The first day of our road trip also had the tightest deadline: we had to get to Memphis in time for the Leonard Cohen show that night. After checking in where we were staying, we had time to grab some dinner before the show. On my husband’s list? Gus’s Fried Chicken. He’d heard that their fried chicken was excellent, plus the restaurant was very close to the concert venue. It did not disappoint. Fried crispy goodness with just enough spiciness. And the fried green tomatoes? Yum!
Then, on to the Orpheum! Built in 1928, the Orpheum served as a venue for vaudeville acts in its heyday, then became a movie palace, and then was slated for demolition. Luckily, the Memphis Development Foundation worked to prevent this and in the early 1980’s the theater was renovated. Now it hosts all sorts of fabulous performances. Lovely place for a show:
We got there early enough to give ourselves a little tour of the building, wandering up to the various balconies and checking things out. The ushers were uniformly gracious, clearly proud of the building and ready to answer all of our questions. Our seats were on the main floor and quite good. My husband found the tickets on eBay and we ended up paying a fraction of their face value. We felt kind of bad for the guy selling them, he flew in from Oklahoma City and the friends our tickets were originally for ended up bailing on him at the last minute. Hopefully his friends made up the difference?
The show itself was great. We saw him three times when he was touring in 2009 and were thrilled to learn that he was touring again. After all, the man is 78 years old. But apparently touring is agreeing with him! In addition to being a poet, he is also a consummate entertainer, giving a very polished, beautiful, and lengthy performance. (I think the show clocked in at a little over 3 hours long!) By the last 4 songs or so of the night, the audience was on its feet the entire time. As it should be. Any opportunity to give Mr. Cohen a standing ovation is one I’ll gladly take advantage of!
More to come!