sen, Prime Minister of Cambodia and Lok Chumtuev Bun Rany Hun Sen, President of the Cambodian Red Cross. The performance is produced by The Mekong Sessions in conjunction with Robert Kory Management and AEG Live and is exclusive to the South-East Asian region.

Cohen’s legendary artistry and his performance, referred to by many as a “spiritual experience,” at the architecturally significant Stadium in one of the world’s most intriguing and reemerging cities is intended to be more than just a unique evening of music.  As an ordained Buddhist monk, Cohen is known for his affinity for the culture and his commitments to assist those who have suffered from conflict.

“Leonard is deeply honored by this invitation, and we hope that in our small way, we can both assist in cultural restoration and personal healing,” said Robert Kory, Manager to Leonard Cohen. “The world is aware that Phnom Penh, once a cultural Mecca, and its people, suffered a brutal genocide thirty five years ago which ended lives and altered that magnificent city. We are hopeful that the concert may become a first step in celebration of the city’s rebirth as a vibrant cultural centre and serve to aid those who have suffered.”

“This is a landmark event for AEG Live as well as a significant international milestone where Phnom Penh announces its objective to become a premiere performance destination,” said Rob Hallett, President, AEG Live.

Chris Minko, Founder of the Mekong Sessions Concert Series stated, “We wish to convey our gratitude to Mr. Cohen for this epic event that demonstrates that Cambodia has emerged from tragic civil conflict and its tradition of cultural excellence is reborn.”

Phnom Penh’s Olympic Stadium is a rare example of the work of famous Khmer architect Vann Molyvan, whose designs are the current subject of international interest. His distinctive designs combine High Modernism with elements of classical Khmer design and are a reminder of the days of Phnom Penh’s former cultural stature.

ABOUT LEONARD COHEN: Leonard Cohen is a master songwriter, musician and poet whose stunning body of original work has touched the lives of millions with a career spanning five decades. He was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame (2006) and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (2008) for outstanding work. Cohen’s world tour, which inaugurated in May 2008, is still playing to sold-out crowds.


Images courtesy of AEG Live.

4 Responses to “Leonard Cohen in Phnom Penh”

  1. 1

    Ridiculous ticket prices, Tom. I doubt that the vast majority of Cohen fans will be able to afford them, whether in Cambodia or elsewhere.

  2. 2

    Sign of the times, Val. Prices are very steep, I agree.
    But it is a global trend. Smaller shows and higher ticket prices. Elton John has been playing even more expensive shows in Central America recently.
    And when was the last time anyone saw Leonard Cohen play in a 3500 capacity venue with profits going to charity?
    It will be interesting to see how quickly the show will sell out.

  3. 3
    Ton van der velden:

    With prices like that, there are not going to be many Cambodians in the audience..

  4. 4
    joseph lonergan:

    Whilst it will be undoubthly a great concert , it’s pricing is too far out of the reach of many of his fans.

Leave a Reply