I had the pleasure of watching Cohen perform at Coachella in 2009. I couldn't stay for the whole performance, just 3 or so songs, but I made sure "Hallelujah" was one of them. It's over-covered and most people think of it as Jeff Buckley song, but to see the man perform it himself, on a massive warmly lit stage with a hushed thousand others was special. I was already a fan, but after that I became an enthusiast.
I first discovered Leonard Cohen sometime in 2006 during my freshman year of college. I had read a Something Awful article that called Bob Dylan "rock & roll's second greatest poet-who-can't-sing next to Leonard Cohen." I laughed, but I didn't know why. My research led me to his GREATEST HITS, SONGS FROM A ROOM and later DEAR HEATHER. Lines from "Chelsea Hotel No.2" and "The Old Revolution" would get stuck in the folds of my mind. I read Cohen as a very specialized songwriter.The lens of his poetry focused inward. His coevals would craft stories and extended metaphors, but Cohen used the mic as his confessional, and we were his priest. It was an easy in for me.